The African Great Lakes (Swahili: Maziwa Makuu) are a series of lakes constituting the part of the Rift Valley lakes in and around the East African Rift. They include Lake Victoria, the third-largest fresh water lake in the world by area, Lake Tanganyika, the world's second-largest freshwater lake by volume and depth, and Lake Malawi, the world's eighth-largest fresh water lake by area. Collectively, they contain 31,000 km3 (7400 cu mi) of water, which is more than either Lake Baikal or the North American Great Lakes. This total constitutes about 25% of the planet's unfrozen surface fresh water. The large rift lakes of Africa are the ancient home of great biodiversity, and 10% of the world's fish species live there.
The Great Lakes area, where colonial era borders cut through ethnic groups, has in the last 20 years been a crucible of conflict that has launched multiple uprisings and invasions. The United Nations, the United States, and several European countries have special envoys or representatives to the Great Lakes region.
The following are included on most lists of the African Great Lakes, grouped by drainage basin. The exact number of lakes considered part of the African Great Lakes varies by list, and may include smaller lakes in the rift valleys, especially if they are part of the same drainage basin as the larger lakes, such as Lake Kyoga.
The Bantu Swahili language is the most commonly spoken language in the African Great Lakes region. It also serves as a national or official language of four nations in the region: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Due to the high population density of an estimated 107 million people, and the agricultural surplus in the region, the area became organized into a number of small states. The most powerful of these monarchies were Buganda, Bunyoro, Rwanda, and Burundi. Unusual for sub-Saharan Africa, the traditional borders were largely maintained by the colonial powers.
Being the long sought after source of the Nile, the region had long been of interest to Europeans. The first Europeans to arrive in the region in any numbers were missionaries who had limited success in converting the locals, but did open the region to later colonization. The increased contact with the rest of the world led to a series of devastating epidemics affecting both humans and livestock. While seen as a region with great potential after independence, the region has in recent decades been marred by civil war and conflict, from which only Tanzania has escaped. According to the UNHCR, Tanzania hosted the most Congolese refugees of the region. The worst affected areas have been left in great poverty.
The highlands are relatively cool, with average temperatures ranging between 17 °C (63 °F) and 19 °C (66 °F) and abundant rainfall. Major drainage basins include those of the Congo-Zaire, Nile, and Zambezi rivers, which drain into the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Indian Ocean, respectively.
Forests are dominant in the lowlands of the Congo-Zaire Basin, while grasslands and savannas are most common in the southern and eastern highlands. Temperatures in the lowlands average about 95 °F (35 °C). Around Lake Turkana, the climate is hot and very dry. A short rainy season in October is followed by a longer one from April to May.
The Western Rift Valley lakes are freshwater and home to an extraordinary number of endemic species. More than 1,500 cichlid fish species live in the lakes, as well as other fish families. The lakes are also important habitats for a number of amphibian species. Nile crocodiles are numerous. Mammals include elephants, gorillas and hippopotamus.
The Lake Turkana area is home to hundreds of species of birds endemic to Kenya. The flamingo wades in its shallows. The East African rift system also serves as a flyway for migrating birds, bringing in hundreds more. The birds are essentially supported by plankton masses in the lake, which also feed the fish there.
Vegetation ranges from rainforest to savanna grasses. In some lakes, rapidly growing invasive plants, like the surface-choking water hyacinth and shore-clogging papyrus, are problems. Water hyacinth have thus far affected only Lake Victoria.
Until 12 million years ago, the bountiful waters of the equatorial plateau either flowed west into the Congo River system or east to the Indian Ocean. Creation of the Great Rift Valley changed that. A rift is a weak place in Earth's crust due to the separation of two tectonic plates, often accompanied by a graben, or trough, in which lake water can collect. This rift began when East Africa, impelled by currents in the mantle, began separating from the rest of Africa, moving to the northeast. The basins that resulted from the geological uplifts filled with water that now flowed north.
Lake Victoria is not actually within the Rift Valley. It occupies a depression between the Eastern and Western Rifts, formed by the uplift of the rifts to either side.
Around two to three million years ago, Lake Turkana was larger and the area more fertile, making it a center for early hominids. Richard Leakey led numerous anthropological excavations in the area, which yielded many important discoveries of hominin remains. The two-million-year-old Skull 1470 was found in 1972. It was originally thought to be Homo habilis, but some anthropologists have assigned it to a new species, Homo rudolfensis, named after the lake (previously known as Lake Rudolf). In 1984, the Turkana Boy, a nearly complete skeleton of a Homo erectus boy was discovered. More recently, a 3,500,000-year-old skull was discovered there, named Kenyanthropus platyops, which means "The Flat-Faced Man of Kenya".
Fishing—primarily of tilapia species but also of Nile perch—provides the main livelihood. With four Great Lakes on its borders, Uganda ranks as one of the world's largest producers of freshwater fish. The climate and rich volcanic soils in the highlands also sustain intensely cultivated croplands.
The economies of the Great Lakes region states have different structures and are at various stages of development. The GDP real growth rate ranges from 5.1 percent in Burundi to 6.4 in DRC. GDP per capita fluctuates between $700 in DRC and Burundi and $1,900 in Uganda.
Afro-Arabs are people of mixed Arab and African descent as well as groups from Sub-Saharan Africa who have adopted Arab culture. Most Afro-Arabs inhabit North Africa and the Swahili Coast in the African Great Lakes region.Clan (African Great Lakes)
In the African Great Lakes region, the clan is a unit of social organisation. It is the oldest societal structure in the region, other than family and direct lineage. The structure is found in modern-day Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda.East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the eastern region of the African continent, variably defined by geography. In the United Nations Statistics Division scheme of geographic regions, 20 territories make up Eastern Africa:
Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan are members of the East African Community (EAC). The first five are also included in the African Great Lakes region. Burundi and Rwanda are at times also considered to be part of Central Africa.
Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia – collectively known as the Horn of Africa. The area is the easternmost projection of the African continent, and is sometimes considered a separate region from East Africa.
Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles – small island nations in the Indian Ocean.
Réunion and Mayotte – French overseas territories also in the Indian Ocean.
Mozambique and Madagascar – often considered part of Southern Africa, on the eastern side of the sub-continent. Madagascar has close cultural ties to Southeast Asia and the islands of the Indian Ocean.
Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe – often also included in Southern Africa, and formerly constituted the Central African Federation (also known historically as the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland).
Sudan and South Sudan (newly independent from Sudan) – collectively part of the Nile Valley. Situated in the northeastern portion of the continent, the Sudans are often included in Northern Africa. Also members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) free trade area.Due to colonial territories of the British East Africa Protectorate and German East Africa, the term East Africa is often (especially in the English language) used to specifically refer to the area now comprising the three countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. However, this has never been the convention in many other languages, where the term generally had a wider, strictly geographic context and therefore typically included Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.East African montane forests
The East African montane forests is a montane tropical moist forest ecoregion of eastern Africa. The ecoregion comprises several separate areas above 2000 meters in the mountains of South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.Hutu
The Hutu , also known as the Abahutu, are a Bantu ethnic or social group native to the African Great Lakes region of Africa, an area now primarily in Burundi and Rwanda. They mainly live in Rwanda, Burundi, and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they form one of the principal population divisions alongside the Tutsi and the Twa.Intergovernmental Authority on Development
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is an eight-country trade bloc in Africa. It includes governments from the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley and the African Great Lakes. Its headquarters are in Djibouti City.Kachumbari
Kachumbari is a fresh tomato and onion salad dish that is popular in the cuisines of the African Great Lakes region. It is an uncooked salad dish consisting of chopped tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers. Variations of kachumbari can be found in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and in the Southern African countries of Malawi and Congo.
The Swahili word kachumbari originated from the Indian word cachumber.Lake Albert (Africa)
Lake Albert, also Mwitanzige and formerly Lake Mobutu Sese Seko, is a lake located in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is one of the African Great Lakes. Lake Albert is Africa's seventh-largest lake, and the world's twenty-seventh largest lake by volume.Lake Edward
Lake Edward, Rutanzige or Edward Nyanza is the smallest of the African Great Lakes. It is located in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift, on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda, with its northern shore a few kilometres south of the equator.Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and is in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. Lake Kivu empties into the Ruzizi River, which flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika.Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria (Nam Lolwe in Luo; Nalubaale in Uganda; Nyanza in Kinyarwanda and some Bantu languages) is one of the African Great Lakes.
The lake was renamed Lake Victoria after Queen Victoria by the explorer John Hanning Speke, in his reports- the first Briton to document it. (It has since been recognized that the native guides used the name Lake Nyanza to describe it to him) Speke accomplished this in 1858, while on an expedition with Richard Francis Burton to locate the source of the Nile River. This expedition was financially sponsored by the Royal Geographic Society, an imperial organization that upon bestowing this news to the queen, got bestowed a royal charter. It is not clear if this was in appreciation of the lake re-naming
With a surface area of approximately 59,947 square kilometres (23,146 sq mi), Lake Victoria is Africa's largest lake by area, the world's largest tropical lake, and the world's second largest fresh water lake by surface area after Lake Superior in North America. In terms of volume, Lake Victoria is the world's ninth largest continental lake, containing about 2,424 cubic kilometres (1.965×109 acre⋅ft) of water.Lake Victoria occupies a shallow depression in Africa. The lake has a maximum depth of between 80 and 84 metres (262 and 276 ft) and an average depth of 40 metres (130 ft). Its catchment area covers 169,858 square kilometres (65,583 sq mi). The lake has a shoreline of 7,142 kilometres (4,438 mi) when digitized at the 1:25,000 level, with islands constituting 3.7 percent of this length, and is divided among three countries: Kenya (6 percent or 4,100 square kilometres or 1,600 square miles), Uganda (45 percent or 31,000 square kilometres or 12,000 square miles), and Tanzania (49 percent or 33,700 square kilometres or 13,000 square miles).List of lakes by volume
This article lists lakes with a water volume of more than 100 km³, ranked by volume. The volume of a lake is a difficult quantity to measure. Generally, the volume must be inferred from bathymetric data by integration. Lake volumes can also change dramatically over time and during the year, especially for salt lakes in arid climates. For these reasons, and because of changing research, information on lake volumes can vary considerably from source to source. The base data for this article are from The Water Encyclopedia (1990). Where volume data from more recent surveys or other authoritative sources has been used, it is referenced in each entry.List of television stations in Africa
This is a list of television stations in Africa.Mandazi
Mandazi, also known as the dabo or Dahir (Swahili: Mandazi, Maandazi), is a form of fried bread that originated on the Swahili Coast. It is one of the principal dishes in the cuisine of the Swahili people who inhabit the African Great Lakes. The dish is popular in the region, as it is convenient to make, can be eaten with almost any food or dips or just as a snack by itself, and can be saved and reheated for later consumption.Music of Bahrain
The music of Bahrain is part of the Persian Gulf folk traditions. Alongside Kuwait, it is known for sawt music, a bluesy genre influenced by African, Indian and Persian music. Sultan Hamid, Ali Bahar and Khaled El Sheikh (a singer and oud player) are among the most popular musicians from Bahrain.Bahrain was the site of the first Persian Gulf-based recording studio, established after World War II. Modern music institutions in Bahrain include the Bahrain Music Institute, the Bahrain Orchestra and the Classical Institute of Music. The Bahraini male-only pearl diving tradition is known for the songs called fidjeri.Liwa and Fann at-Tanbura are types of music and dance performed mainly in communities of descendants of Bantu peoples from the African Great Lakes region.Music of Oman
The music of Oman has been strongly affected by the country's coastal location, with Omani sailors interacting with, and bringing back music from, Egypt, Tanzania and elsewhere. More recently, a Portuguese occupation has left its own marks, while geographic neighbors like the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iran have also had a profound influence. In contrast to other Arab countries, Omani traditional music has a strong emphasis on rhythm.
Traditional music marks all the stages in the life of an Omani, including birth, circumcision, marriage and death. In contrast to many Arab countries, all Omanis participate in music, men and women, young and old.
Liwa and Fann at-Tanbura are types of music and dance performed mainly in communities of descendants of Bantu peoples from the African Great Lakes region.
The Omani Centre for Traditional Music claims that Arabic music in Oman can be characterized by "tetrachords with typical Arabic intervals, including three-quarter tones taken from the Arabic musical scales; the maqamat".Notable Omani musicians include Salim Rashid Suri, the "Singing Sailor", a 20th-century singer and oud player from Sur who combined strains of the ṣawt of the northern Persian Gulf and other musical traditions of the Indian Ocean as a pioneer of the genre called Ṣawt al-Khaleej ("Voice of the Gulf").
There is also a very small underground metal scene with bands like Arabia and Belos emerging from there, the former moving to the UK.Nyanga people
The Nyanga (also Banianga, Banyanga, Kinyanga, Nianga or Nyangas) are a Bantu people in the African Great Lakes region. Today they live predominantly in the Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, near the frontier with Rwanda and Uganda. They speak the Nyanga language, also called Kinyanga, which is one of the Bantu languages. There are about 150,000 speakers of Nyanga according to a 1994 census, but most are also fluent in Swahili. Their national epic is the Mwindo.Taarab
Taarab is a music genre popular in Tanzania and Kenya. It is influenced by the musical traditions of the African Great Lakes, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent. Taarab rose to prominence in 1928 with the advent of the genre's first star, Siti binti Saad.
According to local legend, taarab was started by Sultan Seyyid Barghash bin Said (1870-1888). He enjoyed luxury and the pleasures of life. It was this ruler who initiated taarab in Zanzibar and later it spread all over the African Great Lakes region. The sultan imported a taarab ensemble from Egypt to play in his Beit el-Ajab palace. He subsequently decided to send to Egypt Mohamed Ibrahim to learn music and he also learned to play the Kanun. Upon his return, he formed the Zanzibar Taarab Orchestra. In 1905, Zanzibar's second music society, Ikwhani Safaa Musical Club, was established and continues to thrive today.Ikwhani Safaa and Culture Musical Club (founded in 1958) remain the leading Zanzibar taarab orchestras.The word Taarab is a loanword from Arabic. The Arabic word طرب means "having joy with music".The EastAfrican
The EastAfrican is a weekly newspaper published in Kenya by the Nation Media Group, which also publishes Kenya's national Daily Nation. The EastAfrican is circulated in Kenya and the other countries of the African Great Lakes region, including Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. It contains stories and in-depth analysis from each country in the region, in addition to international stories.