Lakes and Rivers
Uganda is a well-watered country. Nearly one-fifth of
total area, or 44,000 square kilometers, is open water or
swampland. Four of East Africa's Great Lakes--Lake
Kyoga, Lake Albert, and Lake Edward--lie within Uganda or
borders. Lake Victoria dominates the southeastern corner
nation, with almost one-half of its
lying inside Ugandan territory. It is the second largest
freshwater lake in the world (after Lake Superior), and it
the upper waters of the Nile River, which is referred to
region as the Victoria Nile.
Lake Kyoga and the surrounding basin dominate central
Extensions of Lake Kyoga include Lake Kwania, Lake
Lake Opeta. These "finger lakes" are surrounded by
during rainy seasons. All lakes in the Lake Kyoga Basin
shallow, usually reaching a depth of only eight or nine
and Lake Opeta forms a separate lake during dry seasons.
the border with Zaire, Lake Albert, Lake Edward, and Lake
occupy troughs in the western Rift Valley.
Leaving Lake Victoria at Owen Falls, the Victoria Nile
descends as it travels toward the northwest. Widening to
Lake Kyoga, the Nile receives the Kafu River from the west
flowing north to Lake Albert. From Lake Albert, the Nile
as the Albert Nile as it travels roughly 200 kilometers to
Sudan border. In southern and western Uganda, geological
over several centuries has shifted drainage patterns. The
west of Lake Victoria is traversed by valleys that were
rivers carrying the waters of Lake Victoria into the Congo
system. The Katonga River flows westward from Lake
Lake George. Lake George and Lake Edward are connected by
Kizinga Channel. The Semliki River flows into Lake Edward
the north, where it drains parts of Zaire and forms a
the Uganda-Zaire border.
Spectacular waterfalls occur at Murchison (Kabalega)
the Victoria Nile River just east of Lake Albert. At the
narrowest point on the falls, the waters of the Nile pass
an opening barely seven meters wide. One of the
the Albert Nile, the Zoka River, drains the northwestern
of Uganda, a region still popularly known as the West Nile
although that name was not officially recognized in 1989.
major rivers include the Achwa River (called the Aswa in
in the north, the Pager River and the Dopeth-Okok River in
northeast, and the Mpologoma River, which drains into Lake
from the southeast.
Data as of December 1990