Part of Africa's immense Great Rift Valley, Lake Natron is famous for its flamingos and its rumoured ability to turn animals to stone. While this isn't exactly true, the fact behind the fiction is just as fascinating. The lake has an incredibly high alkaline level, which can easily sear the skin and eyes of animals not adapted to such conditions. Washed up on the shore are numerous dead species, coffined in chalky sodium carbonate that makes them appear to be made of stone. It's not completely understood how these creatures die but their eerie forms against the lake make for some incredible pictures.
Flamingos, however, are able to overcome the strong alkaline content of the lake, and flock to its shallow waters annually to breed and feed on the lake's blue-green algae. Natron's deadly waters are the perfect barrier to predators, which leaves the flamingos unthreatened and safe. The area is quite inhospitable and certainly better suited for a traveller who won't mind the dry, hot climate.
However, the scenery is to die for and is the main reason to visit. Sitting at the lowest point of the Great Rift Valley the surrounding volcanic hills are mesmerising, as is the nearby Oldoinyo Lengai volcano, which is still active and the only volcano in the world to produce black lava. Accommodation options on holidays to Lake Natron are sparse while activities mainly consist of walks, with the chance to see the Engaresero Waterfall, or trying your hand at climbing Oldoinyo Lengai itself.
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