• Photo: Peter Wollinga / Shutterstock

Lake Victoria

Kenya shares Africa's biggest freshwater lake with its neighbors, Uganda and Tanzania. Tanzania has the lion's share: 49%; Uganda has 45%; Kenya only 6%. The lake is so huge (68,000 square km [26,000 square miles]) that it has its own weather system with unpredictable storms, squalls, and high waters just like the ocean. The dhow was first introduced to Lake Victoria by Arab slave traders, and the local Luo shipbuilders quickly adopted the shape and lateen sail. You'll see fishing fleets of white-sailed dhows all over the lake, fishing mainly for the delicious Nile perch. These fish, which can reach the size of a fully grown shark, now account for about 80% of the fish in the lake. Their presence still arouses controversy. On the one hand, they’re the basis for a multimillion-dollar processing and export industry; on the other, scientists say they’re destroying the lake's ecosystem.

Explore Lake Victoria

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