8 Most Popular Lakes In Nigeria

Lakes In Nigeria

Nigeria is home to a remarkable collection of lakes that are as varied as they are gorgeous, ranging from man-made lakes to crater lakes surrounded by green forests. Along with incredible ecological diversity and natural features, the nation is home to some of the oldest lakes in the world.

This article details the most well-known lakes in Nigeria, where they can be found, and the likely range of the ecosystem.

Lake vs. River: What Are the Differences?

The main distinctions between a lake and a river are the existence of boundaries, the type of water, and the creation process. Lakes are surrounded by land, including freshwater, saltwater, or brackish water, and can be either artificial or naturally occurring.

In contrast, rivers are surrounded by their banks, contain mostly freshwater, and are naturally occurring.

These distinguishing features highlight the most obvious distinctions between a lake and a river. To completely comprehend these various bodies of water, we also need to look at other factors.

Distinct Features of Lakes In Nigeria

  • The lakes are commonly found in mountainous areas and high northern latitudes, particularly those that were recently covered by glaciers.
  • Springs, rivers, drainage from the land, and direct precipitation are the primary sources of the lake water.
  • Currents and turbulence effectively transport light, heat, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the upper regions of lakes.

Since there are many more lakes scattered throughout the country that you might not be aware of, we’ve listed the most popular ones in Nigeria along with photos of them.

1. Lake Chad;

Most Popular Lakes In Nigeria

One of Nigeria’s most stunning lakes is Lake Chad. It has a sizable body of freshwater and is encircled by sand dunes that Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad share. Its size is approximately 17,000 km2 (measured at its peak after the rainy season). It is an endorheic lake that receives its primary nourishment from the Komadougou and Logone Chari streams.

Open water, polders, and temporary or permanent ponds, some of which are natron-rich, are just a few of the many wet zones found in this ecosystem. A unique feature of Lake Chad is its plethora of islands and small islets, many of which are inhabited by various tribes, among which are the Kotoko, Mouloui, Barma, Boulalan, Babalia, Kanembou, and Haoussa. 

2. Oguta Lake;

Most Popular Lakes In Nigeria

In the east bank floodplain of the Niger River, Lake Oguta drains into the River Orashi, a significant watercourse that directly carries floodwaters from the Niger River onto the Niger Delta. The three other water sources are the lakes Awhana, Utu, and Orashi, with the Njaba River as the primary inflowing river into Oguta Lake.

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Oguta Lake, in the southeast of Nigeria, is the biggest natural lake in the tropical rainforest of the Niger Delta. The lake is in a natural depression within the broad east-bank alluvial plain of the Niger River, downstream of Onitsha. 

The lake is vitally important to the people of Oguta, as it offers them a method of getting around, food, and money. The lake also supports the fisheries and tourism industry and acts as an outflow for sewage from cities.

3. Kainji Lake;

Most Popular Lakes In Nigeria

It goes without saying that Kainji Lake is one of Nigeria’s most beautiful lakes. Kainji Lake, a reservoir on the Niger River, is found along the Niger-Kebbi state border in western Nigeria. It was constructed in 1968 due to the construction of the 1,300 square km Kainji Dam and had a surface area of 500 square miles, and it is widely used for fishing and irrigation.

The Kainji Lake National Park, which covers an area of 2,062 square miles (5,341 square km), is home to several creatures, including baboons, duikers, hippopotamuses, hyenas, kobs, roans, and warthogs.

The Kainji Dam, the largest dam in Niger, was constructed in 1969; it is 215 feet (66 m) high and 1,800 feet (550 m) wide. In addition to improving river flow upstream to Yelwa in Kebbi state, the Kainji Dam provides water for farming and fishing and water management of the Niger River downstream to the junction of the Kaduna River and a road over the Niger.  

4. Iheneke Lake;

Most Popular Lakes In Nigeria

Iheneke Lake is a freshwater body of water with a surface area of around 5 square kilometers, and most of the vegetation around its borders are bamboo trees. This tropical lake is at its densest during the hottest months of the year, and it gets colder as the harmattan advances and is chilly during the rainy season. 

Iheneke, the second-most visited lake in Enugu, is an excellent place to stop and relax. You might observe animals in and around the lake, including crocodiles, pythons, and Guinea pigs. 

However, because the lake often changes its orientation, tourists can find it mesmerizing. For instance, the lake flows uphill in the morning, downhill in the midday, and remains still in the evening. 

5. Jabi Lake;

Most Popular Lakes In Nigeria

Jabi Lake is possibly the most famous lake in Abuja; this 1,300-hectare man-made lake was built to provide water to Abuja’s locals. After the Usuma Dam was built, it became a popular fishing and tourist destination.

One of Abuja’s most popular and well-known malls, the Jabi Lake Mall, is connected to the lake, which may be where the name for the mall came from, and it is accessible from the mall’s basement and ground floors. 

The lake provides a beautiful, picturesque riverside backdrop for the mall. The best view of the lake is from the balcony on the mall’s higher level.

Check out: Markets in Abuja

6. Nike Lake;

Most Popular Lakes In Nigeria

The most well-known lake in Enugu State and one of the most popular in Nigeria is Nike Lake, situated in Nike town in the Enugu East Local Government region of Enugu State.

As a result of the Nike Lake resort and hotel being constructed inside the lake environment and serving as an ideal location for leisure and picnicking, Nike Lake became well-known. 

In a lakeside setting, the well-known Nike Lake Resort and Hotel provide lodging in a stunning building with 216 international-standard air-conditioned rooms and suites. The hotel features the largest conference hall in Enugu, along with a fantastic restaurant, cocktail bar, lounge, and business center.

7. Ado Awaye Lake;

Lakes In Nigeria

On the Iyake Mountains, which encircle the peaceful hamlet of Ado Awaye, is where you’ll find the Ado Awaye Lake. A stairway with over 369 steps leads through a bush path before disappearing, forcing you to continue rising until you reach the mountain top, making the journey to the lake at the mountain’s summit not one for the faint of heart.  

The most well-known site in the mountains is Iyake Lake, which has a lake with a circular shape and water that is a shade of green. Nobody is certain of the lake’s depth, but according to the locals, some foreign tourists who tried to determine it perished in the process.

8. Agulu Lake;

Lakes In Nigeria

The expanse of water at Agulu Lake is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Anambra state, and it can be seen from the freshly constructed bridge by the previous governor Peter Obi. Fishing is prohibited in the lake, and as the inhabitants respect crocodiles, they cannot be killed. Turtles and crocodiles can be observed on the lake’s shoreline, soaking up the sun around noon.

Visitors can enjoy activities, excursions, and boat rides at Agulu Lake. The water is available in bottles during market hours, and conventional local doctors and their patients utilize it for various treatments. The lake also contributes to the local economy through the revenues made from tourists and prescription drug sales. 


Here are the top 8 lakes in Nigeria that are currently the most popular with tourists, and some of these lakes are close to stunning sights and exceptional resorts. These locations are worthwhile since they allow you to reenergize your spirit in a natural setting.

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Which lake in Nigeria is the largest?

Oguta Lake

How many major lakes are there in Nigeria?

In Nigeria, there are more than fifty lakes.

What Nigerian lake has the greatest depth?

Western Nigeria’s Kainji Lake is a reservoir on the Niger River that straddles the border between Kebbi and Niger states.

Which of the lakes in Nigeria is man-made?

Jabi Lake is a body of water produced by an artificial earthen dam that was initially built to supply water to Abuja, Nigeria.

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