Explore the Famous Lakes in Tanzania

Tom Snoyd
Tom Snoyd 15 Min Read

Every safari-goer has a reason to travel to Tanzania. The journey can be for study, leisure, adventure, or discovery. Still, no matter the reason, a trip to Tanzania opens a wide door for exploring the wonders beyond your imagination. Traveling to Tanzania is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will teach you about many things, from wildlife to captivating cultural experiences. However, exploring the famous lakes in Tanzania will be one of your best experiences.

This fabulous country is blessed with exciting tourist attractions, including national parks, game reserves, great mountains like Kilimanjaro, hot springs, and waterfalls, to mention a few. Tanzania has game-rich parks, breathtaking peaks, and mirror-like lakes covered with crystal-clear waters whose coverage is staggering. Covering over twenty-three thousand and seven hundred square miles (more than 61,500 sq km), Tanzania is among the best destinations for exploring the lakes. We at East Africa Safari Guides are dedicated to bringing you adventures to some of Tanzania’s fabulous and famous lakes. You can either plan a complete lake exploration safari with us or let us include lake visits in your main safari package as an optional activity.

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is the largest and famous tropical lake shared by three East African countries: Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. Tanzania accounts for about 51%, while Uganda and Kenya account for about 43% and 6%, respectively. This lake is also North America’s second-largest freshwater body after Lake Superior. It is 337 km long, 240 km wide, 82 m deep, and has a surface area of 68,800 square kilometers. It is located in the northwest of Tanzania.

The origin of its name

“Lake Victoria” comes from the famous British explorer John Hanning Speke. He traveled to search for the source of the Great Nile and was the first European to see it in 1858. He named it after Queen Victoria.

Lake Victoria in Tanzania - The famous lakes in Tanzania

Lake Victoria is fed by several rivers, such as Kagera, Mara, Sio, Katonga, Yala, Nyando, and Sondu Miriu, but it only feeds the mighty Nile. 

Activities at Lake Victoria

There are a lot of activities to do while you are on a safari to Lake Victoria in Tanzania. We suggest you do some of them, including:

Boat cruise

Book a boat trip and travel through the crystal-clear water of Lake Victoria. Discover many islands and meet fishermen in their locally made dhows as they fish daily. You will also enjoy the cool breezes of Lake Victoria.

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The primary activity carried out by the people living in the Lake Victoria basin is fishing. It employs about 200,000 individuals. While on safari at this beautiful lake, you can learn how to fish. Lake Victoria is inhabited by over 200 species of fish, of which the tilapia is the dominant.

Beach holiday

Lake Victoria has white-sand beaches worth a visit. While on the beach, you can sunbathe, swim, and enjoy as many sports as you want. Soak up the turquoise water and enjoy the stunning appearance of this freshwater lake.

Visit Rubondo Island

This is one of the two island parks in Tanzania. Situated in the spectacular Lake Victoria, Rubondo Island National Park is the largest island park in Africa. It covers an area of 456 square kilometers and offers unappalled exposure to chimpanzees, one of the most intelligent primates in the world. This park can be reached by booking a boat from Mwanza, 150 kilometers away. Here, you will view wild animals, including elephants, giraffes, antelopes, bushbucks, colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, and the rare Sitatunga antelope. On the shallow shore, you will meet iconic water birds, crocodiles, and hippos. 

Visit Ukerewe Island

Ukerewe Island is another fascinating place worth visiting during your safari to Lake Victoria. Ukerewe is Lake Victoria’s largest island and Africa’s largest inland island. To reach this vibrant island, book a ferry or boat from Mwanza and sail through a 50-km distance north of Mwanza City. A visit to Ukerewe is remarkable because you will meet the locals who practice fishing as their main economic activity. You will also see Mwanza City, Entebbe, and Nairobi from the viewing point called Irondo Point. There is a dancing stone, a crocodile tree, and the knife of truth visitors can see on Ukara Island, which neighbors Ukerewe Island.

When you visit Lake Victoria, you can discover a lot. Plan a trip to learn about many beautiful things.

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Lake Manyara

Lake Manyara is a soda lake in northern Tanzania within the Lake Manyara National Park. This breathtaking lake covers 230 square kilometers of the park.

What to see in Lake Manyara?

On your safari to Lake Manyara, you will discover many things. These range from the beautiful appearance of the lake to the wildlife surrounding it. Here are a few things you may be interested in knowing on your safari to Lake Manyara:


From a distance, the Lake Manyara shoreline is distinguished by its “pink” look. The massive population of pink flamingos is the cause of this. These beautiful birds are usually after the spirulina algae, which is concentrated on the shallow shores of Lake Manyara. The pink flamingos and other shoreline birds make Lake Manyara a stunning place for bird-watching trips.

Flamingos at Lake Manyara National Park - The famous lakes in Tanzania

Tree-climbing lions

These species of lions make Lake Manyara an attractive place to go. They are rarely seen in other parts of the world except in Lake Manyara National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. Your trip to Lake Manyara will allow you to meet a particular type of lion.

What to do in Lake Manyara

Canoeing and boat safaris

Want to know more about Lake Manyara? Get on a canoe and explore this alkaline lake. You will be amazed by its glorious appearance. On a boat safari, you may meet local fishermen and enjoy fishing with them.

Game drives

Lake Manyara’s surrounding vegetation hosts many wild animals. These include herbivores such as buffalos, elephants, antelopes, wildebeests, zebras, warthogs, giraffes, and many more. Predators such as lions, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, and wild dogs may also be seen. Unlike other destinations like Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, you can have a night game drive in Lake Manyara National Park.

Tree-top canopy walk

You can view the magical scenes of Lake Manyara National Park differently. A tree-top walk lets you walk on top of trees to see vegetation, primates, birds, and wildlife. 

Village tour

Mto wa Mbu village is a local village located on the outskirts of Lake Manyara. Visiting this fantastic village would make your trip to Lake Manyara more memorable. The Maasai and other tribes that live in this village are incredibly hospitable and endearing to guests.

Lake Ngosi

Lake Ngosi, or Ngozi, is a crater lake in Tanzania’s southern circuit. It is situated in the Mbeya region near Tukuyu town in Rungwe District and is arguably the second largest crater lake in Africa, the first being Lake Wench in Ethiopia.

Getting to Lake Ngozi

From Mbeya City, you can drive through Uyole and Tukuyu and stop at the edge of Uporoto Forest Reserve. It will take 2 to 3 hours to drive through a 38-km distance. Walking to the lake would help because this forest reserve does not allow cars to pass through.

Lake Ngosi is part of the majestic Uporoto Mountains and the Eastern Arc Range. To reach It, you must hike the Uporoto Mountain Range to Ngosi Peak, which is around 2600m above sea level. This lake is on Ngosi Peak and is 2.5 km long, 1.5 km wide, and 75 m deep.

Lake Ngosi in Mbeya - Tanzania. The famous lakes in Tanzania
Lake Ngosi in Mbeya – Tanzania

It was named ‘Ngosi,’ a Safwa word for ‘big one.’ Lake Ngozi is said to have formed after the magma chamber collapsed into its magma beneath, thus creating a massive depression. This Crater Lake was formed under violent volcanic eruptions, all of which are said to have happened about one million years ago.

What to do at Lake Ngozi


A canoe safari on this Crater Lake is fantastic. You will meet some aquatic species, such as fish and reptiles like snakes, which are said to live in Lake Ngozi. You can also book a boat trip to explore the beauty of this lake.

Visit the locals

The locals that surround Lake Ngosi are the Safwa and Nyakyusa. They are excellent farmers. You may be interested in spending a whole day with such vibrant people. They always tell the myths about Lake Ngosi, including the story of Sharman and the story of the German treasure. The stories are hilarious and exciting.


If you want to hike, you may hike the Uporoto Mountain range, where Lake Ngosi is situated. 

Lake Tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika is another beautiful lake worth a trip. It is situated on the Western Circuit and is the second deepest lake in the world, after Lake Baikal in Siberia. It is also the world’s longest freshwater lake.

Like Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika is shared by multiple nations, but this one is shared by four. These include the DR Congo (45%), Tanzania (41%), Zambia (6%), and Burundi (8%). Lake Tanganyika is 32,600 square kilometers and within the Great Rift Valley. Its deepest part is 1,470 meters deep, while the average depth is 580 meters. Lake Tanganyika is also the second-largest lake by volume (with a volume of 18,980 cubic kilometers).

What to do in Lake Tanganyika


With over 350 fish species, Lake Tanganyika is a perfect destination for fishing on your safari or for economic use. You may enjoy sport fishing or learn to fish from experienced local fishermen.

Seeing the chimpanzees

Two parks, Gombe Stream National Park and Mahale Mountains National Park, are situated on the eastern shores of this lake. These parks are home to endangered chimpanzees. Therefore, if you want to see these beautiful primates, you may book a trip to Gombe or Mahale.

Lake Natron

Lake Natron is another soda lake that is not far from Lake Manyara. This mirror-like lake is 57 kilometers long, 22 kilometers wide, and has a surface area of about 1254 square kilometers.

Getting to Lake Natron

You may drive from Arusha to Engaruka using the main road from Manyara.

Lake Natron
Exploring the hidden gems in Lake Natron

What to do at Lake Natron


Lake Natron is the breeding site of the lesser flamingos. It is a perfect site for watching such beautiful birds rest on the shores of this alkaline lake. For a better experience with the flamingos, January and October are the best months to visit Lake Natron. You can also see other birds in the surrounding forest, such as ostriches, secretary birds, egrets, storks, pelicans, greater flamingos, and Kori bustards.


Lake Natron is close to the active Mount Ol Doinyo volcano, one of the fascinating mountains. You can hike on this beautiful peak, 2962m above sea level.

Visit the Maasai

Visiting the Maasai pastoralists is an exciting activity that you can enjoy at Lake Natron. You will learn many things about their culture, pastoralism, and artwork.

Lake Eyasi

Lake Eyasi is between the Eyasi escarpment and the Kidero Mountains, 133 kilometers west of Lake Manyara. This stunning soda lake has an area of 1,050 square kilometers.

What is the main attraction at Lake Eyasi?

The main attraction at Lake Eyasi is the existence of the Hadzabe Bushmen. They have lived in these areas for several centuries. They still live a hunting and gathering lifestyle. 

The Datoga tribe is another unique tribe found on the shores of Lake Eyasi. The Datoga is also the Nilotic ethnic group found on the Eyasi escarpment. Unlike the Hadzabe, the Datoga practice pastoralism and subsistence agriculture.

Hadzabe culture at Lake Eyasi
Hadza people at Lake Eyasi

Tanzania is a perfect destination for uncovering hidden wonders, and East Africa Safari Guides is there to make your trip unforgettable. We are motivated to deliver personalized services to our clients. If you want an aesthetic experience, reach out to us.

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Luxury Travel Blogger | African Safari Specialist. Hey there! I'm a luxury travel blogger with a passion for exploring the unspoiled beauty of Africa. As an African Safari Specialist, I'm here to help you discover the wonders of this captivating continent. Through my journeys and in-depth knowledge of East Africa, I've had the privilege of working closely with East Africa Safari Guides, collaborating to curate unforgettable experiences for adventurous souls like yourself. From the golden sunsets over the undulating plains of the Serengeti to the magnificent wildlife encounters in the Maasai Mara, I've been fortunate to witness nature's marvels up close. My journal is your window into the enchanting world of luxury travel in Africa, offering insider tips, captivating stories, and expert insights that will ignite your wanderlust. Allow me to be your trusted guide, taking you on a virtual journey beyond borders. Together, we'll unfold a tapestry of cultural treasures, breathtaking landscapes, and extraordinary encounters with nature's magnificent creations.