Fernandes Tours & Safaris - Zanzibar Email: fts@zanlink.com | Tel: +255 24 223 0666/+255 777 413 352 | Fax: +255 24 223 3102 | Mob: +255 777 474 344
Head Office: Stone Town, Vuga Street, Zanzibar, Tanzania
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Tanzania Safari

Lake Natron

With the possible exception of Lake Turkana in the extreme north of Kenya, Natron is perhaps the most dramatic of all the rift valley lakes.
The lake has a surface area of around 1300 square kilometres and has no outlet other than by evaporation.

Only about 400mm of rain falls in this area, much of which falls as 'phantom rain', a phenomenon by which the raindrops evaporate before they even hit the highly reflective surface of the lake.

The evaporation rate has been calculated as being eight times the rainfall rate, the difference being made up by inflow from various seasonal streams and sodorous springs along the base of the escarpment.

The lake is highly alkaline, with high concentrations of soda and magnesite having been leached from the surrounding volcanic rock and lava flows.
It is highly corrosive and generally unable to sustain life.

Notable exceptions to this are the various types of microscopic diatom algae which thrive in this harsh environment, which in turn provide sustenance for several hundred thousand lesser flamingos, for whom this is the most important breeding site worldwide.
By the way, did you know that apparently flamingos stand on one leg in order to let half of their brain sleep?!?!

The lake is best appreciated from the air, when its full extent and the wonderful patterns and colours that cover its surface can be seen properly.
But at present there are no companies offering scenic flights of this type other than by expensive private charter.

The majority of visitors experience this aspect of the lake from the top of the rift valley escarpment, which is a pretty good alternative to flying, the views are extraordinary.

The lakeshore is generally approached by foot from the southern end, which involves a modest hike across searingly hot mudflats. Views out across the lake from here are not so very spectacular and it is very difficult to get close to the flamingos, but the overall experience is well worthwhile, especially for the enormous views back over Ol Donyo Lengai.

Waterfalls at Lake Natron

The Natural Jacuzzi
Above the main accommodation area at Natron there is a cleft in the rift valley escarpment which can be accessed first by vehicle and then on foot.

A stream runs down through the defile and towards the top it plunges down a series of modest waterfalls, under which it is possible to swim.
A local Maasai guide from the camp below will show you the way.
Be sure to sit in the 'washing machine' at the far end. Again another minor diversion, but an integral part of the overall Natron experience


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