Tour Africa: A Look Into Lake Retba, Africa’s Only Pink Lake

by Duke Magazine

Located less than an hour away from Dakar, the capital of Senegal in West Africa is Lake Retba, a coral pink lake that is nestled between white dunes and the Atlantic Ocean.

The lake was then the finishing point of the off-road car race, the Dakar Rally but it has since become a source of livelihood for thousands of people from Senegal and West Africa who come there to harvest salt.

According to locals, the salt content of the three square kilometer lakes can be compared to that of the Dead Sea and even exceeds during the dry season.

The water turns color in the sun due to a salt-loving micro-algae which produces a red-colored pigment.

Men were hitherto fishing in the lake but by the 1970s, locals started to collect and sell salt for income following a period of economic hardships and drought, according to a report by news site CNN.

Locals have since been transporting, drying, and trading salt from the lake, otherwise known as Lac Rose, with over 70% of it being exported around West Africa, particularly to the Ivory Coast.

The unique lake, which is one of Senegal’s most popular tourist destinations, is said to be intensely pink during the dry season (November through June), and less during the rainy season (July through October).

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