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Lake Natron

Stone Wonders
Mineral rich lake filled with flamingos but with a deadly secret - turning life to stone.
TripAdvisor 4.8/5 from 330 reviewsSafariPlace 4.8/5 from 330 reviews

Lake Natron

Lake Natron is a shallow lake fed by the Ewaso Ngiro River and mineral-rich hot springs whose depth and width varies with the rate of evaporation. The lake has no outlet, and has high concentrations of salt and other minerals. Temperatures in the lake can reach 50 °C, and depending on rainfall, the alkalinity can reach a pH of 9 to 10.5 (similar to ammonia) and up to 12 making it one of the most inhospitable lakes on Earth. The lake is designated as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.

This, what should be lifeless, environment is what makes Lake Natron such a site to behold and is the very lifeblood of the flora and fauna that thrive on it. The Lakes salt content is a perfect environment for the extreme cyanobacteria that produces the deep red (photosynthesizing pigments) colour of the open lake water and the orange colors of the shallow parts of the lake. The alkali salt crust on the surface of the lake is also often colored red or pink by the salt-loving microorganisms that live there. This eco-system creates an environment that simply looks weird a lot of the time and gives flamingos their famous colour.

Lake Natron is little known among the regular safari circuit and it is best taken in as a more interesting, and less congested, route between the Serengeti and Lake Manyara National Parks. Scenic walkways are the main attraction to Lake Natron. You can walk out across the baked mud to the shores of the great soda lake itself, in which algae and zooplankton thrive – which in turn attract the flamingos that line the lake’s shore. In the background to the South, Ol Doinyo Lengai dominates the area. Standing tall in amongst rolling hills and flat plains. Its ash-grey colour and smoking top remind you that this is still very much an active volcano. This walk is best done in the very early morning or late afternoon out of the heat of the day

Whilst here, take the chance to walk up to the Engero Sero Waterfalls. This walk winds up through a shady gorge between steep cliffs, a welcome break from the heat. There’s a bit of gentle scrambling involved, and you’ll also cross the river a few of times. However, after a few hours you’ll reach a beautiful natural swimming pool surrounded by steep rock walls – showered by cascades of spring-water and overlooked by palm trees.

For avid climbers, a Lake Natron visit can be combined with a climb of Ol Doinyo Lengai itself. Getting to the crater summit is best done however with an organised walking safari with Masai guides that can take between 6 and 9 days, but allows you to glimpse many small Masai villages as well as local wildlife. The climb of Lengai itself only takes about half a day in the morning before the scorching Sun, void of shade and life but full of unique geographic splendor.

Lake Natron Highlights

  • Kisumu city by the lakeside
  • Kakamega Forest National Park
  • Ngamba Island orphaned chimpanzees.
  • Luo tribal Villages: Stay at the Mfangano Island Camp for a guided walking tour of the closest village and the tribe’s prehistoric art tucked deep in nearby caves.
  • Just chilling out by the Lakeside, regardless of the pollution the surrounding areas of the Lake are stunning and the whole site is one to behold in majesty.

Accommodation In Lake Natron

This is what safari is all about – endless plains, endless animals and the famous migration.

CAMP SITES

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SAFARI LODGES

2

LUXURY CAMPS

1

 

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Safaris Including Lake Natron

12 day Northern Explorer

2 day Tanzania safari - this is the shortest safari leaving from Dar Es Salaam. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both.

This safari offers a great introduction to southern Tanzania with a quick visit to Mikumi - perfect for those short on time

12 day Southern Explorer

12 day Southern Explorer

2 day Tanzania safari - this is the shortest safari leaving from Dar Es Salaam. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both.

This safari offers a great introduction to southern Tanzania with a quick visit to Mikumi - perfect for those short on time

2 day Budget North Tanzania Safari

2 day Budget North Tanzania Safari

2 day north Tanzania safari - this is the shortest safari we offer. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both. This safari includes two wonderful Northern Tanzania national parks, these are Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara National Park. You will spend 1 night at budget lodge, at Mto wa Mbu, the village next to Lake Manyara .
2 day Budget South Tanzania Safari

2 day Budget South Tanzania Safari

2 day budget south Tanzania safari - this is the shortest safari leaving from Dar Es Salaam. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both. This safari offers a great introduction to southern Tanzania with a quick visit to Mikumi - perfect for those short on time

3 day Kilimanjaro Foothills

3 day Kilimanjaro Foothills Hiking Tour - this includes a cultural tour and a visit to Kilimanjaro base camp.  This trip is perfect for those that want to get a taste of Kilimanjaro and actually get on the mountain, but don’t have the time to attempt the summit. This is combined with a cultural tour where you find out about the tribes that live on this great mountain. Overnight at a lodge on the mountainslopes.
3 day Luxury Safari From Zanzibar

3 day Luxury Safari From Zanzibar

3 days luxury tented camp Safari from Zanzibar - a great add on for your Zanzibar honeymoon. This is a flight from Zanzibar straight into the Serengeti. This can also be included with a hot air balloon trip. This is a luxury trip using the best camps.
3 day Simba Safari

3 day Simba Safari

3 day Simba Tanzania safari - this is the shortest safari with Ngorongoro Crater. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both. This safari offers a great introduction to northern Tanzania with Lake Manyara and Tarangire and the 8th wonder of the world - Ngorongoro Crater . We offer this safari for camping, lodge or a mixture of the both.
4 day Chimpanzee Safari

4 day Chimpanzee Safari

4 day Chimpanzee safari - special fly in safari to the home of the Chimpanzees This safari offers a great introduction to the Mahale Mountains the home of chimpanzees in Tanzania
4 day Hiking & Safari

4 day Hiking & Safari

4 day Tanzania safari and hiking tour - a perfect short option 1 day safari with 3 days of hiking. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both. This is a hiking, walking and game drive tour to explore Ngorongoro Crater, Empakai Crater, Mount Oldonyo Lengai climb and a visit to Lake Natron. Please note the Ol Doinyo  Lengai is for advanced climbers / hikers.

4 day Mount Meru Climb

4 day hiking / mountain climbing- reach the 3rd highest summit in Africa. Special Offer Mount Meru can be used for an acclimatization before tackling it's big brother Kilimanjaro, but is also a great hike on its own.  Accommodation is in huts

4 day Selous Camping Safari

4 day southern Tanzania safari - this is an adventure safari to the remote Selous Game Reserve. This is available either camping or lodge This Selous Safari is perfect for travelers who wants to make a short visit of Tanzania's most wild nature reserve the massive Selous Game Reserve. The Selous offers great game viewing and also walking safaris and boat safaris.
4 day Tembo Safari

4 day Tembo Safari

4 day Northern Tanzania safari - a perfect short option safari for travelers to northern Tanzania. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both. Rather than rushing great distances to see the Serengeti in such a short time we recommend this safari combining the best of Arusha, Tarangire & Lake Manyara National Parks as well as Ngorongoro Crater.
5 day Kilwa History & Beach

5 day Kilwa History & Beach

5 day History & Beach tour - this visits a UNESCO Site and one of Tanzania's best beaches. Special Offer  This tour includes time on the beautiful Masoko pwani beach as well as a guided tour to the Kilwa Kisiwani UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6 day Selous Explorer

6 day Selous Explorer

6 day Selous safari - travel over 200km through the Selous Game Reserve - Tanzania's largest protected area. This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both. This safari offers a great view of the Selous, from the mountainous North you follow the river to the eastern boundary where you have a boat safari.
6 day Zanzibar Beach Relaxation & Stonetown

6 day Zanzibar Beach Relaxation & Stonetown

6 day Zanzibar beach & Stonetown- this is a great add on to any safari  - beach time! This tour offers a spice tour on arrival with beach time at some of Zanzibar's greatest beaches and an overnight in Stonetown UNESCO heritage site with a walking tour.
7 day Northern Safari

7 day Northern Safari

7 day northern Tanzania safari - this is our most popular Tanzania Safari. Special Offer - This is available either camping, lodge or a mixture of both. Our special offer 7 day safari aims to give you a real highlight of northern Tanzania and it’s National Parks; we have combined a mixture of stunning scenery as well as areas with high concentrations and diversities of wildlife.

Activities In Lake Natron

WALKING

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HIKING

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PHOTOGRAPHY

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Photos of Safari In Lake Natron

Wildlife In Lake Natron

Lake Natron Flora & Fauna

Lake Natron provides a good nesting sites for species including flamingos, pelicans, and geese, and another 350 different species spotted on record. The area around Lake Natron is home to some mammalian wildlife, you might see the occasional giraffe or zebra, but generally this is not the best place to see game.

That said, the lake itself is home to a fascinating eco-system which thrives in this harsh environment. The lake is home to a plethora of extremophiles including colonies of Cyanobacteria – a salt loving, photosynthesising micro organism. As the lake increases in salinity, so does the population of bacteria. The lake also supports a vast population of Spirulina, a blue-green algae with red pigments, on which the large population of Lesser Flamingos feed on.

The lake is an extremely hostile environment and most other organisms are not able to live here. The alkalinity levels of the lake can become so concentrated, that they almost approach that of straight ammonia. Few predators can survive here, and the result is a safe breeding ground for the flamingos who return here annually to nest. In fact, Lake Natron is the only regular breeding ground for the 2.5 million lesser flamingo in East Africa.

Lake Natron Vegetation

SWAMP

LAKESHORE

Map Of Lake Natron

Lake Natron Location & Map

Located in the Gregory Rift, Lake Natron lies within the Arusha Region of Tanzania North of the “Strangest Volcano on Earth”: Ol Doinyo Lengai, which rises to 2,330 meters. Lake Natron is part of the immense Great Rift Valley where it is nestled between stunning volcanic hills and craters.

 Lake Natron is best reached along the way to Ol Doinyo Lengai which can take up to two days to get to from Kilimanjaro International Airport, the nearest airport where regular KLM flights from Amsterdam land as well as new Qatar and Turkish Airlines routes. From the airport it will take around 1 hour to get to the town of Arusha. However, Arusha is served by its own regional airport (ARK) that can be reached via Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyere International Airport, or by Kilimanjaro International Airport. From Arusha, head on the road to the west for 116 km to reach Mto-Wa-Mbu (River of Mosquitos). From there, take the dusty road North to Lake Natron, via 4×4 only and not during wet season.

Lake Natron Map

View Other Lakes Of Tanzania

Lake Natron

Lake Eyasi

Lake Victoria

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