Lake Natron, known from the famous mountain of god, Ol Doinyo Lengai, an authentic Maasai village and the beautiful lake itself! A very beautiful landscape that differs from all other parks with a lot of things to do! Lets get out of the car and enjoy the activities around Lake Natron!

Lake Natron

Lake Natron is a salt or soda lake not far from Lake Manyara in northern Tanzania. It is located in the Gregory Rift, the eastern branch of the East African Rift. The lake lies at the foot of the Ol Doinyo Lengai, an active volcano.

Lake Natron is quite shallow, less than three meters deep, and varies in width depending on its water level. The lake is 57 kilometres long and 22 kilometres wide. The area receives irregular seasonal rainfall, mainly between December and May. The temperatures at the lake are often over 40 ° C.

As the freshwater evaporates in the lake, water with high concentrations of salt minerals such as sodium and trona remains. The alkalinity of the lake can reach a pH level of more than 12. Special bacteria and blue algae thrive in this environment and form an ideal breeding ground for the life of birds. Such halophilic organisms include some cyanobacteria that, like plants, produce their own food through photosynthesis. The red pigment in those cyanobacteria produces the deep red colours of the lake’s waters and the orange colours in the shallow areas. Salt-loving microorganisms living there are colouring the alkali salt crust on the surface of the lake red or pink.

Lake Natron is the perfect breeding place for Flamingos

Flamingos find a safe breeding ground at Lake Natron since most other animals find its caustic environment and high temperature of the lake (up to 60°C) as well as its high salinity inhospitable. It, therefore, provides a good barrier against predators trying to reach nests on seasonal evaporation islands. Every year, more than two million flamingos come here to lay their eggs and chicks hatch between September and April. Cyanobacteria are increasing with the salinity of the water, and the lake can carry more nests. Larger flamingos also breed in the Wadden Sea.

Other animals in Lake Natron

Some fish species (such as tilapia) can survive in the slightly less salty water near the shore. Lake Natron is also home to some endemic algae, invertebrates and other birds. Tens of thousands of other birds can be spotted near the lake, making Lake Natron a prime destination for bird lovers in Africa.

Nearby National parks

Lake Natron is also well connected to other National parks, such as Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the south and the Northern Serengeti National Park in the west. Usually, Lake Natron will be visited after Lake Manyara National Park.

Most common animals in Lake Natron

  • Flamingo
  • Lots of bird species
  • Fishes
  • Maasai goats, sheep and donkeys
  • Some small antelopes
  • Some zebras and wildebeests

Ngorongoro facts

  • Ngorongoro crater floor with its unique habitat and wildlife see video 1 m. 22 sec
  • Ngorongoro Highlands see video 0 m. 16 sec
  • Olmoti Crater and Empakaai Crater
  • Tropical rainforest sees video 1 m. 00 sec
  • Olduvai George is the earliest place of human existence on Earth. see video 2 m. 06 sec
  • Museum Laetoli Footprint has the oldest known footprints of early humans.

 

Excursions and activities in Ngorongoro Conservation Area

  • Mountainbike tour Lake Manyara
  • Visit Maasai village
  • Visit Hadzabe tribe
  • Cultural tour Mto wa Mbu

Travel time to Ngorongoro Conservation Area

  • Arusha to Ngorongoro Conservation Area: 3 hours
  • Ngorongoro Conservation Area to Serengeti National Park:  2 hours drive.
  • Ngorongoro Conservation Area to Lake Manyara: 1-hour drive.
  • Ngorongoro to Tarangire: 2 hours’ drive

 

 

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