Lake Victoria is a gigantic lake in East Africa. In fact it is the second largest lake in the world, only being topped by Lake Superior! Boasting a surface area of 26,600 square miles, the lake borders three East African countries; Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The entire state of West Virginia could fit inside Lake Victoria! The lake is home to diverse wildlife including the humongous Nile Perch which can grow up to six feet long and weigh in over 500 pounds! Now that is a big fish!
We often make trips to Kisumu to pick up teams that come into the Kisumu airport. The airport is situated just off of the lake which makes it easy to find a boat and spend a few hours out on the water. Normally we pick up visitors in the middle of the day so we miss out on the early morning hippo action, but it is still completely worth getting out on the water even in the middle of the day. If you venture out on the lake during the middle of the day you will probably see six of these seven sights on Lake Victoria. If you are lucky you may even see number seven!
1 The Black Headed Weaver. Black Headed Weavers are brilliantly colored yellow and black birds. Three nests are made by the male who hopes to make one good enough for the ladies to move in! If he is skilled enough a female will choose one of the three nests, a ritual that makes this bird very unique!
2 The African Fish Eagle. The African Fish Eagle likes to hang around large bodies of water and, well, eat fish. I have seen them from afar several times but they are always full when I have seen them, but they will dive down to the lake to get a bite.
3 Fishing boats pulled onshore waiting for their owners to take them out to get a catch by night. Sometimes they wait in vein.
4 Papyrus reeds. Papyrus has been used for thousands of years for a type of paper, clothing, furniture and even a small basket for baby Moses to float down the nile. They look like giant green dandelions.
5 In the small fishing villages, birds wait in droves for that days catch to be gutted. They go nuts for leftovers!
6 Fishing sailboats go out early to seek out the Nile Perch. They look like small pirate vessels to me!
7 Our boat driver Titus is absolutely amazing! Our favorite thing that Titus has said happened when we saw an airplane taking off from the Kisumu Airport, and he said, “Look, there goes one of them big iron birds headed to Niarobi.” If you are out on Lake Victoria and get really lucky, you may just spot him!