West Africa – Senegal
Lake Retba, also known as Lac Rose or Pink Lake, is a shallow saltwater lake located in Senegal, West Africa. It is renowned for its unique pink color, which is caused by high concentrations of salt-loving microorganisms and high levels of salt content.
The lake is located about 30 kilometers northeast of Dakar, the capital city of Senegal. It covers an area of approximately 3 square kilometers and is surrounded by sand dunes and small fishing villages.
Lake Retba’s pink color is most prominent during the dry season, particularly in the months of November to June when the lake’s salt content is at its highest. The unique color is a result of the high concentration of salt in the water, which causes the growth of a type of bacteria called Dunaliella salina.
The bacteria produce a red pigment to protect themselves from the harsh sun, resulting in the pink hue of the lake. The intensity of the color can vary depending on sunlight, temperature, and other environmental factors.
The lake is not only a natural wonder but also an important source of income for the local communities. Salt extraction is the main economic activity in the area, with workers manually collecting salt from the lakebed. The salt is used for various purposes, including food preservation, traditional medicine, and the production of cosmetics.
Visitors to Lake Retba can enjoy a unique experience by swimming in the highly buoyant waters, due to the high salt content. Many tour operators offer boat trips and guided tours to explore the lake, and visitors can also observe the local salt harvesting techniques.
It is worth noting that the lake’s pink color may not be as vibrant during the rainy season when the dilution of water reduces the salt concentration and bacterial growth.