Travel Timeline Lake Tanganyika: June / July 2016
23-Jun T RM & MB drive from Hermanus to Gaborone. O/night personal friends
24-Jun F RM & MB drive to Lusaka. O/night motel
25-Jun S RM & MB drive to Lilongwe. o/night Crossroads Hotel
26-Jun S pick up IT at airport, All drive to Hakuna Matata (Willie). Meet with R&D
27-Jun M RM, MB & IT drive to Karonga,
Resurrect FD, o/night Mikoma Beach + R&D
28-Jun T Drive to Zambia border (Chitpita / Nakonde)
Drive to Mpulungu, o/night Nkupi campsite – all five of us
29-Jun W Launch & prep FD. Start sailing, o/night off second island. R&D head south
30-Jun T sailing north, o/night in cove
1-Jul F sailing north, o/night in cove
2-Jul S sailing north to Kipili. O/night Lakeshore
drive to Kironga – food, clear immigration
3-Jul S sailing north, o/night open bay
4-Jul M sailing north, o/night camp Bandas (Mahale Reserve)
5-Jul T o/night camp Bandas & view chimps
6-Jul W sailing south, afternoon rest at Sipwesa
sail throughout the night
7-Jul T sailing south, arrive Lakeshore
8-Jul F sailing south, o/night in cove as previous on the way north
9-Jul S sailing south, o/night Oscar’s (Liemba Lodge)
10-Jul S sailing south, climb to Kalambo Falls, arrive Mpulungu. O/night Nkupi
11-Jul M Mpulungu, drive to Forest Inn, near Kairi Mposhi, Zambia
12-Jul T drive to Lusaka, drop-off IT, RM & MB continue drive to o/night at Elephant Sands, Nata, Botswana
13-Jul W RM & MB drive to Jo’burg. O/night Mat’s brother
14-Jul T RM & MB drive to Hermanus. Arrive 11pm
It is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, in both cases, after only Lake Baikal in Siberia; it is also the world’s longest freshwater lake. The water flows into the Congo River system and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean.
It is the deepest lake in Africa and holds the greatest volume of fresh water. It has an average surface temperature of 25°C and a pH averaging 8.4.
The enormous depth and tropical location of the lake can prevent ‘turnover’ of water masses, which means that much of the lower depths of the lake are so-called ‘fossil water‘ and are anoxic (lacking oxygen).
The lake’s catchment area is 231,000 km². Two main rivers flow into the lake, as well as numerous smaller rivers and streams (whose lengths are limited by the steep mountains around the lake). There is one major outflow, the Lukunga River, which empties into the Congo River drainage.
The major river that flows into the lake is the Ruzizi River, formed about 10,000 years ago, which enters the north of the lake from Lake Kivu. The Malagarasi River, which is Tanzania’s second largest river, enters the east side of Lake Tanganyika. The Malagarasi is older than Lake Tanganyika and before the lake was formed directly drained into the Congo river.
Due to the lake’s tropical location, it suffers a high rate of evaporation. Thus it depends on a high inflow through the Ruzizi out of Lake Kivu to keep the lake high enough to overflow. This outflow is apparently not more than 12,000 years old, and resulted from lava flows blocking and diverting the Kivu basin’s previous outflow into Lake Edward and then the Nile system, and diverting it to Lake Tanganyika.
The lake holds at least 250 species of cichlid fish and 150 non-cichlid species, most of which live along the shoreline down to a depth of approximately 180 metres (590 ft).