Lake Natron in Tanzania a soda lake at the base of the active Ol Donyo Lengai volcano is a desolate place of lunar beauty. Its rare red color makes Lake Natron a very unique and beautiful destination, which attracts tourists for witnessing this unique lake and the Natron area, which provides spectacular sites from flats to escarpments, to volcanoes. The water in the lake is so alkaline that it can burn skin, making it inhospitable for most plants and animals. However, there’s one bird that has made this hellish place their paradise, Flamingos.
Besides, this exquisitic coloured lake also acts as a source of some of the most phantasmagorical event that creates a look as though living animals like swans, bats, vultures had instantly turned to stone which makes it a must visit place of Africa.
Dead stilled creatures
The water of lake Natron with a high alkaline water of pH as high as 10.5 because of the presence of sodium carbonate and other minerals that flow into the lake from the surrounding hills is so caustic that it burns the skin and eyes of animals that aren’t adapted to it. The deposits of sodium carbonate which was once used in Egyptian mummification also acts as a fantastic type of preservative for those animals unlucky enough to die to look stilled in the waters of Lake Natron.
The color of the lake varies from orange to red, to pink and is produced by the bacteria and other microorganisms. Surprisingly, this lake is a habitat for flamingos, that nest here and feed on red algae despite the alkaline water. It is a safe breeding place for these birds, since no predators come to this unfriendly terrain. During breeding season, more than 2 million lesser flamingos (Phoenicopterus minor) use the shallow lake as their primary breeding ground in Africa which attracts thousands of people during this season.
Given the extreme conditions of the breeding site, neither predators nor humans had disturbed the booming populations of flamingos.
Safari’s and Camps
Safari’s and camps are available for the tourists to get a glimpse of the adventure that nature has thrown in and around Natron. Walking trails around the lake are organized along with activities like rock climbing and a bit of mountain climbing. Walks around the lake and to the streams and waterfalls along the nearby escarpment make for a fantastic adventure off the beaten track. There are a number of campgrounds near the lake, which is also the base for climbing Ol Doinyo Lengai.