Lake Natron is a salt or soda lake in northern Tanzania. It is close to Lake Manyara. It is in the Gregory Rift, which is part of the East African Rift’s eastern branch. The lake is at the base of the active volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai.
Lake Natron is only about three meters deep, and its width changes based on how much water is in it. The lake is 57 kilometers long and 22 kilometers wide. The area gets rain at different times of the year, mostly between December and May. Most of the time, the temperature at the lake is higher than 40 ° C.
As the fresh water in the lake evaporates, water with a lot of salt minerals, like sodium and trona, is left behind. The pH level of the lake’s alkalinity can be higher than 12. There are lots of special bacteria and blue algae in this area, which makes it a great place for birds to live and breed. Some cyanobacteria are salt-loving, and like plants, they make their own food through a process called photosynthesis. The deep red color of the lake’s water and the orange color of the shallow areas are caused by the red pigment in the cyanobacteria. The alkali salt crust on the lake’s surface is red or pink because microorganisms that live there like salt.
Lake Natron is the perfect place for Flamingos to lay their eggs.
Lake Natron is a safe place for flamingos to breed because most other animals can’t handle its harsh environment, high temperature (up to 60°C), and high salt content. It’s a good way to keep predators from getting to nests on seasonal evaporation islands. Every year, more than two million flamingos come here to lay their eggs. Between September and April, the eggs hatch into baby flamingos. With more salt in the water, there are more cyanobacteria, and the lake can hold more nests. In the Wadden Sea, bigger flamingos also lay their eggs.
Animals that live in Lake Natron
Some fish, like tilapia, can live in water that is a little less salty near the shore. Lake Natron is also home to some algae, bugs, and birds that can only be found there. Near the lake, you can see tens of thousands of other birds. This makes Lake Natron one of the best places in Africa to see birds.
National parks in the area
Lake Natron is also close to other national parks, such as Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the south, and the Northern Serengeti National Park in the west. Lake Natron is usually the next place people go after Lake Manyara National Park.