A Swim in Lake Tanganyika

Many people will visit the Serengeti, but few will ever reach the shores of remote and beautiful Lake Tanganyika.  You will find that it is the perfect complement to a bush safari.  Comprising Tanzania’s western boundary, Lake Tanganyika is one of the largest lakes in Africa, second only to Lake Victoria.  It is the second oldest lake in the world, after Lake Baikal in Siberia and the longest lake in the world. And at nearly five thousand feet, it is also the second deepest.  This incredible lake contains a full seventeen percent of the earth’s fresh water, clean enough to drink.  Its population of Nile perch, kuwe and other fish provides sustenance and vocation to thousands of local fishermen, and its vast variety of cichlids make it a destination for aquarists and ichthyologists alike, who come to admire and study the hundreds of colorful species found nowhere else on the planet.

According to Colin Apse, an Africa and U.S. freshwater-conservation advisor for the Nature Conservancy, “From my perspective, it’s the best place for tourism in the world, because you can wander through an amazing forest and see chimpanzees and then jump into the equivalent of coral reef snorkeling—but in fresh water that is kind of the perfect temperature.”

Lake Tanganyika is a rift lake, formed when two sections of the African tectonic plate began to split millions of years ago.  Because it is so deep, it has outlasted many shallower lakes, and contains freshwater animals found nowhere else which are very similar to their ocean counterparts.  In fact, they are probably distantly related but diverged onto their own evolutionary path millions of years ago when the lake was formed.  Three hundred unique species of fish and some of the world’s only freshwater jellyfish (non stinging) are found here, which makes the lake a very important biological resource in the study of evolution.

As you might imagine, activities at our exclusive Lupita Island resort revolve around the lake, which has an average surface temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25″ C), and there are many different ways to enjoy it.  Lie on the beach or stroll through its cool surf.  Skim the surface on a kayak, or immerse yourself in its cool clear waters by snorkeling, diving, water skiing, or simply leaping from our boat during a sunset cruise.

Those who are PADI-certified might be interested to learn that, since the lake sits at 2500 feet above sea level, a specialty called altitude diving is possible here, and we would be happy to arrange a diving expedition so that you can explore the lake more thoroughly.

Or you may prefer to simply admire the pristine waters from a distance, enjoying an uninterrupted panoramic view on a nature hike or from the privacy of your own open-air bedroom.  The view is equally spectacular from our spa, where you can gaze at its shimmering waters and be caressed by its balmy breezes during your massage.  Or view the lake from the vantage of an eagle by booking one of our helicopter tours, which will reveal the mysterious Mahale Mountains – home of one of the last remaining populations of chimpanzees – verdant neighboring countries, and  spectacular Kalambo Falls, among the highest waterfalls in all of Africa, situated on the Zambian border.

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