Lake Victoria


The source of the Nile and the stuff of legend


Lake Victoria’s vast area and discovery are the stuff of legend. In the 12th century, Arab traders embarked on a quest into Africa’s interior in search of gold and ivory and along the way meandered past the lake, which they speculated to be the source of the Nile. European explorers had also long been fixated on finding the source of the Nile, which in turn spurred many competitive undertakings in the 19th century. 

Today, Lake Victoria is widely accepted as the source of the White Nile, one of the Nile’s two main tributaries. It is also the largest tropical lake in the world and the one with the largest area on the continent. Lauded as one of Africa’s Great Lakes, its banks are shared between Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya.

Kisumu’s origins lie in its purpose as a market town. Today, markets still line its streets and visitors will be charmed by the quaint city’s various attractions. Visit the Impala Sanctuary, watch the sun set on a seemingly endless Lake Victoria horizon, or venture out of town to visit the Kakamega Forest National Reserve, Kenya’s only tropical rainforest and a remnant of an ancient forest that once covered most of the continent.  

Highlights
  • Easily reached by Kisumu Airport, which receives daily flights from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi
  • There are ferries that link Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania across Lake Victoria 
  • It is largely agreed to be the source of the White Nile, a main tributary of the Nile 
  • It is the largest tropical lake in the world and largest lake by area on the continent 
  • Kakamega Forest National Reserve can be easily reached from the banks of Lake Victoria 

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