Lake Albert is located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was formerly known as Lake Mobutu Sese Seko after the then Congolese president, also locally known as Mwitanzige by the Banyoro and Batooro. In 1864, the explorers Samuel Baker and Sass Flora found the lake and renamed it after Prince Albert. Lake Albert is Africa’s seventh-largest lake by volume. It is about 160 kilometers long and 30 kilometers wide with a maximum depth of 51 m and a surface elevation of 619meters above sea level.
The Victoria Nile and the Semliki River are the main sources of Lake Albert. The water of the Victoria Nile is much less saline than that of Lake Albert. Its outlet, at the northernmost tip of the lake, is the Albert Nile which becomes known as the Mountain Nile when it enters South Sudan. At the southern end of the Lake where the Semliki comes in, there are swamps. Further south looms the Rwenzori Range while a range of hills called the Blue Mountains tower over the northwestern shore. The few settlements along the shore include Butiaba and Pakwach.
During the colonial era, the British planned shipping on Lake Albert as part of a network of railway, river steamer and lake steamer services linking British interests in Egypt, East Africa and southern Africa. The John 1. Thornycroft and Company shipyard at Woolston Hampshire built the carge and passenger ship SS Robert Coryndon for this purpose in 1930. She was named after the British Army officer Robert Thorne Coryndon who was governor of Uganda in 1918-22. Winston Churchill described the ship as “the best library afloat” and Ernest Hemingway called her “magnificence on water”.
Heritage Oil and Tullow Oil announced the major oil finds in the Lake Albert basin with estimates that the multi-billion-barrel field will prove to be on shore field found in sub-saharan Africa for more than twenty years.