Lake Natron: Tanzania’s beautiful and deadly red lake
Lake Natron, found in a dry, northern part of Tanzania, is like no other lake you’ve ever seen or heard about. Or perhaps even imagined. Why? Well, for starters, parts of it sometimes turn red! And we bet you’ve never seen a red lake before. 😀
Where is Lake Natron?
The perfect addition to a Tanzania safari
We love the exciting hikes on offer in the Lake Natron region, as these can turn a safari holiday into a really active holiday as well.
6 amazing Lake Natron facts
1. Phantom rain
2. A volcano-fed lake
3. The lake's water is poisonous
4. Flamingoes thrive where others perish
5. The water sometimes turns red
6. The lake is really hot
Why is Lake Natron deadly?
Natron is hydrated sodium carbonate, and Lake Natron has a high level of sodium carbonate, hence its name.
Why is Lake Natron red?
The local Maasai communities have a tradition of wearing scarlet robes The indigenous desert rose trees found in the area have gorgeous, deep pink blooms The lake supports enormous, crowded stands of pink-and-white flamingoes In summer, pinkish white soda crystals form a cracked crust over parts of the lake The pink-and-red sunsets that only deserts can produce often crown the sky
Mt Ol Doinyo Lengai
The name Ol Doinyo Lengai means "Mountain of God" in the Maasai language.
Mt Ol Doinyo Lengai is one of East Africa’s most challenging one-day climbs!
Lake Natron flamingoes
To see swathes of the lake turn pink from the sheer enormity of the colony of flamingoes spread across its surface is an incredible sight!
An important lesser flamingo breeding ground
Lake Natron is the largest breeding ground in the world for lesser flamingoes.
Lake Natron birds
common ostrich marabou stork kori bustard (Africa's largest flying bird) secretary bird (a top-heavy bird of prey) bateleur (an orange-beaked eagle) white-back vulture chestnut-banded plover (gorgeous)
Lake Natron animals
zebras giraffes wildebeests gazelles golden jackals fringe-eared oryxes lesser kudus gerenuks dromedary camels
There are actually camels in the Lake Natron region. They were introduced in the area to replace donkeys. You occasionally see some herded by Maasai.
The Maasai of Lake Natron
Supporting the local economy
Ngare Sero Waterfall hike
Ngare Sero Waterfall is a tucked-away oasis in an incredibly hot region.
Best time to visit Lake Natron
Winter offers slightly cooler weather, and no rain. You'll enjoy clear, expansive views of the lake, Ol Doinyo Lengai and the Great Rift Valley escarpment. Since most people heading to Lake Natron also plan to visit the Serengeti, this is again an excellent time as you can see the Great Wildlife Migration river crossings that take place at this time of year in the northern Serengeti.
You can enjoy a fantastic Lake Natron adventure at any time of the year. 🙂 Just be sure to pack your swimsuit, as you'll need to swim to cool down!