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Tourists at Uganda Commonwealth and Speke Resort Munyonyo witnessed floating breakaway island

Runaway Island including residents drifts across Lake Victoria via Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda

Tony Ofungi, eTN Uganda  Aug 14, 2016

This weekend, guests at The Commonwealth and Speke Resort Munyonyo in the suburbs of Kampala were witnesses to an era that probably occurred 180 million years ago when Planet Earth’s crust was subjected to tectonic movements in the pre-pliocene age. .

Chefs and staff abandoned their stations to witness a floating island that had docked at the resort with all its residents before touching mainland at the beach area along the shores of Lake Victoria popular for weddings and domestic tourists.

Since breaking away from mainland the 20 acre island has been drifting with the wind for the last couple of years between Port Bell and Munyonyo at opposite ends of the lake attracting wide international media attention including ALJezeera and The BBC . It was initially colonized by a group of free spirited Rastafarians who hoisted the Ugandan flag and named it ‘Mirembe’ (Peace island) although another group ,probably the cultivators who moved with it as it broke off , named it ‘Jaja Magezi’ attributing it to spirits who have healing powers..

Whatever the name the island has become a tourist attraction giving brisk business to transporters who transport for tourists curious to discover this phenomenon. Initially , Police Marines uncertain of its stability blocked visits to the fearful that it may pause a danger to visitors due to soggy spots . Not everyone was happy with the island because it disrupted vessels from the Ports of Kisumu in Kenya and Mwanza in Tanzania . Fishermen on the lake have also complained of their nets drifting away with the island .

The Egyptian government has a permanent presence along the Nile basin states since the Lake is the lifeblood of the Nile. They sponsor a project under the Ministry of Agriculture to deal with suds.

Godgfrey Kamese from the Association of Professional Environmentalists who visited the island , expressed caution against visiting the island for fear of is sinking. It is speculated that the island broke away after heavy rains dislodged its loose surface held by tree roots.

Lake Victoria or Victoria Nyanza ( Nalubaale locally) is the largest of the African Great Lakes, the largest lake in Africa and the world’s second largest freshwater lake by surface area, after Lake Superior. It is crossed by the equator.

The lake has a surface area of 68,800 square kilometers (or 26,600 square miles), which also makes it the world’s largest tropical lake. By volume, the lake is the ninth largest continental lake in the world, boasting around 2,750 cubic kilometers of water. It is the main source of freshwater for the big rural population living in its vicinity. Together with Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert, it forms a reservoir of 3,200 cubic kilometers of freshwater.

Lake Victoria has a maximum depth of 84 meters (or 276 feet), with an average depth of 40 meters (or 130 feet). The lake’s catchment area covers 184,000 square kilometers (or 71,040 square miles), and it has a shoreline of 4,828 kilometers (3,000 miles). Islands contribute to 3.7% of the total shore length.

The lake is located in 3 countries: Kenya has 6% of the total area (4,100 square kilometers or 1,600 square miles), Uganda has 45% (31,000 square kilometers or 12,000 square miles), and Tanzania has 49% (33,700 square kilometers or 13,000 square miles

Runaway Island including residents drifts across Lake Victoria via Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda

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