Lake Natron

The spectacular area of Lake Natron is located in the north east part of the Ngorongoro Crater, forming a part of the enormous Great Rift Valley of South Africa. It is in the northern part of Tanzania, close to the border of Kenya, that the Lake Natron, a complete salt lake located. The Lake is fed not only by the Ewaso N’giro River, but also by many hot springs rich in minerals. The lake is not much deep, less than even three meters, and its width varies depending on the water level, which gets changed frequently due to high evaporation levels, leaving high amounts of minerals and salts.

With its color, Lake Natron sends a sort of warning. This lake, which appears bright red, is the most caustic body of water in the whole world and that itself is the significance of this unique lake. Actually, the lake derives this red color from micro organisms, like cyanobacteria that are salt-loving, thriving in these alkaline waters. Just like plants do, they make their own food. It is the red pigment present in the cyanobacteria, which gives the deep red to the open part of the lake, and orange color to its shallow part.

The fresh water wet lands and the salt marshes in and around the edges of Lake Natron supports a variety of plants. The surrounding countries of Lake Natron receive irregular rainfall. Temperature in the lake can shoot up to 50 degrees Celsius. The high temperature and the highly saline nature of the lake do not give favorable environment for the survival of wild life.

Yet, Lake Natron is an important and apt habitat for the lesser flamingos, invertebrates, endemic algae and a few species of fish that can dwell in salty water. It is a regular breeding area in the whole of East Africa for the 2.5 million lesser flamingos who feel that the lake is a much secured place from their predators owing to the caustic environment that thoroughly acts as a barrier! So, for these beautiful flamingos and the red waters, one can surely enjoy a visit.