Expedition Overview

2015, 2016, 2017

Great Lakes of Africa in the Rift Valley

Great Lakes of Africa in the Rift Valley


To sail the three great lakes of the East African Rift system. (Lakes Malawi, Tanganyika and Victoria) using a 7m drop keel “Carioca” yacht  named Flashdancer.

The expedition is to be spread over three years, sailing one lake each year, to make best use of the region’s prevailing southeast winds of July / August.

For the interim periods Flashdancer will be stowed at a lake side lodge on Lake Tanganyika, near the town of Kipili.

As far as is known no one has attempted to sail the lakes consecutively.


Vessel: 7m drop keel yacht Flashdancer, which is sufficiently small enough to trailer, but large enough for three to sail in some comfort.

Trailer: specialised yacht trailer reinforced to handle rough terrain.

Vehicle: one a 2 to. 4×4 for towing and general driving.



Back-up: there will be no back-up. The yacht is self-sufficient and self-reliant.

 Approximate sailing distances:

  • Lake Malawi; 900 km
  • Lake Tanganyika; 1150 km
  • Lake Victoria; 800 km

Approximate driving  distances:

  • Hermanus to Lake Malawi southern shore ; 3 700 km
  • Lake Malawi northern shore to Lake Tanganyika southern shore; 500 km
  • Lake Tanganyika northern shore to Lake Victoria southern shore; 600 km
  • Lake Victoria south shore to Hermanus;  6 000 km


  • July / August 2015:- drive FD to L.Malawi. Sail the lake. Drive FD to a lakeside lodge at Kipili on Lake Tanganyika. Stow it for a year. Drive home
  • July / August 2016:- drive to Kipili. Launch FD. Sail L.Tanganyika. Stow FD at Kipili. Drive home.
  • July / August 2017:- drive to Kipili. Drive FD to Mwanza on the southern shore of Lake Victoria. Sail FD to the northern limit of L.Victoria, explore the coastline around Jinja and Entebbe. Sail back to Mwanza. Drive FD back to Hermanus



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