Lake Retba, fun facts for kids

Lake Retba is situated in Senegal and lies 35 km northeast of the capital Dakar. This lake is famous because of its unusual pink color. The color of the lake is caused by the Dunaliella salina bacteria, which is attracted by the lake’s salt contents.

The color is usually visible during the dry season from November to June.

Quick facts;

  • The water is actually fit for human drinking and swimming.
  • The lake other name is lake Lac Rose.
  • It is the source of salt production.
  • At some point the lake can appear bloody red because the salt can reach up to 40%.
  • The sand on the shores of the lake is actually salt which is extracted from around the lake.
  • The salt concentration is approximately 1.5 times higher than that of the Dead Sea.
  • Lake Retba is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by just narrow strip of dune.
  • The extremely high salinity gives the lake the property of being buoyant that you can float easily.
  • Very few species of fishes can survive in the saline content of this lake.
  • The people who extract salt from this lake covers themselves Shea butter to protect themselves from harsh sunlight . Around 1,000 people work on Lake Retba on daily basis. Harvesting over 45,000 tons of salt annually. Over 70% of the salt is exported to other West African countries. The extraction of salts is very labor intensive and require only men to do so, this doesn’t mean women don’t work there.
  • Lake Retba was originally fresh water lake until the 1980s when severe drought caused the change in composition of the water which became too salty.
Women carrying salts from Lake Retba