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Destination Details

Lake Natron, Tanzania

Lake Natron is a saline lake located in Northern Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border, in Tanzania's Great Rift Valley. Lake Natron is a fascinating, almost surreal location. Due to salt-loving microorganisms that live in the alkali salt crust of the lake's surface, the lake is often red or pink in colour. The lake is also the only breeding site for 2.5 million lesser flamingoes, because the caustic environment is a barrier against predators trying to reach the flamingoes' nests.

Though you may see some wildlife, really visit this area for its remoteness and scenery. That said, the lake itself is home to a fascinating eco-system which thrives in this harsh environment. The lake is full of millions of Cyanobacteria - a salt loving micro organism which create their own food through photosynthesis. As the lake increases in salinity, so does the population of bacteria. The lake also supports a vast population of Spirulina, a blue-green algae with red pigments, on which the large population of Lesser Flamingoes feed on.

Activities in the Lake Natron area focus mainly on walks. You can walk out across the baked mud to the shores of the great soda lake itself, in which algae and zooplankton thrive – which in turn attract the flamingos that line the lake's shore. Look back at the mesmerising view of Oldoinyo Lengai volcano – standing tall in amongst rolling hills and flat plains. Its ash-grey colour and smoking top remind you that this is still very much active.

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