Located at a basin near active Volcanoes, lake natron is a mineral fed, highly alkaline water body that goes up to a temperature of over 60oC. It is a Salt Lake, meaning there is inflow of water into the lake, but there are no ways of outflow other than standard evaporation. At lake Natron, as the water gets accumulated from larger water resources along the Gregory Rift, it evaporates slowly over time, leaving behind concentrated deposits of salt, minerals, natron and trona. With the gradual accumulation of these alkaline, the alkaline levels of the lake borders around 10 or 12 pH at all times making it extremely corrosive and deadly in nature. Since the lake is nestled in a region of active volcanoes, its surrounding bedrock is made out of lava deposits from earlier eruptions that contain high levels of carbonate, sustaining the alkalinity of the lake and making it into an alkaline brine like water body.
Can Any Living Organism Survive Near the Lake?
While the basic PH levels of the lake are very high making it uninhabitable, some microorganisms manage to survive in these conditions such as the salt consuming cyanobacteria that thrives off such conditions and lends their red pigment tint to the lake overall. Other than these, only some endemic algae survive in the Salt Lake. During the breeding season, nearly 2.5 million lesser flamingos make their way to this lake as since years, lake natron has been their only location to lay eggs in the whole of Africa. Due to the corrosive nature of the lake, no predator approaches these nests along the lake, leading to a safe breeding season while these birds survive by consuming blue algae from nearby water resources and other water bodies.
Is It Safe to Visit Lake Natron?
It is absolutely safe to visit the lake; it is only dangerous to come in contact with the water. There are various African communities which have thrived and survived around this area. And most visitors who come to visit Lake Natron usually do so when they arrive at nearby base camp grounds to trek or scale mount Ol Doinyo Lengai.