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Lake Natron: Facts about Tanzania’s poisonous Lake

Lake Natron is located in the Northern part Tanzania and has been famed for its red colour that attracts thousands of tourists.

Apart from turning red, this beautiful lake is also high in alkaline from a nearby volcano making it poisonous for for most animals hence giving it the name beautiful and poisonous lake in Tanzania.

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The elongated lake is 56 km long from north to south, and 24 km wide with a small section touching the Kenyan boarder on the Southern part.

Thus lake receives phantom rain – rain that evaporates before hitting the surface, because it is located in a desert. It receives only 400 mm of rain annually.

It also has not outlets and receives most of its water from springs and episodic streams.

The lake’s water is also high in alkaline because the water coming into the lake leaches through the volcanic material of nearby Mt Ol Doinyo Lengai.

With this, Lake Natron contains large salt, soda and magnesite deposits hence making it a poisonous water body.

Thus is because such an environment is good for the growth of a kind of bacteria identified as cyanobacteria that damages the innards of the organisms that drink it.

While other animals get affected by the bacteria, flamingos thrive in the lake and Lake Natron has actually become the largest breeding ground in the world for lesser flamingoes.

These flamingos are always after the the algae that thrives in its hypersaline environment. The algae also leads to the discoloration of the water to its redness.

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This red colour in the water can be seen even from space.

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