Lake Chala

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Lake Chala
Dschalla
Lake Chala.jpg
Location Africa; at the border between Tanzania and Kenya
Coordinates 3°19′S 37°41′E / 3.317°S 37.683°E / -3.317; 37.683Coordinates: 3°19′S 37°41′E / 3.317°S 37.683°E / -3.317; 37.683
Primary inflows subsurface
Primary outflows subsurface
Catchment area 3.38 km2 (1.31 sq mi)
Basin countries Tanzania
Kenya
Max. length 3 km (1.9 mi)
Max. width 2.4 km (1.5 mi)
Surface area 4.2 km2 (1.6 sq mi)
Average depth 81 m (266 ft)
Max. depth 90 m (300 ft)
Water volume 0.34 km3 (0.082 cu mi)
Surface elevation 877 m (2,877 ft)

Lake Chala, also known as Dschalla,[1] is a crater lake in a caldera[2] on the borders of Tanzania and Kenya on the eastern edge of Mount Kilimanjaro, not far from the town of Moshi and 8 km north of Taveta. Depending on the time of year, it ranges in colour from deep blue to turquoise and green, it is surrounded by a 100 metres high crater rim. The lake is fed by groundwater flows, which come from Mount Kilimanjaro, fed and drained under ground with a rate of about 10 million m³ / year.[3] Even the Chala loses volume. Its level had dropped in the last 6 years, by 2.4 metres, at the start of 2011 the water level has risen again by over 1 metre.

The lake is home to the endemic Lake Chala tilapia (Oreochromis hunteri),[4] which is now considered Critically Endangered on the IUCN red list of threatened species[5]

Crocodiles were introduced to Lake Chala in the early 1900s, and in 2002, a woman was killed by a rare Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) while swimming in the lake.[6] Since then the local fishermen, tired of having their nets ripped to pieces, started an eradication programme by shooting and poisoning. It is doubtful if any crocodiles remain in the lake today.[7]

This stunning volcanic area is rapidly growing in tourism and it is now possible to stay at Lake Chala at the new camp[8] on the Tanzanian side.

Aerial Photo of Lake Chala

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