Situated north of the Cap Vert peninsula of Senegal and separated from the Atlantic Ocean by some mere golden dunes, lies the fascinating Lake Retba- the pink lake or Lac rose (as it is called locally). Covering an area of about three kilometers square across the Cap Vert Peninsula, it is a Salt Lake with salt content going about to 40% of its composition at times. The Lac Rose is often compared to the dead sea due to its high content of salt. The lake is the main reserve of salt that provides salt to almost 70% of West Africa itself, mainly at Côte d’Ivoire.
Salt miners come to the lake and procure the salt of the sea bed by their hands. But due to the high saline content of the water, long exposure may create harsh skin conditions. Hence, these African salt miners cover themselves with Shea butter, natural butter made out of the Shea plant which protects their skin tissues from getting harmed.
The Secret of the Pink Tint
The pink color of the lake is due to a natural phenomenon that occurs. Due to the high levels of salt concentrate available in the water, salt-consuming micro bacteria by the name of Dunaliella Salina bacteria appear on the water body. As these bacteria feed off the salt, they release a light-absorbing red pigment into the lake and as it absorbs sunlight it makes the lake appear pink in hue. Due to this pigment, the water evaporates off the lake faster, making salt more readily available and the cycle continues. While there are a number of pink lakes around the world, none of them are as large or natural as Lake Retba – the pink lake.
Wonders of The Pink Salt Lake
Lake Retba is a definite must visit for people who wish to take a wellness or healing vacation. With its salt and mineral deposits, visitors can float on the lake’s surface while the elements heal different skin and health conditions. The most favorable times to visit are between the months of November to June.