Tanzania’s Lake Natron is not an ordinary lake, but something of a natural wonder.
Its waters are red or even orange at times, and you may have heard the stories and seen pictures of how it turns animals to stone – well, this is not exactly the truth! Let us explain…
The water of Lake Natron is described as being incredibly caustic, with an exceptionally high alkalinity that arises from the sodium carbonate and the various other minerals, such as magnesite, that end up flowing into it from the surrounding hills. The incredible saltiness of the water makes it an environment that not many animals can tolerate; and this has led to the unbelievable photographs of animals turned to stone – drinking the water is not a good idea! Of course, the water did not simply turn a bird to stone as soon as its feet hit the water, but the eerie quality of the photographs certainly make it look that way.
Regardless of the strange waters of the lake, a variety of animals do thrive in this habitat, in particular specific types of salt-loving organisms and algae, and because of these tiny creatures, the lake is an astonishing deep-red or orange colour. In addition to its odd colouring, the lake is also very warm, which can make it an undesirable place for the usual animals that love water.