Lake Natron

We left the wildebeest and the Serengeti behind us and flew towards Lake Natron and Lengai mountain the sacred mountain of the Masai. 

As we approached Lengai through the clouds I was reminded that less than three years ago it was active and spewing ash and lava out of its crater and yes, we were going to fly right around it.  Unlike all the other volcanoes around it, Lengai, has an almost perfect conical shape. 

We started a slow turn around the volcano, over the ash covered crest until the crusty crater appeared.  We all yelled out loud when we saw black molten magma boiling in one of the holes in the crust of the crater.  As we passed downwind of the volcano  we could smell the strong sulphur gases it was still emitting.

Leaving the ash strewn slopes of Lengai we set course for Lake Natron.  I have to admit I was totally unprepared for the splendid sights that awaited us.  Lake Natron is a long shallow lake, a favoured breeding ground of the lesser pink flamingo.  Large flocks took to flight as we passed over the lake.

The lakes clear blue colour changes rapidly in the shallow areas providing an astounding display of textures and colours.  As water evaporates during the dry season, salinity levels increase to the point that salt-loving microorganisms begin to thrive. Salt-loving organisms include some cyanobacteria, tiny bacteria that grow in water and make their own food with photosynthesis as plants do. The red pigment in the cyanobacteria produce deep reds in the open water of the lake, and orange colors in the shallow parts of the lake. The alkali salt crust on the surface of the lake is also often colored red or pink by the salt-loving microorganisms that live there.

I could barely believe my eyes that such incredible


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