Lake Tanganyika Research : General Features
 General features
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   With an area of 32,900 km2, a maximum depth of 1,470 m, and a volume of 18,880 km3, Lake Tanganyika qualifies simultaneously as:

  • the largest of Africa's Great Rift Valley lakes, the second largest of all African lakes, and the fifth largest of the world's lakes;
  • the deepest of all African lakes and the second deepest lake in the world; and
  • by cubic size, the greatest single reservoir of fresh water on the continent and the second greatest in the world.
Entrenched within the Western Rift Valley between the countries of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia, the lake's surface lies at an altitude of 773 m and stretches in a generally north to south orientation between the narrow confines of the steep eastern and western escarpments of the Rift from 03° 20' 30'' S to 08° 48' 30'' S latitude. The lake averages almost 50 km in width and has a total length of 673 km. Mean depth is 570 m. Maximum depths are found in the 'deeps' of the major northern and southern basins (1,310 m and 1,470 m respectively), which may in turn be divided into the several sub-basins. Additional data on the allocation of surface area and shoreline frontage between each of the lacustrine states is provided [at right].

Characteristics of Lake Tanganyika   
Position:03° 20'-08° 48'S
29° 05'-31° 15'E
Altitude (m)773
Length (max) (km)650
Width (mean) (km)50
Area (km2)
  lake (less islands)
  divisions (km2 (%)):  
    Burundi 2,600 (08%)
    D R Congo 14,800 (45%)
    Tanzania 13,500 (41%)
    Zambia 2,000 (06%)
tributary area 198,400
 (excl. L. Kivu)
Shoreline (km)
  divisions (km (%))  
   Burundi 159 (09%)
   D R Congo 795 (43%)
   Tanzania 669 (37%)
   Zambia 205 (11%)
Depth (m)
Volume (km3)18,880

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