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While not enough can be said about the famous Lake Tanganyika, it indeed remains one of Africa’s most hallowed and popular natural marvels. And marvellous it is. Undoubtedly, it is Burundi’s top attraction and would have scores of people flocking to it already if it hadn’t been for a decade-long civil war that crippled the country in every possible way. The basic facts are that Lake Tanganyika is the second longest freshwater lake on the planet and it is the second deepest by volume after the Lake of Siberia. The lake has ports in 3 other African countries – Zambia, Tanzania, and the Congo – and has its crystal clear waters contained in the majestic Great Rift Valley; it is said that its fresh alkaline water is the cleanest in the world.
The local Burundi population are heavily dependent on Lake Tanganyika as a source of income. Many of these people are fishermen by trade and scour the fish rich waters day and night in order to earn a living. Fortunately for them, the lake has over 500 species of fish living in it – the most common being a local plankton called dagaa – and all of these fish live above a depth of 600ft. Fishing isn’t just enjoyed by the locals; big game fishing is quite popular for visitors from neighbouring African countries as well as nations from abroad. Other species of fish that can be caught here include the likes of Perch, Tiger Fish, Salmon, and Catfish amongst others.
When it comes to recreation, the beaches of Lake Tanganyika are a major attraction. With stability and order returning to Burundi in 2005, many businessmen were quick to revive the hotel industry with a number of fine establishments built along the banks of the lake or in close proximity to it. From there, hotel guests could enjoy a number of beach bars as well as a myriad of water sports including surfing, scuba diving, canoeing, snorkelling, and boating. Furthermore, Lake Tanganyika has excellent bird watching opportunities and is terrific for hiking and camping.