Travel

Behold the world's most beautiful lake with naturally coloured pink water

Published

Your eyes are not deceiving you. This lake in Senegal really does have pink coloured water. 

Although it looks a little bit like an accident with some food dye, Lake Retba, located in the West of Senegal, has its water dyed pink by a type of algae that live in the lake.

Separated from the Atlantic Ocean by only a narrow bank of land, the lake is also known for its salt reserves with a 40% concentration of salt. This has lead to a huge salt business in the area, with locals harvesting salt all year around. 

Because of the high salt concentration in the water, those harvesting the salt rub their skin with shea butter to protect it from the harsh water as they work for up to 7 hours a day, diving into the lake and sifting out the salt, which is collected into great piles before being distributed around Western Africa.

Salt

Harvesting salt from Lake Retba

The lake's waters are at their pinkest in the dry season between November and June, but during the rainy season (July - October) the light is reflected in a different way making the water appear closer to a 'usual' blue. 

The salt-loving algae that live in the lake produce a red colour to help them absorb light and feed themselves, giving the water a pink apperance. This phenomenon also occurs in Australia, where Lake Hillier, or the Pink Lake, located off the south coast of Western Australia.

Lake Hillier

Lake Hillier in Australia also has pink waters

The lake has produced an industry around itself, with 30,000 workers coming from all over Western Africa to harvest the salt, distributing it throughout the region. 

Due to its striking pink water, Lake Retba also attracts a huge level of tourism. Because the lake has such a high salt content, it is possible to float on the water unaided, just as you can in the Dead Sea in the Middle East, although it's not advised because of the super exfoliating quality of the water which can affect your skin.

Just half an hour from Senegal's capital Dakar, we'd be happy to visit just to look at the amazing pink waters.  Scroll down to see more incredible pictures of the lake.

Panorama

Lake Retba seen from the air

Boats
Courtsey of flickr.com
Collecting salt
Lac Rose
Pink
Coast

Images courtesy of lakeretba.com, Flickr, Rex Features

Words: Victoria Gray

Share this article

Author

Other people read

More from Travel

More from null