In the heart of Tanzania, specifically in the Rift Valley said tmrmarket we find a place that fascinates and intrigues us in equal parts: Lake Natron, an inhospitable place far from anywhere where only Masai and flamingos they are capable of extracting the very little and little life it contains.
This lake is located in the north of Tanzania, in Africa and sits on a precarious and marshy terrain, with very difficult access. But if you are a lover of all those intriguing and mysterious places it is a must see.
Why? It is one of the strangest and most surprising lakes on earth for its power to petrify all kinds of birds and land animals that touch its waters. The reason is simple, its waters are so rich in sodium carbonate that it ‘mummifies’ the animals that, accidentally and due to its reflective power, they fall into its waters.
With waters that rise to a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius, and an alkaline PH of between 9 and 10.5 it is more than obvious that it is not difficult to die after a dip in this lake, which owes its name to the substance they used to drying mummies in ancient Egypt.
Here the only living beings that are capable of inhabiting its waters are the reddish algae, as well as the alcolapia alcalica fish, which have managed to adapt to its harsh conditions. It is also common to see a flock of pygmy flamingos , which consume their algae by filtering the alkaline waters with their beak.
What would happen if you fell into Lake Natron? The answer is simple, its waters are lethal due to the heat that they give off and the volcanic ash that is deposited in them from the nearby Ol Doinyo Lengai stratovolcano.
One of the photographers who has been able to see the phenomenon with his own eyes is Nick Brand, who has narrated and photographed this lake in his book “Across the Ravaged Land”. The photographer, in an interview for the BBC, says that in this lake “you find creatures unexpectedly dragged by the water along the shore of the lake, including all kinds of birds and petrified bats.”
The photographer explains that “no one knows for sure how they died, but it seems that the extremely reflective nature of the water’s surface confuses the animals, falling into the lake.” This is how salinity, accompanied by high temperatures, end up petrifying the animals that fall into its waters.
The author of the book ‘Through the desolate land’ (Spanish translation of ‘Across the Ravaged Land ”) explains that “ sodium carbonate and salt make creatures calcify and are perfectly preserved over time ” .
This place is intriguing for many, sinister for others, but it is also a small oasis for species such as reddish algae, dwarf flamingos or alcolapia tilapia. But, once again, it is a place that shows us that our globe is full of fascinating and diverse places.