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Lake Retba: Africa’s Pink Lake

Roses are pink, flamingos are pink but no one would tell you that a lake could be pink. Today we greet you from the pink waters of Lake Retba, Senegal, West Africa’s pink lake.

Known for its remarkably beautiful view, looking like a giant strawberry milkshake, Lake Retba is breathtaking. Locally known as Lac Rose, located a few kilometres away from Dakar, Senegal, the lake served as the finishing point of the Dakar Rally some years back. The lake has a salinity of over 40%, a salt content that rivals that of the Dead Sea.

The lake is a popular tourist destination, and it’s also a destination for people interested in harvesting salt. The level of salinity is so high that if one doesn’t protect the skin by rubbing skin protection cream, it will corrode the skin. The salt harvested from the lake is used all over West Africa.

Read: Mali: The Importance of Timbuktu to African Heritage

Salt Harvesting at Lake Retba
Photo: Jiitu “G2” Abraham/ Facebook

The pinkness of the lake can only be seen during the dry season, from November to June. The pinkness is caused by algae called dunaliella salina. This algae is also used in cosmetic and dietary supplements.

Read: Lake Retba: Senegal

The Atlantic Ocean borders the lake, separated from the lake by sand dunes. The lake means different things to different people. To the tourists, it’s a beautiful exotic place to be and gaze at. To the locals, it is a source of livelihood from which their daily food comes from.


The lake is being considered by UNESCO for the world heritage status. It has been under consideration for the world heritage site status since 2005.

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