Lake George covers a total surface area of 250 square kilometers (97 sq mi) and is a part of Africa’s great Lakes system, although not itself considered one of the great Lakes. Like the other Lakes in the region, it was named after a member of the British royal family, in this case Prince George, later to become King George v of the United Kingdom. Lake George drains to the southwest into Lake Edward through the Kazinga channel.

Explorer Henry M. Stanley was the first European to see the Lake in 1875, after following the course of the Katonga River from Lake Victoria. Thinking it was part of Lake Albert, he named it Beatrice gulf. On his second visit in 1889, he realized that there were two independent Lakes, and gave it its current name.