Less than one hour away from the capital city of Senegal there is an unusual lake, because of its vivid pink colur. The name of the lake is “Lake Retba” (or Lac Rose as it is known by locals) its located north of the Cap Vert peninsula of Senegal or known as “Senegal Cap Vert”, north-east of Dakar, in northwest Africa.
The pink color is caused by Dunaliella salina algae in the water that produce a red pigment that uses sunlight to create more energy, turning the waters pink.
The color is particularly visible during dry season. (which lasts from November to June) and less during the rainy season (July-October). The lake is also known for its high salt content, which, like that of the Dead Sea, allows people to float easily.
Due to the high salt content, not many organisms are able to survive in the lake. In certain areas the salt content exceeds 40%, hence it mainly serves as a tourist point and for salt production.
Read also: The World’s Most Unusual Lakes
Natural Pink Lake Retba
The “Dunaliella salina” bacteria which gives the water its pinkish color is completely harmless to humans and swimming in the lake is possible and safe.
Lake Retba is only 3 square kilometers big (about 1,1 square miles) and there is no major towns developed along its shores.
Retba used to be the last point of the Dakar rally, before it was moved to South America in 2009.
Each year, the “strawberry lake” attracts tourists from all over the world. The lake is under consideration by the World Heritage Committee for inclusion as a World Heritage Site.
Lake Retba is not the only pink lake in the world. There are other lakes such as near Baku, Azerbaijan or in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, but they are either small or not natural.
Lake Retba Senegal Photos
Pink Hillier Lake
Lake Hillier is another example of a natural pink lake which is located in Western Australia. Unlike “Lake Retba” that changes color depending on the amount of sunlight, Lake Hillier is permanently pink. It is also much smaller in area. As with other lakes, this one too has a high salt concentration. (see picture below)