Lake Retba

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Lake Retba
Boats on the lake
Location Cap Vert peninsula
Coordinates 14°50′18.02″N 17°14′41.36″W / 14.8383389°N 17.2448222°W / 14.8383389; -17.2448222Coordinates: 14°50′18.02″N 17°14′41.36″W / 14.8383389°N 17.2448222°W / 14.8383389; -17.2448222
Type saline lake
Basin countries Senegal
Surface area 3 km2 (1 sq mi)
Max. depth 3 metres (9.8 ft)

Lake Retba or Lac Rose (meaning Pink lake) lies north of the Cap Vert peninsula of Senegal, some 30km (18 miles) north-east of the capital, Dakar[1] in northwest Africa.[2]

It is so named for its pink waters, caused by Dunaliella salina algae in the water that produce a red pigment used to absorb light, which provides energy to create ATP, turning the waters pink.[3] The color is particularly visible during the dry season(from November to June) and is less visible during the rainy season (July to October).[4] The lake is also known for its high salt content, which, like that of the Dead Sea, allows people to float easily.[1] The lake also has a small salt collecting industry and was often the finishing point of the Dakar Rally, before it moved to South America in 2009.[5]

Many salt collectors work 6–7 hours a day in the lake, which has a salt content of up to 40% in some areas.[3]An estimated 3,000 salt miners collect the precious commodity which is exported all over the region.[6] In order to protect their skin, they rub their skin with "Beurre de Karité" (shea butter, produced from shea nuts obtained from the Shea nut tree), which is an emollient used to avoid tissue damage.[1] Many fish are also affected by the salt content of the lake. The fish have adapted to life and evolved ways to pump out extra salt while keeping their water levels balanced.[7] The fish adapted to life in water with such high salt concentrations by becoming four times smaller than when they live in their normal environment. This is known as salt water fish dwarfism.[8]

There are magenta colored samphire bushes that flourish in the white sandbanks as well as sand dunes that are terra-cotta-colored. Lac Rose is separated from the Atlantic Ocean only by a narrow corridor of dunes, resulting in salinity levels exceeding 40% in some parts of the lake. Men and women come from all over Western Africa to harvest the coarse salt from the floor of Lac Rose. The salt is used by Senegalese fishermen to preserve fish; that, in turn, is a component of many traditional recipes, including the country's national dish, a fish stew called thieboudienne.[9]

Lake Retba is under consideration by Unesco for inclusion as a World Heritage Site.[10]

See Also[edit]

Lake Hillier


External links[edit]