Exploring Tourism in Senegal
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Lake Retba

Pink Lake, Senegal

Lake Retba also commonly known as Pink Lake, is a spectacular lake full of pink-purple color. It is known to possess large amounts of salt and single species of bacteria. Watch this spellbinding lake in the sunlight. Drive to an hour to north from the capital Dakar to watch incredible salt harvesting. Lake Retba is under consideration by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The lake is separated from the Atlantic Ocean only by a narrow corridor of dunes, and is named for its pink waters, which are caused by Dunaliella salina algae. The algae produce a red pigment to help them absorb sunlight, which gives them energy to create ATP.[3] The color is particularly visible during the dry season (from November to June) and less visible during the rainy season (July to October). Its high salt content also allows tourists to float easily but they are not the only ones to take interest in the site.

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

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. They 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, which is an ingredient in many traditional recipes, including the national dish, which is a fish and rice combination called thieboudienne.

The lake was often the finishing point of the Dakar Rally, before the rally moved to South America in 2009. In 2021, it hosted a round of the Extreme E electric off-road racing series.

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