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Pink Lake Retba in Senegal

Despite its tempting colouring, the algae lake is too salty for a slow soak

Pink Lake Retba
Pink Lake Retba
Pink Lake Retba
Salt Extractor in his Pirogue
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Lake Retba, also known as Lac Rose or Pink Lake, is listed among world's 10 most amazing lakes. It's Dunaliella salina algae, that produces the red pigment and paints the water into lovely colours.

Besides visual delight, Lake Retba is praised for high salt concentration, exceeding 40% in some areas. Locals make a living by harvesting the salt from the bottom of the pink lake. Can you imagine what it's like to stay in that salty water for hours? It could have been too damaging for skin, if not for shea butter they apply on their bodies before plunging into the water.

The nice pink spot is located on the western tip of Africa, some 30 km north-east of Dakar, and is separated from the ocean with a narrow stripe of dunes. And the best time to catch the most intense colours is drier period—from November to June.

Practical info

When can you see Lake Retba's most intense colours?

To witness the most intense colours of Lake Retba, visit during November to June when sun penetration and salt concentration are at their strongest. During these months, the water appears more pink, making for a breathtaking sight. June is an excellent time to visit Lake Retba to see its vivid pink hue. Show more

Where is Lake Retba located, and what are the available modes of transportation?

Located approximately 30 km northeast of Dakar, Senegal, Lake Retba sits on the western portion of Africa. Visitors can opt for various affordable transportation modes, including shared taxi, official taxi, rented cars, or mini-buses, for an hour-long journey. The path displays small towns and villages until arriving at its shore. Show more

How does the salt industry impact Lake Retba's local economy?

Salt harvesting contributes significantly to improving Lake Retba's local economy, generating jobs that provide income to the residents living around the lake. Locals either export the salt to other West African states or sell it domestically, driving commerce and trade in the area. The salt industry provides valuable income to the region and contributes significantly to its growth. Show more

Is it safe to swim in Lake Retba despite its salt concentration?

Swimming in Lake Retba is safe, even with its salt concentration, provided visitors take adequate protective measures. The natural oils in the algae present in the lake keep the skin healthy, while shea butter provides additional protection to prevent dehydration. Visitors should avoid entering the water with their heads as it may result in irritation in the mouth and eyes due to salt concentration levels. Show more

Are there any etiquette rules visitors need to follow when at Lake Retba?

Tourists visiting Lake Retba are advised to show respect for the environment and locals and avoid causing any offence. It is crucial not to litter or leave rubbish around the lakefront and avoid purchasing salt from children. Dress in modest attire and ensure cultural or religious practices of the locals are not violated, avoiding any affronts during festive or holy days. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin