Pink Lake Retba, Senegal

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The Senegalese Pink lake Retba is one and a half times higher than the Dead Sea, known also as Lac Rose, is a prime habitat for halobacterium, a type of single-celled halophile (salt-loving) microorganism which is red or purple in colour.

The water of lake actually changes from mauve to deep pink in colour, depending on the time of day and amount of sunlight. The Lake amazing pink colouration was derived from its high salt concentration.

The lake is Located in the Cape Vert Peninsula that lies north east of Senegal‘s capital Dakar, the unusual appearance of the lake is caused by a salt-loving green micro alga called Dunaliella Salina that resides in the lake, known for its high concentration of the mineral.

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Eco-Tourism At Senegal’s Pink Lake Retba

The water in the Lake Retba always seems to have a pinkish hue to it.

It is obvious that very few organisms can survive in such highly saline conditions. The only reason this single-celled organism is able to do so, is because of its ability to create large amounts of Beta-Carotene, that helps protect it against the intense light that reflects off the salt and also gives the algae its dark pink hue.

While the color may make the lake appear eerie and unsafe, the micro organism is safe not only to swim amidst, but also, consume – Good news for the locals that are constantly wading in to mine the salt. In fact, the algae are so rich in antioxidants that they are often harvested and used in cosmetics and dietary supplements. Much of the surrounding environment is making the area ideal for eco-tourism.


Salt Collectors At Senegal’s Pink Lake Retba

Many salt collectors work 6–7 hours a day in the lake, which has a salt content close to 4%, or 40 PPT (Parts Per Thousand). In order to protect their skin, they rub their skin with “Beurre de Karité” (shea butter, produced from shea nuts obtained from the Shea nut tree), which is an emollient used to avoid tissue damage.

That is the dilemma facing visitors to one of the most amazing bodies of water on the planet. Called Lake Retba or Lac Rose, the Pink Lake is not too far from Dakar, the capital of Senegal. Its blooming pink colour is one thing that tourists from all over the globe cannot just resist.


When To Visit Lake Retba

The lake is better visited during the dry summer months when the saline levels are high and you will see it turn strawberry pink and sometimes, even red. The good news is that color is not the result of chemicals being dumped in the lake but nature, working its magical tricks!

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