Located in Africa’s Great Rift Valley, Lake Victory is the world’s largest tropical lake at 26,560 square miles. With a maximum depth of 276 feet and an average depth of 131 feet Lake Victory is relatively shallow for its size. The lake is also relatively young; its current basin formed only 400,000 years ago when westward flowing rivers were dammed by a large section of the earth’s crust being thrust upward. Core samples taken from the lake bottom show that Lake Victory has completely dried up three times since its formation, scientists speculate that these drying cycles were most likely the result of past ice ages, times when precipitation declines globally.
Lake Victory last dried out approximately 17,300 years ago and filled again sometime around 14,700 years ago, a fact that causes some to question the existence of a monster which has been reported to live in the lake for centuries. Known to the locals as Lukwata, this carnivorous predator was first brought to international attention when Sir Clement Hill, his wife, and good friend T. Cox reportedly witnessed the creature while exploring near Mount Homa. Hill reported that a monster rose up from the lake and tried to grab the native look out from the prow of the steamer, it was the native’s cries for help which alerted Sir Clement to the scene. Hill’s description, though vague, noted the creature’s long neck and small head, the native called it Lukwata, the lake monster that attacks fisherman.
Some time in the 1940’s E. James Wayland, Ugandan Director of Geological Surveys, was reportedly given a fragment of bone from a Lukwata by a native of Kavirondo County, where belief in the creature is very strong. The natives of the area claim that the Lukwata is often involved in battles with its only real natural enemy, the crocodile. According to the natives, during these fights the Lukwata will occasionally lose pieces of its body in the form of bone fragments. These fragments are later collected by the natives and cherished as relics, believing that they contained magical powers.
The Lukwata is traditionally described as having a square shaped head and a body that resembled a dolphin’s, with a brownish skin pigment and a white underbelly. There are numerous Lake Victoria natives who believe that the Lukwata a gigantic, 12 foot long catfish, despite sightings which include the appearance of an elongated neck. The belief that a giant catfish could be the identity of the Lukwata is some what backed up by the fact that catfish are found in almost every body of water in the world and can grow to some amazing lengths, some species can get as big as 10 feet or more and weigh upwards of 800 pounds. Catfish are bottom feeders and the sheer size of Lake Victoria could easily support the dietary needs of a gigantic catfish.
Although no one really knows what is lurking in the waters of Lake Victoria, investigators into the phenomena have all but ruled out the existence of a prehistoric relic, the usual suspect in lake monster cases, due to the age of the lake. Other theories that have been suggested range from a giant fresh water eel to a gigantic 100 foot long anaconda. What we are left with are a hand full of theories with no scientific evidence to support any of them, leaving the imagination free to wonder just what is living in the vast expanses of the world’s largest tropical fresh water lake.
There is currently no evidence that would support the existence of a creature like the Lukwata in Lake Victoria, Africa.
Legend has it that a white hunter by the name of Grant, once claimed that while sailing across Lake Victoria he and his crew had an encounter with this terrifying beast, which resulted in the loss of one of his men.
Sir Clement Hill, his wife, and good friend T. Cox reportedly witnessed the Lukwata attacking their native look out during one of Hill’s expeditions to the lake.
The Stats – (Where applicable)
• Classification: Lake Monster
• Size: Sightings range from 12 to 100 feet in length
• Weight: Unknown
• Diet: Carnivorous
• Location: Lake Victoria, Africa
• Movement: Swimming
• Environment: Freshwater lake