The Lake Tanganyika is the second largest lake in Africa and the sixth largest and the second deepest lake in the world. It is located in the states Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Zambia and Burundi.
The lake is located in the western part of the Great Rift Valley and is bounded by its walls, including the Central African Threshold, which borders on its western side. Lake Tanganyika covers 673 km in a north-south direction with an average width of 50 km and covers an area of 32,893 qkm. In terms of area, it is the largest rift valley lake in Africa, and at the same time the second largest of the entire continent. It has the largest freshwater resource in Africa with 18,880 qkm volume and the second largest in the world after Lake Baikal. The lake, whose surface is 782 meters above sea level, is 570 meters deep on average, with a maximum depth of 1470 meters in the northern part , making it the deepest lake in Africa. Thus, the bottom of the second deepest lake in the world is located 688 meters below sea level, giving the world s fourth deepest cryptodepression after Lake Baikal, the Caspian Sea, and the Dead Sea . Its enormous depth also means that it is in the deeper layers of the lake to fossil water.
The World Conservation Union IUCN describes this long-term lake as the most species-rich place in the world. For example, the lake is home to a remarkable variety of fish species over 300 species of which 95 are endemic. As in Lake Malawi, cichlids dominate, which, as secondary freshwater fish, have been able to adapt best to the lake s high concentration of minerals. In addition, there are, among others, Nile fish, carp fish, salmon, two species of herring, barbel, catfish, glass catfish, gill catfish, burbot, a species of electric catfish, four species of giant perch, two tooth decoys, spiny eels, two species of razorfish and one species of African lungfish in the lake.
Nile crocodiles live on the banks in some regions. Among invertebrates, the lake contains various species of crabs, annelids, snails, clams, freshwater jellyfish and sponges. Below a depth of 200 meters, the water of the Lake Tanganyika is almost without oxygen anaerobic and without higher life because of the lack of water circulation.
The lake has always been a significant source of food for the local people. About 45,000 people live off fishing, feeding about one million people. Numerous cichlids are exported as ornamental fish.
The only large passenger ship on Lake Tanganyika is the Liemba, which provides important services for the people around the lake and for the transport of goods. Since Kigoma in Tanzania, Bujumbura in Burundi and Mpulungu in Zambia are the only ports on the lake, the loading and unloading of goods and passengers usually takes place with boats on the lake. The Liemba was originally called Graf Goetzen and was built at the Meyer shipyard in Papenburg, Emsland shortly before the First World War. After being dismantled there and packed in 5000 boxes, the steamship was transported from 1913 to 1914 with overseas steamers to Dar es Salaam and then with the then Mittellandbahn also East African Central Railway, today Tanganyika Railway through German East Africa. At the destination, the ship was rebuilt on the shores of the lake under the direction of three German employees of the Meyer shipyard.
1974-75 the shipyard Germersheim am Rhein built a cargo ship the Lukuga, hull number 697 and a tug the Zongwe , hull number 698 for operation on the lake, which in Germany in parts for the tug, for example. in more than 100 sections were prefabricated and assembled on site.