Lake Edward is located 0°20′S 29°36′E covering about 2,325 km2 at an elevation of 912 m above sea level in Queen Elizabeth national Park. It is fed by Rivers from the surrounding areas including R. Nyamugasani, R. Ishasha, R. Rutshuru, R. Rwindi, R. Ntungwe and R. Lubilia. It is estimated to be about 17 m to 112m deep.
During the colonial era, it is said that Henry Morton Stanley first European who saw the lake in 1888, when he had come to Uganda on the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition. The lake was named in honour of Prince Edward, the Prince of Wales, son of then British-monarch Queen Victoria. In 1973, it was renamed Lake Idi Amin after Ugandan dictator Idi Amin but after his overthrow in 1979, it recovered its original name.
Its backdrop is dotted with the Rwenzori ranges that like about 20km away and the lake lies in the western arm of the Great Western Rift valley. It is estimated that there was volcanic activity that took place about 5000 years ago. It is thought that Lakes George and Edward have been joined as one larger lake in the past, but lava from these fields flowed in and divided it, leaving only the Kazinga Channel connecting the two ‘new’ created lakes.
The Katwe-Kikorongo and Bunyaruguru Volcanic Fields, with extensive cones and craters, lie either side of the Kazinga Channel on the north-west shore of the lake. The Katwe-Kikorongo field features dozens of large craters and cones covering an area of 30 km by 15 km between lakes Edward and George, and includes seven crater lakes. The largest of these Lake Katwe, occupies a crater 4 km across and is separated from Lake Edward by just 300 m of land. The crater is about 100 m deep, and Lake Katwe’s surface is about 40 m lower than Lake Edward’s. Stanley visited Lake Katwe in 1889 and noted the deep depression, the salinity of the lake, and a spring of sulphurous water nearby, but failed to connect this to volcanism. The similarly-sized Bunyaruguru field on the other side of the Kazinga Channel contains about 30 crater lakes, some larger than Katwe.
The lake has many species of fish, including populations of Bagrus docmac, Sarotherodon niloticus, Sarotherodon leucostictus, and over 50 species of Haplochromis and other haplochromine species, of which only 25 are formally described. Fishing is an important activity among local residents. Fauna living on the banks of the lake – including chimpanzees, elephants, crocodiles, and lions – are protected by the national parks. The area is also home to many perennial and migratory bird species.