Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes. The lake was named after Queen Victoria by the explorer John Hanning Speke, the first Briton to document it. Speke accomplished this in 1858, while on an expedition with Richard Francis Burton to locate the source of the Nile River.
With a surface area of approximately 68,800 square kilometres (26,600 sq mi), Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake by area, the world’s largest tropical lake, and the world’s second-largest freshwater lake by surface area, after Lake Superior in North America. In terms of volume, Lake Victoria is the world’s ninth-largest continental lake, containing about 2,750 cubic kilometres (2.23×109 acre·ft) of water.
Lake Victoria receives its water primarily from direct rainfall and thousands of small streams. The Kagera River is the largest river flowing into this lake, with its mouth on the lake’s western shore. Lake Victoria is drained solely by the Nile River near Jinja, Uganda, on the lake’s northern shore.
Lake Victoria occupies a shallow depression in Africa. The lake has a maximum depth of 84 metres (276 ft) and an average depth of 40 metres (130 ft). Its catchment area covers 184,000 square kilometres (71,000 sq mi). The lake has a shoreline of 7,142 kilometres (4,438 mi) when digitized at the 1:25,000 level, with islands constituting 3.7 per cent of this length, and is divided among three countries: Kenya (6 per cent or 4,100 square kilometres or 1,600 square miles), Uganda (45 per cent or 31,000 square kilometres or 12,000 square miles), and Tanzania (49 per cent or 33,700 square kilometres or 13,000 square miles).