By Jenna Jolie
Tucked away in the secluded northeastern region of Tanzania, Lake Natron is an exquisitely captivating and distinct water reservoir. This shallow, saline lake is situated within the Great Rift Valley and nourished by the Ewaso Ng'iro River from Kenya. In addition to its breathtaking hues, Lake Natron also boasts diverse wildlife, such as unique flamingos, fish, and various bird species.
Let's prepare to be overwhelmed by the mesmerizing palette that transitions from deep blue to vibrant pink in this stunning lake in Tanzania. In this article, we will explore the mesmerizing charm of Lake Natron, Tanzania, and the fascinating relationship between the lake and its vibrant flamingo population.
About Lake Natron: Some Interesting Lake Natron Facts
Where is Lake Natron?
Lake Natron is situated in northern Tanzania, just over 100 km northwest of the city of Arusha. The lake covers an area of approximately 56 km in length and 22km in width. It is mainly nourished by the Southern Ewaso Ng'iro River and enriched by mineral-rich hot springs, creating an otherworldly environment with a high alkalinity level and temperatures that can soar above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
Lake Natron is situated in northern Tanzania
The best time to visit Lake Natron
The best time to visit Lake Natron to enjoy the spectacular beauty of Lake Natron is during the dry season, which lasts from late May to early November due to cooler temperatures. However, please note that the short dry season from December to February can be excessively hot.
August to October is particularly noteworthy, as flamingos start to gather at the lake, offering a mesmerizing sight that can hardly be found elsewhere. Additionally, the dry season provides favorable conditions for exploring the surrounding areas through hikes, as paths can be precarious during the wet season.
The heightened evaporation during this season increases the lake's salinity, causing cyanobacteria to multiply at a faster rate. This gives the lake's distinctive richer shade of pink.
How to get to Lake Natron: The most accessible way to reach Lake Natron
It is highly recommended to add Lake Natron to your itinerary after you visit the Ngorongoro Conservation Area or the Serengeti National Park.
However, the distance between Serengeti and Lake Natron is relatively far, so we recommend breaking up the road journey. You should spend a night at Kleins Gate on the edge of the Serengeti National Park. The following day, embark on an 8-hour drive to Engaresero, where your accommodation will serve as a base for exploring Lake Natron.
The driving times to and from Lake Natron are not well known. We recommend staying at least two nights, preferably three, in the region because the trip takes a whole day.
Lake Natron is featured in the Northern Circuit of Roadtrip Africa's off-the-beaten-path itinerary. The most logical path is to begin with the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti, then go to Lake Natron. You may return to Arusha by driving through Mto wa Mbu. Another alternative is to drive to the West Kilimanjaro Area, which is near to JRO International Airport, via Longido.
Lake Natron may be reached by road in around 2 hours from Manyara or Ngorongoro. However, keep in mind that the path will be difficult.
You may fly from Arusha Airport to Lake Natron, which normally takes around an hour.
The most convenient way to reach Lake Natron
The Unique Wildlife in Lake Natron
Lake Natron preserves a distinctive ecosystem within its challenging environment, offering captivating opportunities for both nature enthusiasts and bird watchers. The formation of salt marshes and freshwater wetlands has given rise to a habitat for long-legged waterfowl.
Especially, the iconic pink flamingos are the lake's most renowned attraction, with 75% of the world's lesser flamingo population originating from this lake. These stunning birds congregate between August and October for egg-laying, followed by hatching during the wet season in November. The adjacent landscape hosts other resilient species adapted to the dry conditions, such as kudus, oryxs, gerenuks, zebras, and ostriches. While Lake Natron may not boast the same diversity as the neighboring natural parks, witnessing life thriving in such a harsh environment remains a fascinating experience for travelers.
Unmissable Activities In Lake Natron For Visitors
One of the most iconic features of Lake Natron is its large population of flamingos. It is the exclusive habitual breeding ground for 2.5 million lesser flamingos in East Africa, particularly the Lesser Flamingos. Witnessing the spectacle of thousands of pink-hued flamingos against the backdrop of the soda lake is a sight that leaves a lasting impression. The best time to catch this breathtaking display is during the breeding season, which usually occurs between July and October.
Flamingo watching is the most exciting activity in Lake Natron
Lake Natron is not only a haven for birdlife but also a repository of ancient footprints. Take a guided walk to the Engare Sero Footprints, located on the lake's shores. These footprints, estimated to be around 120,000 years old, belong to early Homo sapiens and provide a fascinating glimpse into our prehistoric past. The guided tour offers insights into the lives of our distant ancestors and the conditions they faced.
For those seeking adventurous activities, climbing Ol Doinyo Lengai is possible with the assistance of an experienced guide. Ol Doinyo Lengai means 'Mountain of God' in the Maasai language. The climb is notably steep, necessitating prior mountaineering experience.
To avoid the scorching hot in the daytime, many travelers choose to complete their journey of climbing Ol Doinyo Lengai at night. As the sun falls behind the mountain summit, it creates a spectacular scenery that truly makes your trip worthwhile.
Lake Natron's surreal landscapes, from the pinkish hue of the water to the surrounding salt flats and the backdrop of the Rift Valley, provide a photographer's paradise. Capture the play of light during sunrise and sunset, and immortalize the vibrant hues that make Lake Natron a unique destination. Moreover, the diverse wildlife and dramatic scenery create endless opportunities for stunning photographs.
Other Lake Natron activities
There are also numerous captivating waterfalls surrounding the lake, providing opportunities for exploration. Or if you want to discover more about the local culture, a visit to Maasai villages and their traditional homesteads, known as 'bomas,' is a must. For a more immersive experience, let's spend an evening with the Maasai. You will have a chance to understand their warrior tribe customs better, indulge in traditional cuisine, and sleep under the sky within the security of their 'boma.'
Lake Natron is a hidden gem in Tanzania that invites travelers to witness the harmonious relationship between the flamingos and their extraordinary habitat. The breathtaking landscapes surrounding the lake and the enriching experiences awaiting you in the Maasai villages make this destination a must-visit. As we marvel at the surreal beauty of Lake Natron, it is crucial to recognize the importance of conservation efforts to preserve this captivating ecosystem for future generations to enjoy.
Get your travel ticket to Tanzania today and seize the opportunity to have an enjoyable journey to Lake Natron in Tanzania! You should buy Tanzania travel insurance to protect your hard-earned vacation from unexpected cancellation before you leave home