The Lake Chala Entrance Fee is a caldera lake formed 250,000 years ago in eastern Tanzania near Taveta, a border town with Kenya. It is the deepest inland lake in Tanzania, carved into the ancient rock and fed by underground water from Kilimanjaro.
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Lake Chala legends and myths abound in this region, including a story about a Maasai village that disappeared into the lake. It is a quiet site away from the crowds of tourists that offers a sense of connection with nature.
Seasonally, the lake’s color can be deep blue, turquoise, or green. It has a unique flora. Among the 200 species of birds are birds of prey, baboons, dik-diks, kudus, pythons, lizards, and possibly migrant elephants.
- Moshi – Lake Chala day trip
- Non-game viewing travel time: one hour
- Moshi is 55 km away
Meet our naturalist guide/driver at the lodge. He will deliver a short safari information briefing, then we will drive to Lake Chala. Choose from nature bush walks, canoeing on the lake, fishing, or swimming in the lake.
The bushwalk should last between 2 and 4 hours, depending on your pace. By going down a rocky gulley formation, you can reach the water. Kilimanjaro is visible in the background.
If it is clear, we can have lunch at Lake Chala Lodge with a spectacular view of the lake and Kilimanjaro.
Canoeing and fishing are both hour-long activities. The specific Lake Chala tilapia can be caught, but it must be released since it is an endangered species. If you are not an experienced swimmer, it is not recommended to swim far from the shore.
If you are not a strong swimmer, it is recommended to stay close to the shore of Lake Chala. Despite the fact that there are no dangerous aquatic creatures in the lake, the drop-off at the bottom of the lake is a warning.
The driver will take you back to the lodge for your next adventure.
Lake Chala Entrance Fee: A Geographical History
Lake Chala lies 30 kilometers southeast of Kilimanjaro (52 kilometers from Moshi) and is 95 meters deep, making it deeper than Lake Victoria. The caldera is believed to be the result of the first volcanic eruption some three-quarters of a million years ago. According to recent geological research, a magma chamber under Lake Chala collapsed after nearby volcanoes erupted, which created the crater lake.
The Kilimanjaro massif was formed by the great eruptions that caused the Great Rift, a major fault in the earth’s crust that runs through East Africa.
As molten lava burst through the fractured surface of the land, huge pressures pushed part of the Earth’s crust upward, forming the Shira volcano, one of the oldest volcanoes of Kilimanjaro.
Mawenzi formed after Shira’s extinction after another eruption within Shira’s caldera. Some of Mawenzi’s volcanic shape remains today.
A volcanic eruption 100,000 years later created Kilimanjaro’s characteristic shiny black stone, which poured from Kibo’s crater into Shira’s caldera and created the “Saddle”.
During later eruptions around Chala, a series of distinctive mini-cones, or parasitic craters, run south-east to northwest across the mountain.
Since Lake Chala Entrance Fee is entirely fed by underground streams from Kilimanjaro, its waters are usually clear. Chala feeds more than 30 kilometers away from Lake Jipe through its underground systems.
Due to a drop in water levels over the last few years, there have been concerns that one of the caves may have collapsed, or that the water from Kilimanjaro is no longer soaking down so deeply due to melting glaciers and reduced rainfall.
Among the first white women to visit eastern and central Africa was May French Sheldon (1847-1936), an explorer and best-selling author. A circumnavigating of Lake Chala, which lies inside a steep volcanic cone, attracted universal attention during her 1891 explorations.
Legends and Myths
1893, ‘POPULAR SCIENCE’
When Kilimanjaro erupted, the Masai lived in a village on the mountain where the crater lake now gurgles.
Their cattle and poultry were blown into the air, while their spirits are floating in space. While the wind still blows through the trees, the strange rustling sound caused by the reflection of the cliffs surrounding the lake is caused by their spirits.
This lake has a lot of fish, but the natives won’t eat them. The people of the same culture believe that their ancestors inhabit the bodies of Colobus monkeys, so they would never harm them.
Lake Chala still moans today. The wind may stop blowing on the savannah, but it continues to whip around the crater lake, bouncing off its walls like surf crashing onto a reef. Waves and wind patterns can produce white horses on the lake surface.
Although the lake is now accessible, much of the forest has been cleared, and the beliefs above are no longer valid, there is still superstition among the locals, and some refuse to go down to the lake.
SAFARI PACKAGE INCLUDES:
- Lunch at the Lake Chala Safari camp.
- Naturalist guide with experience in English.
- Transfers from and to your lodging.
- Park entry fees and 18% VAT
EXCLUDED FROM THE PACKAGE:
- Soft drinks and alcohol
- Tip (we recommend $20 per car per day)
- Kayaking 1 hour $5