Lake Retba, the Pink Lake of Senegal
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Lake Retba in Senegal is an incredible sight. Often referred to as Lac Rose (Pink Lake) for its distinctive colour, it is one of the most popular sites on Senegal's Cape Verde peninsula. Its colouring is full of nuances that vary according to the light. If you look at the surface of this natural wonder, you can see shades ranging from fuchsia pink to crimson red. This lake is known as the saltiest aquatic environment in the world after the Dead Sea, which is why when you dive in for a swim, you simply float.
Presentation and location of the pink lake "Retba
Lake Retba in Senegal is a threatened natural ecosystem that is shrinking every year. It is a large, shallow lagoon surrounded by dunes, with a surface area of 3 km², so hurry up and enjoy the spectacle of this magnificent landscape! Unfortunately, it has lost half its surface area over the last two centuries.
The main resource exploited in this lake is salt. It is responsible for the special colour of the lake when the sun reaches its zenith. You will find 10 times more salt than in the sea!
To visit the Lac Rose, you must go 35 km north-east of Dakar, the capital of Senegal. You will be able to admire this splendid stretch of water which is located a few hundred metres from theAtlantic Ocean.
Colour of Lake Retba: pink or red?
While the ocean, like most bodies of water, is associated with the colour blue, Lake Retba is known for its distinctive pink colour. This colour is a sign of the natural balance in this ecosystem. The pink colour is due to the presence of a micro-organism. This microorganism develops a red pigment to resist the concentration of salt!
If you are content with photographs in which the colour is usually pushed to saturation, you will not see the true colour of Lake Retba. If you go to the site, you will see the real colours of the lake, which are more reddish.
Although it is nicknamed the Pink Lake, it is better known as the Red Lake. The ochre colour is much more predominant. However, it varies according to the light and the seasons.
The saline activity of Senegal's Pink Lake
The amount of salt in Senegal's Pink Lake is remarkably high. The salt is harvested every day because of its density. You get between 80 and 300 grams of salt per litre of water taken. This is an intensive activity that takes place during the day and night. The remarkable amount of salt in the lake attracts several workers who extract the ingredient manually.
If you are tempted to try this activity, don't forget to coat your skin with shea butter. This is how experienced workers protect themselves from the aggression of salt on the skin, Lake Retba has a unique ecosystem with extremely resistant bacteria.
How to get to the Pink Lake in Senegal ?
Lake Retba has been internationally renowned for decades. At the time, the current Dakar race was called Paris-Dakar and made a stopover there. This contributed to the international media coverage of the lake. Together with Gorée Island, it is the main tourist attraction in Senegal.
Lake Retba can be reached from Dakar. Just take the national road 1 for the 45 km journey.
However, you can book a excursion 3 hours with an agency that will show you the lake. Guides usually pick you up from your hotel at 9am and take you there by bus. You will be able to admire the pink waters of Lake Retba. A swim in the pink lake remains one of the most memorable experiences.
This beautiful landscape attracts many tourists, not least because of the safe swimming. Because of the salinity, you are floating on constantly warm water. This makes bathing particularly pleasant. It is also possible to take a pirogue ride.
Accommodation near Lake Retba
The main accommodation is hotels and gîtes typical of the country. They allow you to observe the bustling activity of the place during your stay.
The Gîte du Lac is probably the best address. In addition to its charming bungalows under the palm trees, you can observe the colour changes according to the sunlight.
You can organise your trip to Senegal with an expert agency. Just ask for a free and non-binding quote.