Lake Natron is a saline lake in Tanzania’s Great Rift Valley. The lake is quite shallow. Lake Natron is a fascinating, almost surreal location. Due to salt-loving microorganisms that live in the alkali salt crust of the lake’s surface, the lake is often red or pink in colour. The lake is also the only breeding site for 2.5 million Lesser Flamingoes, because the caustic environment is a barrier against predators trying to reach the flamingoes’ nests.
The color of the lake is characteristic of those where very high evaporation rates occur. As water evaporates during the dry season, salinity levels increase to the point that salt-loving microorganisms begin to thrive. These salt-loving organisms include some cyanobacteria – tiny bacteria that grow in water and make their own food with photosynthesis as plants do. The red pigment in the cyan bacteria produces the deep reds of the open water of the lake, and orange colors of the shallow parts of the lake. As salinity increases, so do the number of cyanobacteria, and the lake can support more Lesser Famingo nests. These flamingoes flock along saline lakes in the region, where they feed on Spirulina a blue-green algae with red pigments
Location: Northern Tanzania, 300 km (190 miles) northwest of Arusha, close to the Kenyan border,
Size: 260 sq km (172 sq miles). less than three meters (10 feet) deep
Birdwatchers will be very interested Lake Natron, which is home to the endangered Lesser Flamingoes and other exotic birdlife, photography, Climbing OLDONYO LENGAI”Mountain of God”, walking safaris and camping safaris in the Great Rift Valley .
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