Lake Victoria – Everything You Need to Know
Table of Contents
- 1 Lake Victoria – Everything You Need to Know
- 2 Geology
- 2.1 Limnology and Hydrology
- 2.2 Bathymetry
- 2.3 Native Wildlife
- 2.4 Fisheries
- 2.5 Environmental Issues
- 2.6 Exploration and History
- 2.7 Nalubaale Dam
- 2.8 Water Use
- 2.9 Transport
Lake Victoria is among the African Great Lakes. The various names for the lake among the local dialects are Nam Lolwe in Dholuo, Nnalubaale in Luganda, Nyanza, or Ukerewe in Kinyarwanda. Despite having various names from the local languages, the lake was named after Queen Victoria in 1858 by explorer John Speke Hanning, who was on an expedition with Richard Burton Francis and was the first British man to document the lake.
Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa’s biggest lake, the largest tropical lake in the world, the second-largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area after North America’s Lake Superior, with a surface area of roughly 59,947 square kilometers (23,146 square miles). With a capacity of 2,424 cubic kilometers (1.965109 acres. ft), Lake Victoria is the 9th largest continental lake in the world in terms of volume.
Lake Victoria is located in Africa occupying a shallow depression. The lake’s maximum depth ranges between 80 to 84 meters (262 to 276 feet) and has a 40-meter (130-foot) average depth. It has a 169,858 square kilometers (65,583 square miles) catchment area. When the shoreline is digitized at a 1:25,000 scale, it measures 7,142 kilometers (4,438 miles), with islands accounting for 3.7 percent of the total length. The surface area of the lake is divided into three nations; Kenya owns 6 percent (4,100 sq km or 1,600 square miles), Uganda 45 percent (31,000 sq km or 12,000 square miles), and Tanzania 49 percent (33,700 sq km or 13,000 square miles) of the lake’s surface.
Many fish species, particularly cichlids, are unique to the lake and are found nowhere else. Many indigenous species have become extinct as a result of invasive fish like the Nile perch.
Lake Victoria is just around 400,000 years old from a geological perspective. An upthrown crustal block dammed rivers that were flowing westward, forming the lake. Throughout its geological history, Lake Victoria has changed dramatically, from its current shallow depression to a series of much smaller lakes. Since its formation, the lake has dried up at least three times, according to geological cores collected from its bottom. These cycles of drying up are most likely linked to previous ice ages when global precipitation decreased. Lake Victoria last dried up around 17,300 years ago, and it was replenished 14,700 years ago when the African humid period started.
Limnology and Hydrology
Direct rainfall accounts for 80% of Lake Victoria’s water supply. Evaporation on the lake averages between 2.0 to 2.2 meters (6.6 to 7.2 feet) annually, which is almost twice the precipitation received in riparian regions. Rivers and hundreds of tiny streams also contribute to Lake Victoria’s water supply. The Kagera River is the major river that drains into Lake Victoria and empties into the western shore of the lake. The lake is only drained by River Nile on its northern shore near Jinja in Uganda. In Kenya, the Migori, Mogusi, Sondu Miriu, Nyando, Yala, Nzoia, and Sio are the most important rivers.
The Great East African Rift Valley and Lake Victoria are two of Africa’s most famous natural wonders.
The Nile River, which flows out of the lake close to Jinja in Uganda, is the sole outflow from Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria is the main source of the Nile’s longest branch in terms of water contribution. The most distant source of the Nile Basin, and thus the Nile’s ultimate source, is more commonly thought to be one of the Kagera River’s tributary rivers (the exact tributary is unknown) that originates from either Burundi and Rwanda. Until it reaches Lake Albert, the Nile’s uppermost segment is referred to as the Victoria Nile. Even though it forms part of the same river system called the White Nile and is sometimes referred to as such, the name, however, does not officially apply until the river crosses the Uganda-South Sudan border.
Eutrophication has set in at the lake. In 1990 and 19991, the mixed layer’s oxygen concentration was higher in comparison to 1960 and 1961, With almost continuous supersaturation of oxygen in surface waters. Hypolimnetic water oxygen concentrations were lower in 1990 and 1991 for longer periods of time than in 1960 and 1961, with figures below 1 mg/liter (0.4 gr/cu feet) seen in depths shallow as 40m (130 feet), in contrast to the shallowest incidents of more than 50m (160 feet) observed in 1961. Changes in oxygenation are thought to be in line with increased alga productivity and biomass. Multiple factors have contributed to these changes, including successive burning in the lake’s basin, which has deposited soot and ash across the lake’s vast surface, increased inflow of nutrients via rivers, as well as increased pollution linked to settlement along the lake’s shores.
With the deepest parts being approximately 80m (260 feet) and a mean depth of 40m (130 feet), the lake is classified as a shallow lake given its vast geographic area. The lake’s first genuine bathymetric map was created in 2016 after a project digitized 10,000 points. The lake’s deepest part is near Kenya to the east, and it is overall shallower along the shoreline of Uganda and along the shoreline of Tanzania to the South.
The region around Lake Victoria is home to a variety of mammal species, some of which are closely linked to the lake and its surrounding wetlands. Hippopotamus, cane rats, defassa waterbuck, bohor reedbuck, sitatunga, marsh mongoose, spotted-neck otter, African clawless otter, and giant otter shrew are just a few of them.
Nile crocodiles, variable mud turtles, African helmeted turtles, and Williams’ mud turtles are all found in large numbers in the lake and its wetlands. Lake Victoria, as well as other lakes, rivers, and swamps in the upper Nile basin, are the exclusive homes to the Williams’ mud turtle.
Lake Victoria used to be abundant in fish, including several endemic species, but over the last 50 years, a large number of these have become extinct. The haplochromine cichlids (Haplochromis sensu lato) are the most abundant group in Lake Victoria, with over 500 species, nearly all of which are endemic and an estimated 300 species that are still unknown. Except for Lake Malawi, this lake contains far more fish species than any other in the world. These arose as a result of spontaneous adaptive radiation that occurred approximately 15,000 years ago. Several scientists who study the driving forces of the richness of life around the world have focused on the cichlids’ extraordinary evolutionary speed and diversity. The haplochromines of Victoria are part of a larger group of over 700 species that are closely related and include those of many smaller lakes found in the area, including Kyoga, Edward–George, Kyoga, Kivu, and Albert.
The majority of these lakes are shallow (like Victoria) and are located in the upper Nile basin today. The exception is Lake Kivu, which is part of the current Congo River basin but is thought to have been connected to Lakes Victoria and Edward by rivers until the East African Rift was raised. The deep lake Kivu may have served as an “evolutionary reservoir” to these haplochromine lakes during the times when the other shallower lakes found in the area dried up, as was the case about 15,000 years ago with Lake Victoria. In recent times, only Lake Kyoga was accessible to Lake Victoria cichlids, as the Victoria Nile’s downstream movement (to Lake Albert) was hampered by a series of waterfalls, including Murchison. The Owen Falls (currently flooded by a dam) between Kyoga and Victoria, on the other hand, was basically a series of rapids that did not fully block fish migration between these two lakes.
The haplochromines of Victoria are sexually dimorphic (males are brightly colored, while females are dull), their ecology is very diverse, with detritivores, piscivores, molluscivores, prawn-eaters, insectivorous, and zooplanktivores all falling into more than 16 different groups. According to o estimates, at least 200 species (roughly 40%) of Lake Victoria haplochromines are already extinct due to eutrophication, predation by the introduced Nile perch, and other ecosystem changes. with over 100 species yet to be identified. Initially, it was thought that the number was higher, with some estimates putting it at 65 percent of all species, but after the Nile perch population began to dwindle in the 1990s, several previously thought-to-be-extinct species were rediscovered. Several of the surviving species are critically endangered, and extinction is a distinct possibility. Some species have persisted in adjacent tiny satellite lakes, refugia in papyrus sedges or under rocks (giving them protection from the Nile perch), or have adapted to the lake’s human-induced alterations. Some of the notable adaptations include a bigger gill area (adapting to oxygen-deprived water), alterations in their feeding apparatus, and modification to the eyes to give them better vision in turbid water, as well as a smaller skull and a bigger caudal peduncle to enable them to swim faster. The piscivorous, insectivorous, and molluscivorous haplochromines were particularly severely struck, with several extinctions due to competition and predation from Nile perch. Others have had their distinct forms go extinct, but survive as hybrids between close relatives (particularly among detritivores). The least impacted have been the zooplantivores, and by the late 1990s, they had attained concentrations that were comparable to, if not greater than, those before the dramatic reductions, despite having fewer species and frequently switching the diet to macroinvertebrates. Some endangered cichlid species in Lake Victoria have “insurance” populations in public aquariums, zoos, and among private aquarists, whereas others are extinct in the wild (only exist in captivity).
Approximately 90% of the indigenous fish species inhabiting the lake were haplochromines before the widespread extinction of the lake’s cichlids in the past 50 years. The only native Victoria cichlids are two severely endangered tilapia, the ngege or Singida tilapia (Oreochromis esculentus) and the Victoria tilapia (Oreochromis variabilis).
Michael Graham performed the first systematic Fisheries Survey of Lake Victoria in 1927 -1928. Graham noted in his official expedition report that “The most important food fish in the lake, whether for native or non-native eating, is the satu or ngege Tilapia esculenta. In terms of meat quality, no other fish compares. It travels well, has a convenient size for trading, and is found in far higher quantities than other significant fish like semutundu (Luganda), Bagrus sp “.. Graham also remarked that the introduction of European flax gill net with a five-inch mesh has certainly reduced the quantity of ngege in areas like the Kavirondo Gulf, the Sesse Islands, the northern coast of the lake, and Smith’s Sound that are near markets. Haplochromis flavipinnis, H.gowersii, H.longirostris, H.macrognathus, H.michaeli, H.prognathus, and H.nigrescens were among the Haplochromis species caught during the survey in 1927-28.
Other than the introduction of Nile Perch, the eutrophication of the lake has also led to the extinction of cichlids of the genus Haplochromis has been blamed on the lake’s eutrophication, as well as the introduction of Nile Perch. The pace at which nutrients are incorporated into the solution determines the fertility of these tropical waters. Lake Victoria’s influent rivers give the lake a little number of nutrients in comparison to its size. As a result, the majority of the lake’s nutrients are believed to be locked up in deposits at the bottom of the lake. The vegetative matter decomposes slowly on its own. Animal flesh decomposes a lot quicker than plant matter, the lake’s fertility is determined by the pace at which the nutrients can be absorbed by fish and other creatures. Haplochromis undoubtedly had a significant role in reintroducing plankton and detritus into a solution. With 80% of Haplochromis species surviving on detritus and equally able to feed on each another, they formed a tight internal recycling system that moved biomass and nutrients horizontally and vertically within the water column, and in some instances, out of the lake through predation by terrestrial animals and humans. However, the elimination of Haplochromis may have led to an increase in the rate of algal blooms, which may be to blame for catastrophic fish extinctions.
Other Types of Fish
Some ni-cichlid indigenous fish include cyprinids (Xenobarbus, Rastrineobola, Labeobarbus, Labeo, Garra, and Enteromius), African tetras (Brycinus), airbreathing catfish (Xenoclarius, Clarius, and Clariallabes), loach catfish(Zaireichthys and Amphilius),Syndotis squeker catfish, bagrid catfish (Bagrus), silver butter cat (Schilbe Intermeduis), marbled lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus), Ctenopoma muriei the climbing gourami, elephant fish (Pollimyrus, Petrocephalus, Mormyrus, Marcusenius, Hippopotamyrus, and Gnathinemus), Mastacembelus frenatus the spiny eel, poecilids (Micropanchax and Aplocheilichthys), and Nothobranchius Killifish.
Most of these species are found across Africa, but the exceedingly uncommon Xenoclarias and Xenobarbus are unique to the lake, while the Rastrineobola, which is more common is near-endemic.
Lake Vitoria has four known species of freshwater crabs: Potamonautes niloticus, which is common in the lake, and Potamonautes emini, which has been documented near Bukoba, Tanzania, are both found in other regions in Africa. Potamonautes Entebbe has only been recorded from close to Entebbe (the sole recorded specimen was documented in 1955, and it is unclear if it was from or close to the lake), and Potamonautes busungwe is only known from Busungwe Island to the northwest of the lake. Having a carapace width of about 1.6 centimeters (0.6 inches), the latter is possibly the smallest freshwater crab in Africa, even though Potamonautes kantsyore of River Kagera and Platythelphusa maculata and Platythelpus polita from Lake Tanganyika are nearly as tiny.
Caridina nilotica, a common and ubiquitous shrimp/prawn in Lake Victoria, is the only shrimp/prawn.
Melanoides, Gabbiella, Cleopatra, Bulinus, Biompharia, and Bellamya, Biomphalaria are among the 28 freshwater snail species found in Lake Victoria, of which 12 of them are indigenous. Bivalves are found in 17 different species (Byssanodonta, sphaerium, Coelatura, and Corbicula), including six endemic species and subspecies. Unknown snail species are likely to exist. Genetic studies, on the other hand, suggest that certain morphologically different populations, once thought to be distinct species, may really represent variations of a single species. Bulinus and Biomphalaria are two snail genera that serve as intermediate hosts for the bilharzia parasite (schistosomiasis). At Lake Victoria, this parasite infects humans often. The expansion of the invasive water hyacinth (an ideal snail habitat), as well as the extinction of numerous snail-eating, may contribute to this rise.
The jumping spider Evarcha culicivora (family Salticidae) is exclusively found in Uganda near Lake Victoria. Female mosquitos are its primary prey.
Africa’s greatest inland fishery is based on Lake Victoria (as of 1997). Originally, the fisheries focused on indigenous species such as haplochromine cichlids and tilapia, as well as catfish (silver butter catfish, Synodontis, Clarias, and Bagrus), ningu (Labeo victorianus), elephantfish, and marbled lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus). Overfishing has already reduced the populations of several of these species, such as ningu (Labeo victorianus) and tilapia, in the early half of the twentieth century. In the 1950s, Non-native Nile perch and tilapia were introduced to promote fishing on Lake Victoria. Despite this, natives remained dominant in fisheries up to the 1970s, when their decrease signified a dramatic shift towards the non-native Nile tilapia (currently accounting for 7% of captures), non-native Nile perch, and native Lake Victoria sardine (60 and 30 percent respectively). The plentiful open-water Lake Victoria sardine supported only tiny fisheries due to its small size until the decrease of other native species. Annually, 500,000 tonnes of Nile perch were landed in Lake Victoria during the peak in the early 1990s, although this number has since dropped substantially.
The entire extinction of many indigenous cichlid species has been termed the “most drastic example of extinctions caused by humans in an ecosystem” due to a multitude of environmental concerns linked to Lake Victoria.
Numerous species have been brought to Lake Victoria since the 1950s, becoming invasive and causing the extinction of several endemic haplochromine cichlids. Coptodon rendalli Redbreast, C. zillii redbelly, Oreochromis niloticus Nile, and O. leucostictus blue-spotted tilapias are some of the newly introduced species. The most infamous import was the huge and very carnivorous Lates niloticus Nile perch, which outcompeted the native species and perhaps hybridized with the critically vulnerable native tilapias as seen with the Nile Tilapia.
A big pelagic predator like the Nile perch was recommended from the 1920s to boost the lake’s fisheries. However, it was cautioned that this might pose a severe threat to native fish species, necessitating considerable investigation into the potential environmental consequences before proceeding. The smaller haplochromine cichlids (although important to the local fisheries) were considered “junk fish” by the colonial administration, thus these cautions mostly applied to the O. esculentus, the native tilapia. The push to introduce the Nile perch persisted in the decades afterward, as did the cautions about the potential consequences. The Uganda Game and Fisheries Department (UGDF) (which was part of the colonial rule) and fish guards were responsible for the initial introduction of Nile perch, which took place upstream of Murchison Falls shortly after the Owen Falls Dam was completed in 1954. It was able to spread to Lake Kyoga in 1955, where more Nile perch were released, but not to lake Victoria. Scientists believed that further release should be delayed until a study on the effects in Kyoga was completed. However, Nile perch had begun to be collected in Lake Victoria by the late 1950s. There were few complaints when additional Nile perch were introduced to Victoria in 1962–63 to help boost the stock as the species was already present. The exact origins of the initial Victoria introductions in the 1950s are unclear, and there is no conclusive proof. Authorities from the UGFD denied involvement, although circumstantial evidence shows otherwise, and Africans employed by the UGFD claim that the species was introduced in 1954–55 on the orders of top officials. UGFD officials claimed that Nile perch moved to Lake Victoria on their own while the Owen Falls Dam was closed for repair, although many experts believe this is very improbable. By 1970, the Nile perch had colonized the whole lake. The Nile perch population was initially modest, but it exploded and peaked in the 1980s, and then began to decline in the 1990s.
The natural equilibrium of the lake’s ecosystem has been disturbed by the Nile perch’s presence. The Nile perch’s indiscriminate feeding habits are disrupting the food chain and, in some cases, breaking it. The consequential decrease in the number of algae-eating fish has enabled the algae to spread at an alarming rate. As the algal population grows, so does the quantity of detritus (dead plant remains) that fall to the lake’s lower depths before decaying. The oxygen levels in the deeper layers of water are decreased as a result of this. Any aerobic species (for instance fish) cannot live in the deeper sections of the lake without oxygen, limiting all life to the shallower parts of the lake. The Nile perch has so damaged Lake Victoria’s formerly varied and vibrant ecology. Over thirty million persons in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania rely on the lake’s natural resources, in addition to the lake’s abundant aquatic life.
Hundreds of indigenous species have become extinct as a result of the unique circumstances provided by Lake Victoria’s protection, and many more are currently endangered. Their extinction would be catastrophic for the lake, and the disciplines of genetics, ecology, and evolution biology, as well as the nearby fisheries. Lungfish, catfish, carp, and tilapia, which make up the local cuisine, were formerly the mainstay of local fisheries. The yield and composition of these fish captures are almost non-existent today. Many fisheries have collapsed as a result of widespread fish kills, overfishing, habitat destruction and Nile perch and many protein sources are no longer available for local consumption on the market. However, few fisheries have successfully made the transition to collecting Nile perch since the switch demands a substantial amount of money.
Invasion by Water Hyacinths
In Lake Victoria, the water hyacinth has established itself as a prominent invasive plant species.
In the last 30 years, large quantities of untreated sewage and industrial and agricultural runoff have been dumped directly into Lake Victoria, significantly raising phosphorus and nitrogen levels in the lake and “triggering drastic proliferation of exotic water hyacinth, that colonized Lake Victoria in the latter part of the 1990s.”
This invasion of weed causes total oxygen deprivation in the lake leading to anoxic conditions, which prevent the decomposition of plant material subsequently increasing disease and toxicity levels in both humans and fish. Similarly, the plant’s web or mat creates a stumbling block for ferries and boats, restricts access to the coastline, hampers the generation of hydroelectric power, and blocks industries from taking up water. On the flip side, the plant’s mats can benefit fish life by providing a barrier to overfishing thus allowing for fish development; certain fish species thought to be extinct have even resurfaced as a result of their presence. However, the net effects of the plant on the lake still remain uncertain.
Since 1993, researchers have been tracking the water hyacinth’s growth in Lake Victoria, which peaked its biomass around 1997 before decreasing towards the end of 2001. More growth was seen in the lake’s northern half, in more sheltered regions, which might be related to weather patterns and current, as well as water and climatic conditions that are more conducive for plant growth (since there are big urban regions towards the northern end of the lake, especially in Uganda). The invasive plant was originally tried to be managed by hand, with the weed being manually removed from the lake; it, however, rapidly regrew. Exercises to raise public awareness were also held. More recently, natural insect predators, such as two distinct water hyacinth weevils, and huge chopping and harvesting boats, have been deployed, and appear to be considerably more efficient in eradicating the water hyacinth. In 2013, Kisumu County built a green power plant that uses collected water hyacinth (but can also use other degradable trash). Other than the biogas produced, the by-product can also be utilized as fertilizer.
Several other factors that might have led to the observed decline of hyacinth in the lake are variable weather patterns, for instance, the El Nio in the final months of 1997 and in 1998’s initial six months, may have helped to reduce the water hyacinth by raising the water levels in the lake, therefore, dislodging the water hyacinth. During the same time period, heavy rains and winds, as well as their following waves, may have harmed the plants. It is possible that the plants were just relocated rather than killed. Water quality, temperature, fertilizer availability, and other environmental variables might also have had an impact. Overall, all these factors may have played a role in the timing of the drop, and they may have been more effective collectively than any of them might have been on their own. The plant is in remission, and if management measures are maintained, this trend may be permanent.
Lake Victoria is mostly polluted by the inflow of raw sewage, the dumping of residential and industrial trash, and agriculture chemicals and fertilizer.
While the Lake Victoria basin is mostly rural, it does include a number of important population centers. Kisumu, Homabay, and Kisii in Kenya; Jinja, Entebbe, and Kampala in Uganda; and Musoma, Mwanza, and Bukoba in Tanzania are among the cities and towns that line its beaches. Many factories that dump chemicals straight into the lake or in its influent rivers are also located in these towns and cities. Small beaches and municipal governments near the lake have inadequate sewage treatment systems, enabling contaminants to enter the water. Large swaths of these cities also dump untreated wastewater into rivers, contributing to eutrophication and the spread of the invasive water hyacinth. Increased deforestation and logging have resulted in environmental deterioration throughout the region, lowering harmful chemical absorption and deteriorating the quality of water.
Lake Victoria has an environmental data repository from 2016. Shoreline, wind vector, temperature, pollution, bathymetry, and other essential data for both Lake Victoria and the broader Basin may be found in the repository.
Exploration and History
Arab traders traveling the inland roads in quest of ivory, gold, slaves, and other rare goods, were the first to record knowledge about Lake Victoria.
Lake Victoria existed and many Africans living in its catchment region knew about it long before its discovery in 1858 by a European, when John Speke Hanning, a British explorer, arrived at its southern coast while on a mission to find the Great Lakes and explore central Africa with Richard Burton Francis. Speke named it after Queen Victoria after being convinced he had discovered the Nile’s source when he first saw this “great stretch of open water.” Burton, who was suffering from sickness on the shores of Lake Tanganyika at the time, was enraged that Speke claimed to have proven his finding to be the actual source of River Nile, which Burton considered to be yet unsolved. A public squabble ensued, sparking not just significant debate within the scientific community at the time, but also a lot of interest from other explorers eager to confirm or reject Speke’s discoveries.
David Livingstone, a prominent Scottish missionary and explorer, failed when he attempted to verify John Speke’s findings in the late 1860s, instead of going west and venturing into the Congo River system instead. After going around the lake and reporting the huge outflow of water at Ripon Falls on the northern side of the lake, Henry Stanley Morton, a Welsh-American explorer, on an expedition financed by the newspaper New York Herald, proved the veracity of Speke’s finding.
Lake Victoria’s single outflow is at Jinja in Uganda, forming the Victoria Nile. Water has been drained through a natural rock weir since over 12,000 years ago. Engineers working for the administration of Colonial Uganda blew away the reservoir and weir in 1952, replacing it with an artificial barrage to regulate the lake’s level and prevent the rock weir from gradually eroding. The “accepted curve” was created as a benchmark for simulating the former rate of outflow, with the maximum flow rate ranging from 300 to 1,700 cubic meters per second depending on the water level of the lake.
With World Bank support, Uganda constructed a 2nd hydroelectric complex in the region, the Kiira Hydroelectric Power Station, in 2002. By 2006, Lake Victoria’s water levels had dropped to its lowest in 80-years, and Daniel Kull, a stand-alone hydrologist based in Nairobi in Kenya, calculated that the amount of water being released by Uganda was roughly twice the amount allowed in the agreement and that this was the primary cause of the lake’s recent drop in water level.
Victoria is the source of water for many cities and towns, as well as for farming and other purposes.
Lamadi Water Scheme
The Lamadi water system is a sanitation and water facility on the banks of Lake Victoria which serves Mwanza as well as the satellite towns of Musoma, Bukoba, Magu, Misumgwi, and Lamadi. The European Investment Bank launched the initiative in 2013 with the goal of maintaining the lake’s environmental health by providing better sanitation and water to the communities whose pollution contributes to the lake’s deterioration. The initiative seeks to offer clean drinking water to about one million people and better sanitation to another 100,000. Sand, which serves as a sieve, filters away suspended soils and sediment. After that, the water might be chlorinated or treated in some other way. Sand filtration, which is based on the utilization of the local environment, helps to minimize water-borne illnesses.
Lake Victoria ferries have been an essential mode of transport between Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania since the early 1900s. Kisumu, Jinja, Port Bell, Entebbe, Bukoba, and Mwanza are the principal ports of the lake. The MV Victoria, the newest and fastest ferry, was a designated Royal Mail Ship until 1963. With the introduction of the MV Umoja and MV Uhuru in 1966, train ferry services between Tanzania and Kenya were started. On May 21, 1996, MV Bukoba sank, killing between 800 to 1,000 people, making it one of the deadliest maritime catastrophes in Africa. Another catastrophe happened recently on September 20, 2018, when the Tanzanian MV Nyerere ferry capsized, killing over 200 passengers.
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