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Lake Natron, the Soda Ash Lake in Arusha Region of Tanzania

It is believed that this lake turns wildlife into stone just like the Greek Monster Medusa turned people into stone. Lake Natron is located in the East African Rift Valley and it is believed that is the lowest point of the rift Valley.

This lake is also a highly Alkaline and hyper saline. There are several alkaline lakes in Tanzania but Lake Natron is the most known and famous.

This lake is really shallow (about 3 meters deep) and about 22km wide. It gets its water source from the Ewaso Ng’iro River in Kenya. There is a period in time that sees Lava filled with Potassium carbonates run into the lake from the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano.

The Lake has no water flowing out but it receives reliable rainfall, it has over the years survived the high evaporation rates from the intense heat.

The red color of the Lake is derived from the pigments of the Cyanobacteria which includes the Halophilic and Microorganisms that are salt consuming.

There are some species of Fish and birds that have tried to live in Lake Natron but this can be a death trap for them.

There are however some who have managed to live here peacefully and survive very well. They try to live in the cooler part of the lake.

There is one bird species however that have beaten all odds to make this their home with no problems at all.

There are about 2 million lesser Flamingos that live here and these birds are considered endangered species.

The survival of the flamingos here has been facilitated by the presence of Algae and Cyanobacteria which the birds feed on and there are no predators to disturb the pace of the flamingos.

The bird will of course try to keep themselves on the cooler end of the lake but also their skins are also build to protect them from burns.

This lake doesn’t support human life and its more suitable for death than life. The Ancient people used the lake to Mummify dead bodies to preserve them for a long time. This was mostly done by the Egyptians.

There have been several people that have survived the wrath of this lake. There was a helicopter that carried photographers who wanted pictures of the flamingos crashed and fell into the lake.

They were rescued alive but with eyes burn and the skin as well. They were lucky the lake isn’t deep and it’s not so wide so they were also helped by the locals but if they had spent a long time in the lake, they would definitely have died.

Lake Natron is under a serious threat with plans of a proposed plan to build a dam on River Ewaso Ng’iro which is the only source of this lake. There is soda ash plant at this lake which takes a serious threat to the Lake’s Flamingos and the Salinity.


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