Lake Natron

Lake Natron is one of the very places in Tanzania that you may add onto your Tanzania safari itinerary. Lake Natron is a salt or alkaline lake located in the northern part of the Ngorongoro district of Arusha, in Tanzania. Lake Natron Tanzania is found in the Gregory Rift, which is the eastern branch of the East African Rift Valley. Lake Natron lies within the Lake Natron basin which is a Ramsar Site wetland of international significance. Lake Natron skyline is dominated by the volcanic silhouette of Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano which is more than 2km above the Rift valley floor which surrounds it, at an altitude of 2960m above sea level. The lake is a thrilling phenomenon of its own, with caustic waters enclosed by a crust of sodden grey volcanic ash and desiccated salt, surrounded by reed-lined swamp where hot springs that do sustain the lake bubble to the surface.

This is a product of tectonic activity that formed the Ngorongoro highlands and Mount Gelai. Not more that 50cm or less than 3m deep, this is one of the shallow lakes in the world. This is at most 57km long and 22km wide. The high alkaline level of the lake has the pH of the lake more than 12, with the lavas in the lake having significant levels of carbonate but yet low calcium and magnesium levels, thus being referred to as a caustic alkaline brine.

The alkalinity and nature of the lake makes animals and plant growth impossible, as you shall be welcomed with stone-like shapes of animals which dared or unknowingly walked into the caustic alkaline lake. With temperatures of Lake Natron measuring up to 60 degrees Celsius, the temperatures therefore are very unfavorable for plant and animals life to prevail here. At the edges of the lake however, there are however salt marshes and fresh water wetlands which support a variety of flora. Notwithstanding the high temperatures and alkaline levels of the water however, Lake Natron is home to some really endemic algae, invertebrates as well as birds, and in the less salty water around the margins of Lake Natron some fish can survive and thus possible to sight some of them.

Lake Natron
Lake Natron Flamingos

It is however the over 2.5 million lesser flamingos whose current status is ‘near threatened’ which do inhabit the deadly yet lovely. The Natron Tanzania is a breeding area of the over 2.5 million flamingos, which they choose as breeding ground for the fact that it is safe because of the caustic environment which is a barrier against various predators which would otherwise try to reach their nests on the seasonally forming evaporate islands.

Apart from the lesser flamingos, fish also do inhabit the Natron. The endemic fish species include the alkaline tilapias, and Ndlalani thrive in the waters at the edge of the hot spring inlets.

This destination added to one’s Tanzania safari itinerary for a number of reasons. Below are some of the attractions in the lake that travellers can see while on a safari;

Ol Doinyo Lengai

As you approach the Natron, one of the commanding view that you shall enjoy are of the Ol Doinyo Lengai, the only volcano in the area. Travellers can hike the Ol Doinyo Lengai during Lake Natron Safaris, and while hiking the volcano travellers are rewarded with some of the most beautiful views of the Natron to the north and on a clear day they can see the Kilimanjaro Mountain.

Rift Valley

One of the attractions around the lake is the Rift Valley, which can be seen during a hike around the Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano.


The Ngare sero waterfalls are a beautiful sight to behold, and can be seen during a Lake Natron safari experience. Travellers can hike to the falls through the rift valley to the Ngare sero gorge, enjoying great views of the volcanic rocks and lush tropical palms.

Lake Natron
Ngare sero waterfalls

Plunge Pool

There is a large pool of spring water near Lake Natron from where travellers can get an opportunity to get a dip and swim. The waters are safe here.

Given the nature and beauty of the Natron, as well as attractions around the Natron, travellers have a number of activities they can engage in while on a Lake Natron safari. Some of the Lake Natron activities that travellers can do include climbing Ol Doinyo Lengai, seeing the waterfalls, nature walks to the hominid footprints as well as the Ngaresero gorge, bird watching, as well as the Maasai cultural experience are some of the things travellers can do while on a Lake Natron safari experience.

How to get to Lake Natron

It is about 3 hours of road drive from Mto wa Mbu town, located not far off from Lake Manyara National Park in the northern part of Tanzania, in Arusha.

There are various the Natron accommodation that travellers can stay in while on a safari in Lake Natron, with Maasai Giraffe Eco Lodge being one of the best lodges to stay at.

Looking for something to add to your Tanzania safari tour, consider including a Lake Natron safari to your Tanzania safari tour. Get in touch with a reputable tour operator to help you pitch together an amazing Tanzania safari tour.

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