Gafencu’s Guide to the World’s Most Pristine Lakes

While beach resorts and seaside stays tend to top most travellers to-do lists, the world has plenty of lakes to give you an unforgettable experience too. Without further adieu, here are Gafencu’s top picks for the world’s most pristine lake to pay a visit to…

Lake Taupō

New Zealand

Photo by Adam Campbell

Spanning across some and reaching depths up to 186m, Lake Taupō is equivalent to the size of Singapore and ranks in as the second-largest freshwater lake in all of the Oceania region. Clearly giving travellers more than enough room for aquatic adventures – think kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing – the northern island to which it belongs is also New Zealand’s sky diving capital.

Those who prefer to gaze into its scenic waters rather than dip into them can also partake in a game of golf or try their swing to win NZD$10,000 Lake Taupo Hole in One Challenge which has been entertaining locals, tourists and visitors from across the globe for over 20 years now.

Lake Bow


Photo by Brendan Bombaci

Heading north to the world’s 51st parallel, one will find a true Canadian gem – Lake Bow. Situated in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, Bow is a relatively small lake spanning across only, with a 70m depth. While often overlooked for its sister Lake Louise, Bow, too gives nature lovers a tranquil spot to host a picnic or take a short stroll, while they marvel in its beauty.

With the rest of Banff National Park just a few minutes away by car, one could easily spend a whole day lake hopping, or taking advantage of the hiking trails that spread out across the park, before retiring back to town for a nightcap and star gazing.

Lake Bunyonyi


Photo by Rod Waddington

Travelling to East Africa, one would find Lake Bunyonyi to the south-western region of Uganda. Occupying a surface area of it is also one of the deepest lakes in the world – and the second deepest in Africa – with a rumoured depth of 900m. A true place of pride for Ugandans, Bunyonyi is featured on the 5,000 Ugandan shilling note and is one of the only bodies of water in the region free of bilharzia and safe for swimming.

Tourists have been known to opt for a day of canoeing to any of the lake’s 28 islands and visiting the pygmy families to truly immerse themselves in the local culture. Meanwhile, Bushara Island a visit is surely worth a visit as it offers luxury tents, chalets, and also campsites.

Lake Cañapa


Photo by Anthony Tong Lee

Hongkongers who are willing to endure the 38,624km-roundtrip to Bolivia would be well-advised not to overlook Lake Cañapa, an endorheic salt lake located in the desert of Siloli. Considerably smaller than the other listed lakes, Cañapa’s surface area is rather quaint at and has a depth of only 1m.  

Perhaps the most charming aspect of Lake Cañapa is its significant population of wildlife, particularly flamingos. Nature lovers can observe the birds as they peck at the salt larva within the gorgeous blue water. The distant volcanos have also been known to create a rather scenic background for couples travelling to the area.

Lake Baikal


Photo by Victoria Abrosimova

As the largest freshwater lake by volume in the world – containing 22–23% of the world’s fresh surface water – Lake Baikal is rightly a site to see. The rift lake can be found in southern Siberia, where it consumes a whopping 31, of surface area, while its depths have been reported to reach 1,642m. Rich in biodiversity, the lake is home to 1,000 plant species and over 2,500 animal species such as the Baikal seals, lemmings and reindeer.

Deemed to be one of Russia’s most amazing destinations – it was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1996 – the long-spanning distance of the lake allows one to visit remote areas and be at one with nature. However, with recent news reports that Russia is considering banning tourists from the area to preserve its ecosystem, it would be wise to pay it a visit before it’s too late.

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