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Lake Natron In Tanzania

Lake Natron in Tanzania is a highly inhospitable environment, with alkalinity levels above pH 12 and temperatures reaching 60 °C. The pinkish waters of the lake are the sole reliable breeding ground for 2.5 million lesser flamingos in all of East Africa. These intriguing animals have adapted to the lake’s high salt content, which provides a safe breeding ground free of natural enemies.

Lake Natron is located north of the Ngorongoro Crater and east of the Tanzanian border with Kenya. Ol Doinyo Lengai, an active volcano located south of Lake Natron, is the dominant feature of the area.

Lake’s maximum dimensions are 56 km in length and 22 km in width. Most of Lake Natron’s water comes from the mineral-rich hot springs and the Southern Ewaso Ng’iro River.

Evaporation is high because water cannot drain from the lake, and the byproducts are natron (sodium carbonate decahydrate) and trona (sodium sesquicarbonate dihydrate).

The lake’s high natron content makes it extremely alkaline, making it one of the most toxic places on Earth. In spite of its unsettling proximity to a potentially lethal body of water, the area is teeming with unusual plant and animal species.


Away from civilization, wild, and alone you can find Lake Natron in northeast Tanzania, between the Serengeti plains and the Ngorongoro Highlands.

It is estimated that 2.5 million lesser flamingos use Lake Natron in East Africa as their major nesting habitat. The red tint of Lake Natron is caused by the presence of salt-loving microorganisms that are able to thrive in the lake’s extremely salty environment. Thousands of flamingos call these alkaline waters home since algae is the only food source available.

The flamingos performed magnificently, marching in perfect line with their proud heads held high. Observing them eat while holding their bills upside down is a fascinating sight.

Although Lake Natron in Tanzania is one of Africa’s most peaceful lakes, it is also the setting for some of the most surreal photographs ever taken, in which animals appear to have been transformed into statuestopi.

Lake Natron is home to extremely alkaline water, with a pH that can reach 10.5. This water is so strong that it can cause severe damage to the skin and eyes of animals that aren’t used to it. The alkalinity of the lake’s water is a result of the sodium carbonate and other minerals that seep down from the hills and into the lake. Animals that meet their untimely demise in Lake Natron are preserved wonderfully thanks to the presence of sodium carbonate deposits, the same substance employed in Egyptian mummification.


Exciting information about Lake Natron in 6 easy points

In order to impress your friends and family, consider passing along the following information.

  1. Spectral Rain

There is only about 400 millimeters of rain that falls annually on Lake Natron, and much of that is “phantom rain” that evaporates before reaching the lake. This is due to the lake’s location in a desert.

      2. A lake fed by a volcano

Due to its lack of drains, the lake relies on occasional streams and springs for its water supply. The water in the lake is extremely alkaline because it has leached through the volcanic material of adjacent Mt. Ol Doinyo Lengai.
There’s something noxious in the lake’s water, which is a major problem.

Large quantities of salt, soda, and magnesite can be found in Lake Natron. It’s ideal for the growth of bacteria that poisons the digestive systems of everything that drinks it.

3.  Flamingos succeed when other animals fail.

The bacterium in Lake Natron that kills most bird species has little effect on flamingos. The lake is the world’s most important breeding site for lesser flamingos.

5. The water color can change to red.

Because of the algae that flourish in Lake Natron’s hypersaline environment, the lake’s water can take on a reddish or orange hue. Even astronauts have reported seeing a reddish hue in the ocean.

6. The lake temperature is rather high.

During the summer, the lake can reach temperatures of 60 °C (140 °F) or higher! On its eastern coast, you’ll find some hot springs.
Overlooking Lake Natron and its abundant birdlife is the snow-capped peak of Mt. Ol Doinyo Lengai.

Overlooking Lake Natron and its abundant birdlife is the snow-capped peak of Mt. Ol Doinyo Lengai.
For what sinister reason does Lake Natron carry such a high death toll?

A large number of cyanobacteria can be found in Lake Natron’s water. Almost all species that ingest this algae suffer damage to their cells, nervous systems, and livers due to the toxin it secretes. As a result, a great deal of wildlife that comes to Lake Natron for water ends up dying there.

Calcification turns the bodies of aquatic animals, birds, and bats into mummies. Many of these creatures have been photographed by the great artist Nick Brandt, who has posed them in convincing settings. Petrified is the name of his book series.


Why is Lake Natron red?

There are times when the lake turns a vibrant crimson or orange color. An algal species is responsible for the hues.

Soda lakes are known for the “algae blooms” they produce, which are caused by a specific strain of bacteria. Lake Natron’s red color is not constant since algal blooms cause the lake to change color frequently. The lake’s rim frequently takes on a more orange hue than a red one.

  • There are also pinks

Only individuals who have never spent any significant time in a desert environment have this misconception. Given that in actuality, nearly every desert is bathed in a rainbow of hues, this statement rings true. The area around Lake Natron glows a fiery red and pink.

One of the lake’s selling points is its rich red algae, but there are other benefits, too.

  • Scarlet robes are a cultural staple for the local Maasai populations.
  • Beautiful deep pink blossoms can be found on the local desert rose trees.
  • Large flocks of pink and white flamingos congregate in the lake in dense colonies.
  • Parts of the lake are covered in a craggy coating of pinkish-white soda crystals during the summer.
  • Pink and crimson sunsets, unique to deserts, are a common sight in the southwestern sky.