Lake Chala

Lake Chala, also known as Lake Challa, is a crater lake[4] that straddles the border between Kenya and Tanzania. The lake formed approximately 250,000 years ago.[5] The lake is east of Mount Kilimanjaro, 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) north of Taveta, Kenya, and 55 kilometres (34 mi) east of Moshi, Tanzania. The lake is surrounded by a steep crater rim with a maximum height of 170 metres (560 ft).[3]

Lake Chala
Lake Challa
Lake Chala.jpg
Location of Lake Chala in Kenya.
Location of Lake Chala in Kenya.
Lake Chala
Location of Lake Chala in Kenya.
Location of Lake Chala in Kenya.
Lake Chala
LocationStraddles the border between Kenya and Tanzania in east Africa
Coordinates3°19′S 37°42′E / 3.317°S 37.700°E / -3.317; 37.700Coordinates: 3°19′S 37°42′E / 3.317°S 37.700°E / -3.317; 37.700
Primary inflowsSubsurface
Primary outflowsSubsurface
Catchment area1.38 to 1.43 square kilometres (0.53 to 0.55 sq mi)[1]
Basin countriesKenya
Surface area4.2 square kilometres (1.6 sq mi)[1][2]:215
4.5 square kilometres (1.7 sq mi)[3]
Max. depth98 metres (322 ft)[3]
Surface elevation880 metres (2,890 ft)[2]:215[3]

Lake Chala's average annual rainfall is about 565 millimetres (22.2 in).[2]:215 The lake surface has an average annual evaporation of near 1,735 millimetres (68.3 in).[2] Approximately 80 percent of the lake's inflow comes from groundwater, which is derived mostly from rainfall in the montane forest zone of Mount Kilimanjaro at an elevation of 1,800 to 2,800 metres (5,900 to 9,200 ft).[1] It takes about 3 months for groundwater to reach the lake.[2]:221 The groundwater flowed into the lake at an estimated annual volume of 8,390,000 cubic metres (296,000,000 cu ft) from 1964 through 1977.[6]


Aerial Photo of Lake Chala

The only native fish in this lake is the Lake Chala tilapia (Oreochromis hunteri), which is found nowhere else in the world.[7][8] It is considered critically endangered by the IUCN,[9] and now greatly outnumbered by other tilapia species that have been introduced to Lake Chala.[10][11]

An 18 year old British woman was killed in 2002 by a relatively small Nile crocodile while swimming at night in the lake.[12][13] A few days later, the Kenya Police Service said that the lake was "infested" with crocodiles while the Kenya Wildlife Service said, "Crocodiles are found in Lake Chala and it is not regarded as safe to swim at all."[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c L. K. Buckles; D. Verschuren; J. W. H. Weijers; C. Cocquyt; M. Blaauw; J. S. S. Damste (2016). "Interannual and (multi-)decadal variability in the sedimentary BIT index of Lake Challa, East Africa, over the past 2200 years: assessment of the precipitation proxy" (PDF). Climate of the Past. 12 (5): 1244. doi:10.5194/cp-12-1243-2016. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e J. Moemaut; D. Verschuren; F. Charlet; I. Kristen; M. Fagot; M. De Batist (13 January 2010). "The seismic-stratigraphic record of lake-level fluctuations in Lake Challa: Hydrological stability and change in equatorial East Africa over the last 140 kyr" (PDF). Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 290 (1–2): 214–223. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2009.12.023. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Christian Wolff; Iris Kristen-Jenny; Georg Schettler; Birgit Plessen; Hanno Meyer; Peter Dulski; Rudolf Naumann; Achim Brauer; Dirk Verschuren; Gerald H. Haug (2014). "Modern seasonality in Lake Challa (Kenya/Tanzania) and its sedimentary documentation in recent lake sediments" (PDF). Limnology and Oceanography. 59 (5): 1621. doi:10.4319/lo.2014.59.5.1621.
  4. ^ "Tanzania » Places Of Interest » Lake Chala". Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  5. ^ Jorunn Dieleman; Moritz Muschick; Wanja Dorothy Nyingi; Dirk Verschuren (4 April 2018). "Species integrity and origin of Oreochromis hunteri (Pisces: Cichlidae), endemic to crater Lake Chala (Kenya–Tanzania)" (PDF). Hydrobiologia. Advances in Cichlid Research III. 832: 12. doi:10.1007/s10750-018-3570-7. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  6. ^ B. R. Payne (1982). "Radioisotopes for the Estimation of the Water Balance of Lakes and Reservoirs" (PDF). Tracer Methods in Isotope Hydrology. International Atomic Energy Agency: 161. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Oreochromis hunteri". Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  8. ^ Dieleman, J.; M. Muschick; W.D. Nyingi; D. Verschuren (2019). "Species integrity and origin of Oreochromis hunteri (Pisces: Cichlidae), endemic to crater Lake Chala (Kenya–Tanzania)". Hydrobiologia. 832 (1): 269–282. doi:10.1007/s10750-018-3570-7.
  9. ^ "The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Oreochromis hunteri". International Union for Conservation of Nature. 2006. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  10. ^ Moser, F.N.; J.C. van Rijssel; B. Ngatunga; S. Mwaiko; O. Seehausen (2019). "The origin and future of an endangered crater lake endemic; phylogeography and ecology of Oreochromis hunteri and its invasive relatives" (PDF). Hydrobiologia. 832 (1): 283–296. doi:10.1007/s10750-018-3780-z.
  11. ^ Volkman, John K.; Smittenberg, Rienk H. (2017), "Lipid Biomarkers as Organic Geochemical Proxies for the Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction of Estuarine Environments", Applications of Paleoenvironmental Techniques in Estuarine Studies, Springer Netherlands, pp. 173–212, ISBN 978-94-024-0988-8, retrieved 2020-05-30
  12. ^ Adrian Blomfield (14 March 2002). "British girl 'killed by rare dwarf crocodile'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  13. ^ James Astill (12 March 2002). "Girl's body found in crocodile lake". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  14. ^ Nick Craven; Rebecca English. "Last words of crocodile death student". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 26 June 2018.