Saturday, 18 June 2016

Lake Victoria

Africa is known for its incredible lakes, however Lake Victoria is the most famous. Named after Queen Victoria herself by John Speke himself in 1858. Also known as Victoria Nyanza this is the largest lake in Africa (about the size of Ireland), with an area of around 26,828 square mile (Its coastline exceeds 2,000 miles)! Lake Victoria is the largest tropical lake in the world and there is only one freshwater lake in the world that is bigger and that is Lake Superior in North America.

Due to the size of the lake it is part of different East African countries. It sits mainly in Tanzania but also Kenya and Uganda. (See below)

Being the main reservoir of the Nile it is filled with wildlife such as around 200 species of fish (like the Tilapia). Lake Victoria has very clear water and if you look just below the surface you will see an abundance of reefs and archipelagos. Within Lake Victoria there are around 84 islands known as the Ssese Group. These attract a high amount of tourists due to the beautiful views and the exotic wildlife.

Scientific studies have shown that in the past the lake has dried up completely. This could be due to the fact that approximately 80% of the lakes water comes from rain.

In 1996 (May 21st) a ferry known as the MV Bukoba sake in Lake Victoria. Around 1,000 people died in the accident making it one of the worst maritime disasters in Africa's history.

The lake is surrounded by many towns who use the lake as a dumping ground for sewage every day. Along with farm waste this is causing the lake to become very polluted. Another issue is a plant called Water Hyacinth. This plant is not native to Africa and was brought across from Europe. It is a fast growing plant and over the years has started to cover large parts of the lake blocking sunlight for life below the surface. Scientists worry that soon these issues could cause all life in the lake to go forever. 

Above shows a photograph of a lake covered in water hyacinth. 

Lake Victoria is stunning and definitely somewhere to visit on your trip to East Africa.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

East African Giraffes

The giraffe is the tallest animal on earth reaching up to 19ft 3inches (Male called George who lived at London Zoo). Many people know them for being tall and graceful but there are many things that you may not know.

Did you know that there are 9 different subspecies of giraffe and many of them have multiple names?

Reticulated or Somali Giraffe
Masai or Kilimanjaro Giraffe
Angolan or Smokey Giraffe
Kordofan Giraffe
Nubian Giraffe
South African Giraffe
Nigerian Giraffe 
Thornicroft Giraffe
Ugandan or Baringo Giraffe

Each of these subspecies has it's own qualities that are different from the others. For example if we compared the Masai Giraffe to the Somali Giraffe we get some interesting comparisons.

Masai: Males - 19 feet
            Females - 16 feet
Somali: Males - 18 feet
             Females - 17 feet

Masai: Jagged irregular star-shaped patches, buff coloured below the knee.
Somali: Large liver-coloured (sometimes reddish) patches, in a polygonal pattern outlined nicely by white lines. Unlike the Masai the pattern also covers the legs.

Masai Giraffe                                                           Somali Giraffe

As you can see from the above photos, visually they are very different. Like humans, giraffes are all unique and no two giraffes have the same markings. This can be used to identify individuals.

These particular giraffes used to be found across all of Africa however due to deforestation and their loss of habitat they are now only found in East Africa.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

New Writer!

Hello everyone! My name is Hannah and I am the new writer for Tailor Safaris. I will be writing about animals, so anything you want to know, just ask! :)

Thursday, 9 June 2016