Tanzania: The Exceptional and Strange Lake Natron

Lake Natron appears at first glance to be the calmest lake on the African continent. Spanning an area of 1,040 km² and with a shallow depth of only three meters, the lake’s color amazes every curious onlooker who comes to behold it. However, appearances can be deceiving. Indeed, Lake Natron is both one of the most beautiful and one of the most dangerous lakes on our planet. Let’s delve deeper into this incredible natural site that stands out from any other.

Everything You Need to Know About This Unique Lake

Only lesser flamingos, a species of fish, and a few algae thrive in this extraordinary environment. These are the only species that survive when in contact with Lake Natron’s waters. As the name implies, this lake is rich in Natron, a mineral similar to salt, making it one of the few salt lakes on Earth. Like the Dead Sea, its water is lost only through evaporation. In Tanzania’s high temperatures, the lake dries up during the hottest season, allowing salt-hungry microorganisms to develop and impart the lake its red color. Additionally, the lake’s highly alkaline waters make swimming impossible for both humans and animals, which explains why charred animal remains are often found on its shores.

Millions of lesser flamingos flock to this surreal environment annually to breed. The microorganisms thriving in the lake contribute to the birds’ pinkish hue.

As you may have gathered, this destination is not suited for swimming or relaxation. However, it showcases nature’s diversity and beauty. Unfortunately, this place is under threat due to efforts to exploit the lake for its carbon and sodium reserves.

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flamingos, Lake natron, Tanzania
Credits: Flickr / Richard Mortel

An Interesting Tourist Attraction

If you’re planning a trip to Tanzania, don’t miss this one-of-a-kind location. In our opinion, it’s a must-see at least once in a lifetime! The best time to witness the red lake phenomenon is between January and February. Yet, this natural site remains incredible throughout the year.

Lake Natron and its vicinity are also popular among hikers and trekkers. The lake’s location and surrounding area offer ideal conditions for walking. On foot, you can access the most beautiful vantage points to observe the lake. If you visit at the right time, you’ll witness the lake’s striking red hue and the impressive number of flamingos. Additionally, you can visit the Ngare Sero waterfall, where you can swim and cool off during your excursion.

If you’re lucky, you might encounter some wildlife on the way to Lake Natron. Keep your eyes peeled for a chance to spot zebras, giraffes, or rhinoceroses.

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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