Lake Retba

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Lac Rose
Boats on the lake
LocationCap Vert peninsula
Coordinates14°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
Typesaline lake
Basin countriesSenegal
Surface area3 km2 (1 sq mi)
Max. depth3 metres (9.8 ft)
Cap Vert peninsula / Dakar NASA Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center. 22 Nov. 2004.
Lac Rose in Senegal

Lac Rose (meaning Pink Lake) lies north of the Cap Vert peninsula of Senegal, some 30 km (18 miles) north-east of the capital, Dakar[1], in northwest Africa.[2] It is named for its pink waters caused by Dunaliella salina algae and is known for its high salt content, up to 40% in some areas.


The lake is separated from the Atlantic Ocean only by a narrow corridor of dunes, and is named for its pink waters, caused by Dunaliella salina algae. The algae produces a red pigment to assist in absorbing light, which provides energy to create ATP.[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]

Magenta coloured samphire bushes flourish in the white sandbanks, and the sand dunes are terra-cotta-coloured[citation needed].


The lake is known for its high salt content, up to 40% in some areas, which is mainly due to ingress of seawater and its subsequent evaporation.[3] Like the Dead Sea the lake is sufficiently buoyant that people can float easily.[1][2][5]

Salt is exported across the region by up to 3,000 collectors, men and women from all over Western Africa, who work 6–7 hours a day, and protect their skin with beurre de Karité (shea butter), an emollient produced from Shea nuts which helps avoid tissue damage. The salt is used by Senegalese fishermen to preserve fish, a component of many traditional recipes including the national dish, a fish and rice meal called thieboudienne.[1][6]

Fish in the lake have adapted to its high salt content by evolving ways to pump out extra salt and keep their water levels balanced.[7] The fish are approximately four times smaller than those living in a normal environment, as a result of salt water fish dwarfism.[8]

worker is digging the salt in the lake
Worker harvesting salt from the lake.

World heritage[edit]

Lake Retba is under consideration by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.[6]

Dakar Rally[edit]

The lake was often the finishing point of the Dakar Rally, before the rally moved to South America in 2009.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Handayani,, Wuri; Tasya Paramitha. "Danau Pink, Sensasi Wisata Apung di Senegal". VIVAnews (in Indonesian). Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b "How salt miners save Senegal's Pink Lake". 19 August 2013 – via
  3. ^ a b 05/06/2012 11:08 Updated: 05/06/2012 11:10  . "Lake Retba In Senegal Looks Like A Giant Strawberry Milkshake". Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  4. ^ "Lake Retba (Lac Rose) - The Pink Lake of Senegal".
  5. ^ a b "Lake Retba". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  6. ^ a b Eddy, Jody (14 March 2014). "Swim a Pink Lake in Senegal" – via Wall Street Journal.
  7. ^ "Surviving in Salt Water".
  8. ^

External links[edit]