Lake Natron is a lake situated in the northern region of Tanzania near the great east African rift valley. The lake is very rich in soda and salt and a habitat to numerous flamingos. The lake is one of the most alkaline lakes in Africa very rich in minerals the pH of the lake water is said to be 10.5 and can burn animals that are not acquainted with the water. The water temperatures at Lake Natron can reach 41 degrees Celsius. During dry season the salinity of the lake dramatically increases. This Tanzania safari destination is filled with mystery and adventure.
Lake Natron is fed by Ewaso Ng’iro River that originated from Central Kenya and other hot springs and the lake doesn’t drain to any river or sea the only way water is let out is through evaporation it’s very shallow but covers 22 kilometers in width and 57 kilometers in length, the depth is about 3 meters only. Lake Natron derived its name from Natron a compound made with sodium carbonate and baking soda.
Lake Natron water is very salty enough to poison some animals infact photographer Nick Brandt once found dead birds on the lake shores but were as hard as rock this were turned into statues due to calcification and preserved by sodium bicarbonate, though it’s not very clear how they die but might be due to confusion of the lakes surface that changes colors making the birds to drip in. You can see all this on your Tanzania holiday.
The algae that grows on Lake Natron feeds million lesser flamingoes and during dry seasons the flamingoes breed on the salt islands that form on the lake wen the water levels have decreased.
Lake Natron support Tilapia fish and lesser flamingoes which breed here. Lake Natron has got orange color on the shallow parts and red or pink hue like color in the steep parts, this is due to the crust created by the alkali salt.
Activities at Lake Natron
Bird watching: Lake Natron is the best destination for bird enthusiasts especially those fond of flamingoes. The flamingo walk will expose tourists to countless flamingoes at the crater and a part from watching flamingoes, tourists can extend to watch other birds, this walks normally take place in the morning and evening hours.
Hiking: Tourists visiting lake Natron can have fun hiking up to the Engage Sero waterfalls and relax and have your packed launch, the hikes can take half or full day. The top of the water falls provides you with outstanding photo opportunities and also majestic views of Lake Natron
Picnicking: Picnicking can be done when visiting Lake Natron. The Great Rift Valley hiking trail will lead you to a dramatic picnic sites on top of lengai and hiking the rift valley wall on foot after a picnic lunch or breakfast tourists can descend using another route to the valley.
Cultural tours: Tourists can also visit one of Africa still kept and preserved primitive group of Hunter gathering tribe, the Had a bush men who have a very unique way of life different from most African tribes.
Visit the archaeological sites: For those who love historical sites and archeology, the can walk to the Hominid footprints believed to be over 100,000 years old.
Visit Doinyi Lengai
Camel safari: There various well established lodges where you can enjoy your stay comfortably lodges like, lake Natron tented camp, lake Natron camp and Kamakea river campsite to mention a few. Lake Natron national park is accessible by road or by air and can be visited any time of the years since it’s not a famous wildlife destination as it’s the very major tourist attraction within. Flying over the lake offers the best experience as you might view the whole serene beauty of it from the ground.