Lake Natron: Natron was the salt that the ancient Egyptians used during the process of mummification of the dead because it had the ability to dry all liquids in the body.
It is the hydrated sodium carbonate that makes up the waters of the Lake Natron corrosive to the skin: they are said to be similar to ammonia.
The high concentration of sodium gives the lake whitish streaks to a reddish color due to certain bacteria who live there: some of the few creatures capable of resisting to a highly hostile environment, whose temperatures can reach really high gradations.
Moody, Filippo and I left for lake Natron intrigued by the stories about this place.
As with all excursions in Tanzania, even the one to Natron has one stretch of paved road and one stretch of
dirt or gravel road. Staying here for a long time helps you to understand that dirt roads are not all the same. They can be very different and the one to get to Natron is chilling.
The view takes your breath away because the road runs along the Rift Valley for miles: if it weren’t for the Cruiser, it would seem to have been catapulted into prehistory.
The hominid is expected to jump out anytime. Charming. But the environment is harsh, dry, parched and dust creeps into all your body and clothes folds.
At a certain point, beyond a curve, it appears, tall, alone, majestic: Ol-Doinyo Lengai, the sacred mountain of the Maasai people, who have their land here. It is an active volcano, the only one in the world to erupt the so-called white lava. Yes, it is a lava rich in that sodium carbonate that is also found in the lake and which leaves very characteristic white streaks on the slopes.
As you progress, the road becomes more and more difficult, but in the end you reach Natron, the lake of wonders, one of the most inhospitable places I have had the opportunity to visit. Six hundred kilometers square in width, sixty-five kilometers of length and a maximum of three meters deep. The last part of the Lake Natron is located in Kenya.
Isaiah, our Maasai guide, let us park the car on the top of a hill. From there we proceeded on foot and the path is far from easy. You have to keep yourself in balance on bundles of grass resting on the water and each mistake can be fatal, but what you see is incredible. Flocks of lesser flamingos 🦩🦩🦩🦩🦩🦩🦩 walk or fly to the edge of this Lake Natron, strong in their protective shield on legs and beak. The only ones who can live and nest in water that can reach 60°C.😳😳
Their pink color is given by a special algae that they find in the waters of the lake and eat.
The show is incredible and definitely worth a visit.
The day we went there was also a very strong wind that gave the impression of carrying these birds only with its strength.
The surprises, however, were not over. Upon our return on the top of the hill where we had parked the car, we found a group of Maasai ladies waiting for us: they had come to show us their beautiful handmade jewelry. Bracelets and necklaces really gorgeous and with incredible colors. We decided to buy a product for each lady: we left happy for the shopping, the ladies greeted us happy for the excellent sale and they even gave us some extra gifts.
Definitely a trip out of the ordinary, definitely not an easy place in many ways, but certainly a truly uncontaminated place, where to appreciate the beauty and the power of nature.