Lake Tanganyika is of great value and significance to Africa as it has many specialties. It is one among the Great Lakes of Africa. It is the longest freshwater lake in the whole world. After Lake Baikal, it is rated as the second largest of the freshwater lakes by volume and also the second deepest. Lake Tanganyika covers four major countries – Tanzania, Zambia, Burundi and Congo. It is to the Congo River system that the Lake Tanganyika flows into, finally reaching Atlantic Ocean.
The Lake Tanganyika is placed within the western rift of the Great Rift Valley and is bordered by the valley’s mountainous walls. The lake covers an area of 18,900 cubic kilometers with an approximate temperature of 25°C.
Main features of Lake Tanganyika are the enormous depth as well as its tropical location which prevents the ‘turnover’ of the water masses, due to which the lake’s lower depths is ‘fossil water’ and anoxic (deprived of oxygen). Ruzizi River is the main river which flows into the lake. The second largest river of Tanzania, the Malagarasi River enters Tanganyika from the east side.
Lake Tanganyika offers a major biological resource in studying the specialization regarding evolution. It is in the Pelagic zone that the largest species of fish is found. The Tanganyikan cichlid species and many more including the bright colored Tropheus have become endemic to the lake and are prized in the aquarium trade. This includes various other invertebrates like shrimps, jellyfishes, crabs, leeches, copepods and many more. The IUCN has been focusing Lake Tanganyika for a prominent Water and Nature initiative since 2004, trying to monitor the latest situation of the lake, to set a general condition that is acceptable regarding pollution, sediments and quality of water in general, thus paving way for the total protection this nature’s gift.