Lakes in Tanzania

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Sitting just beneath the equator, Tanzania is warm and pleasant all year round, meaning there’s never a bad time to visit and swim in this East African country’s vast and varied lakes. Surrounded by rich, exciting wildlife and offering some of the country’s finest scenery, the lakes in Tanzania are well worth a stop on your itinerary.

What makes Tanzania lakes so special?

Whether it’s the birds at Lake Natron or the wildlife living within the largest tropical lake in the world, Lake Victoria, there’s something to impress any traveler at Tanzania’s big bodies of water. Try snorkeling, take boat rides and go kayaking at some of the most beautiful lakes in the country, and don’t miss an opportunity to interact with locals living on their shores. 

The best lakes in Tanzania for your itinerary

With numerous pristine lakes, Tanzania has lots of spectacular scenery on offer. But there are a few don’t-miss destinations. Connect with nature and marvel at the country’s best natural assets at some of these glorious lakes in Tanzania.

See flamingos at Lake Natron

At the foot of the Great Rift Valley lies arguably the world's most caustic lakes, with water so alkaline it can burn human skin. The countless halophilic bacteria here, though, create a perfect environment for the pink flamingos that flock to its shores to feed. The thousands of pink birds are an unforgettable sight. Surrounding the lake, emerald green hills flank its shoresm, and adventurous travelers trek up the nearby Ol Doinyo Lengai to meet native Maasai tribespeople.

Snorkel at Lake Tanganyika

Africa’s deepest lake is also the world’s second-oldest freshwater lake. But it’s impressive not least because of its size. Lake Tanganyika has rushing waterfalls, brilliant marine life including the rainbow cichlid fish, and even Nile crocodiles swimming in its sparkling waters. Brave visitors can snorkel to see the myriad colourful fish that live here.

Enjoy Lake Eyasi's native culture

The Datoga and Hadzabe tribes had a home around the shores of Lake Eyasi for centuries. Here, you’ll get a rare opportunity to meet the modern-day Datoga and Hadzabe, visit their homes and and understand their way of life. Bird watchers will love the lake's inhabitants, which includes storks, flamingos, lovebirds and pelicans. 

Lake Victoria's incredible tranquility

By far one of the world’s most famous lakes, Victoria is enormous at over 26,000 square miles. It’s so huge, it spans three countries, including Tanzania’s neighbors, Kenya and Uganda. For the best experience, take to the waters by traditional dhow boat and sail to its verdant islands. You’ll spot all sorts of birdlife, you could catch some Nile perch for dinner, or even see a hippopotamus basking in the waters. 

Revel in Lake Nyasa's fresh waters

Home to incredible biodiversity, Lake Nyasa provides all sorts of exciting experiences for the intrepid travelers that make it here. The serene lake is the perfect spot for a refreshing evening swim, or you could explore by kayak to get out even further on the water. Livingstone Mountains makes a stunning backdrop, and the sandy beaches on its shoreline means sunbathing is possible. Hike among the nearby hills and you’ll discover beautiful waterfalls along the way.

Tips for visiting Tanzania lakes

December offers the most pleasant weather for a calming vacation, but if you are a keen birder then plan your trip between June and December to enjoy sightings of flamingos and pelicans.

When to go in Tanzania?

Inland regions have a temperate, tropical climate, whilst the coast is very humid and can, sometimes, get too hot. The best time to visit Tanzania is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. Avoid the rainy season between March and the beginning of May. Another option is to go during a short rainy season that lasts from November to mid-December. There are fewer tourists and the country is in bloom. All of this depend on what you plan to do when there. The dry season is ideal for safaris in most of the parks, but to see the wildebeest and zebra migration (as well as the predators at large), opt for the rainy season. If you dislike the heat, avoid January and February, the hottest months of the year.
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