Lago Natron: what to see, what to do, when to go
With its 58 km length and its 50cm of deepness, Lake Natron is for sure not one of the deepest but it’s certainly an interesting point to see during a trip to Tanzania. In many safaris it is proposed as a one-day stop to observe the extraordinary scenery that surrounds it; located within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, it’s surrounded by a unique landscape
Why visit Lake Natron
The view on the lake opens up after a path that allows you to discover some masai’s small villages but also great mountains and obviously many animals. Why does it attract so many tourists? Lake Natron is known to be the most appreciated place for flamingos in east
Africa, where they reproduce
In the Rift Valley, at 600 meters above the sea, this basin distinguishes itself for a unique color that changes from white to pink depending on the seasons: to give these shades is the high content of soda combined with the salt. Yes, you’ve read that right: this lake is composed of salt water, not fresh. An aspect that not so many mention but that it’s important to underline is the phenomenon of “petrification”: many animals are victims of what seems to be a true embalming process.
The scientific explanation is really simple: the chemical composition and the high temperature of the water ensure that the carcasses undergo this process. The only animal that seems to be immune to this phenomenon is the pink flamingo and the reason why is very simple; it has a protective layer that covers the legs and beak, in this way the specimen is protected from the calcification of the waters of Lake Natron.
What to see in the area of Lake Natron
In addition to the alkaline lake, the surrounding landscape is really interesting; there are some points of interest not to be underestimated during a safari here. For sure, if you rely on experts, they will guide you themselves but it is also good to know which are the most interesting places not to be missed in order to choose the right Safari for you.
Volcano 01 Doinyo Lengai
The O1 Doinyo Lengai volcano, also known as “God’s Mountain” for the masai people, is one of the most evocative points in the natural area. If the local populations come to climb to pay homage to their gods with propitiatory offers, tourists go to visit it because it is the only active volcano in the Rift Valley area. Among the main features of this volcano, there is the particularity of being the only one in the world to erupt sodium carbonatite: a type of fluid lava with much lower temperatures than we are used to. Sodium carbonatite, in contact with water, quickly transforms into white powder and for this reason, the crater always seems to be covered in snow.
Ngare Sero waterfalls
Descending from the volcano it is possible to make a stop and take a dip at the Ngare Sero waterfalls: this spot is truly suggestive and this experience happens once in a lifetime. They can be reached by following the path along the Ngare Sero stream which is enclosed within a rocky gorge. To cross this point, it is necessary to be equipped with non-slip shoes and a bathing suit; some stretches are carried out with feet in the water.
What animals can you meet at Lake Natron
The high alkalinity that brings the lake to a pH between 9 and 10.5 is not a particularly safe place for animals; except for the flamingos who come into contact with the lake’s waters and end up being trapped there forever. That is why you won’t see many specimens along the banks. Those who organize a safari know where to take you in the surrounding areas in order to let you see up close zebras, giraffes and other animals that can be spotted in this locality.
The best safaris to discover lake Natron
The Jambo Jambo Safari, lasting 8 days and 7 nights, includes Lake Natron among the stops. The safari starts with a day at Manyara Lake where 11 different ecosystems coexist, then we go on by spending a day inside the Ngorongoro area and two days in Serengeti, where you will be able to see the Big Five. Another day is then dedicated to Lake Natron and the safari ends with a day in Tarangire.
Don’t miss the magic of a volcano, a dip in the waterfalls and the opportunity to be able to see one of the largest communities of flamingos up close… book your safari at Lake Natron.