Lake Chala


Location: 8 km  North of Taveta Map

Durface area: 1.6 sq mi (4.2 sq km)

Length: 1.9 mi (3 km)

Width: 1.5 mi (2.4 km)

Max depth: 90 m (300 ft)

Lake Chala is situated 8 km north of Taveta on the border between Kenya and Tanzania on the Eastern side of Mount Kilimanjaro.


Description of Lake Chala

Lake Chala is surrounded by steep sides of the crater that surround it. Unlike other lake in Africa Lake Chala is not fed by rivers. Instead it gets its water from underground waters as well as melting waters from Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, across the border. The waters of the lake are beautiful and change their color from deep blue to turquoise throughout a year. However taking a swim here is not suggestible. For one lake Chala is inhabited by dwarf crocodiles that were introduced in the early 20th century. Don't be fooled by its size. It nevertheless big appetite and a Napoleonic complex. They have been known to attack and even kill humans. Kenyan government claimed that they hunted down and killed all the crocodiles in the area of Lake Chala, but it is still not advisable to trust the officials on the subject. Additionally lake Chala is home to Lake Chala tilapia (Oreochromis hunteri). This endemic cichlid fish is endemic to this body of water and is not found anywhere else. They are considered critically endangered and human presence doesn't help the situation.


The Lake Chala is a lake in a volcanic caldera on the border of Kenya and Tanzania, on the eastern edge of the Mount Kilimanjaro, in Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, and the Province Coast, Kenya. It is located about 50 km southeast of the top of Kilimanjaro, 8 km north of the town of Taveta, with 11,500 inhabitants and about 55 km east of Moshi, with 190,000 inhabitants.

Depending on the time of the year, the color of the lake varies from turquoise to light green. It has a quadrangular shape and the edge of the crater rises up to a hundred meters high on its wooded banks. It feeds on springs, some from Kilimanjaro and drains underground with annual losses of 10 million L. This causes the lake to lose volume. In the six years prior to 2011, it lost 2.4 m in height, but in that year it rose 1 m.

The lake is home to the endemic tilapia from Lake Chala Lake Chala Tilapia, considered critically endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species of IUCN.

At the beginning of the 20th century, crocodiles were introduced into the lake and in 2002 a woman was killed by one of them, a Crocodylus niloticus, while swimming. Since then, local fishermen have begun their eradication through hunting and poisoning, so that it is ignored if any remains.

This volcanic area is undergoing a rapid increase in tourism, so that on the Tanzanian side a camp has already been set up to camp and spend a few days on vacation.