Cape Town to Tanzania 2014

Solo trip for 12 months - Toyota Hiace 4x4 van

Lake Tanganyika

October 11, 2015  —  Tanzania 2

Kipili

Kipili - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania

Lake Tanganyika is the second-biggest freshwater lake in the world (in volume). It is also the second deepest in the world.

The lake extends for 676 km and averages 50 km in width. It has 1,828 km of shoreline, an average depth of 570 metres, and a maximum depth of 1,470 metres.

The lake shelters at least 250 species of fish of the cichlid family and 75 species of non-cichlid fish. Almost all of the lake cichlids are endemic, thus the lake is very important for its biodiversity. Among the non-cichlid fish, 59% of them are endemic.

By comparison, Lake Superior in Canada has only 80 species of fish. Lake Malawi has about 1,000 species of cichlid fish, and it is the 9th biggest freshwater lake in the world.

Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Lake Tanganyika.
Kipili - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Lodge along the lake with a campsite.
Kipili - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Old Benedectine Monastery - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
The church.

Near the village of Kipili, there is an old Benedictine Mission. It dates from the 1880s. In addition to the church, there are several structures around the area.

Unfortunately, the whole site has been abandoned several decades ago and only some ruins are left standing. The church is still remarkable, but it may crumble in the coming years.

Old Benedectine Monastery - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
The Benedictine Church.
Old Benedectine Monastery - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Old Benedectine Monastery - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
The church must have been very nice in the past. Nowadays, the walls and columns are dangerously curved.
Old Benedectine Monastery - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Old Benedectine Monastery - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Old Benedectine Monastery - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Old Benedectine Monastery - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Old Benedectine Monastery - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Other ruins around the church.
Old Benedectine Monastery - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
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Road from Mpanda to Uvinza

Road from Mpanda to Uvinza - Tanzania

Western Tanzania has been a big surprise for me. I was not expecting to see such vast territories covered in forests. People probably live in the forest since I was hearing cows' mooing far away in the forest.

On more than a hundred kilometres, the road was sneaking through the forest. I am still wondering if the 70 kilometres between the road and Lake Tanganyika are entirely covered in forest.

Road from Mpanda to Uvinza - Tanzania
Road from Mpanda to Uvinza - Tanzania
Road from Mpanda to Uvinza - Tanzania
Road from Mpanda to Uvinza - Tanzania
Road from Mpanda to Uvinza - Tanzania
Road from Mpanda to Uvinza - Tanzania
Road from Mpanda to Uvinza - Tanzania
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Kigoma

Kigoma is the regional capital of the area. It is a lively town with very welcoming people. In fact, it is the town where Tanzanians are the nicest. Kigoma is relatively seldom visited by tourists.

The best place to sleep is the Jakobsen Beach. The campsite is located just a few metres from the beach and is very quiet and relaxing. For three days, I had the campsite and the beach for myself.

It is also a very nice spot for snorkelling with the cichlid fishes. It feels like swimming in a house aquarium. Indeed, the cichlid fishes are very colourful and they are often sold in pet shops in the Western countries.

Jakobsen's Beach - Kigoma - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Beach in front of the campsite.
Jakobsen's Beach - Kigoma - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Jakobsen's Beach - Kigoma - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Jakobsen's Beach - Kigoma - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Jakobsen's Beach - Kigoma - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Jakobsen's Beach - Kigoma - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Jakobsen's Beach - Kigoma - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
Jakobsen's Beach - Kigoma - Lake Tanganyika - Tanzania
The cichlid fishes like rocky sections of the lake.