Lake Natron

Lake Natron, located in northern Tanzania near the border with Kenya, is a truly unique and fascinating natural wonder. Here’s a dive into its characteristics, secrets, and allure:

Landscape and Formation:

  • A shallow salt or soda lake in the Gregory Rift Valley, measuring roughly 57 kilometers long and 22 kilometers wide
  • Fed by the Southern Ewaso Ng’iro River and mineral-rich hot springs, with no outlet leading to high evaporation rates.
  • This evaporation concentrates sodium carbonate (natron) and other minerals, giving the lake its distinctive reddish hue and high pH levels (up to 12.5), making it one of the most alkaline lakes on Earth.

Wildlife and Adaptations:

  • Despite its harsh environment, Lake Natron teems with life, most notably supporting the largest breeding colony of lesser flamingos on Earth.
  • Nearly 2.5 million flamingos flock here annually, drawn to the lake’s abundance of spirulina algae, their primary food source.
  • Flamingos have adapted to the lake’s alkalinity, building their nests on soda mounds that rise above the water’s surface and using their specialized bills to filter out the algae without ingesting the harsh water.
  • Other hardy creatures, like the alkaline tilapia fish and the extremophile algae itself, also call Lake Natron home.

Threats and Conservation:

  • Unfortunately, Lake Natron faces several threats, including climate change, water diversion projects, and potential geothermal development.
  • Rising temperatures could disrupt the delicate balance of the ecosystem, while water diversion could deprive the lake of its lifeblood.
  • Conservation efforts are crucial to protect this unique habitat and its incredible flamingo population.

Visiting Lake Natron:

  • If you’re an adventurous traveler drawn to otherworldly landscapes and resilient wildlife, Lake Natron offers an unforgettable experience.
  • Guided tours are available, allowing you to witness the flamingos and the lake’s unique beauty firsthand.
  • Be prepared for the harsh conditions, including high temperatures, strong winds, and potentially limited amenities.


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We are true experts when it comes to Tanzania. We live, work and travel here. Serengeti African Tours arranges lodge and camping safaris, trekking and hiking tours and beach holidays. We carefully select our well-trained guides, drivers, cooks and porters.


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Tanzania – East Africa