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Lesser flamingos.
  Lake Natron
Size: 700 km2/270 sq mi.
Wildlife & attractions: Landscape scenery and birdlife. Some wildlife. Visits to the volcano Oldoinyo Lengai.
Getting there: 5–6 hours by road from Arusha. The first 2 hours are on good tarmac, the rest (from Mto wa Mbu by Lake Manyara) on poor or very poor bush roads.
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Lake Natron, Tanzania
Earth Observatory, NASA.
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Lake Natron
Lake Natron is a soda lake (approximately 700 km2/270 sq mi), known as a breeding area for vast numbers of flamingos – it is the world's most important breeding site for lesser flamingos.

The lake is situated in the Great Rift Valley north of the Ngorongoro highlands of northern Tanzania, and is surrounded by dry acacia savanna. Wildebeest may be seen during the migration season (December to April). Other animals seen are ostriches and sometimes fringe-eared oryx, although the oryx population is quite small nowadays.

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The roads to the Lake Natron from Arusha and Lake Manyara are very primitive, and lead through sparsely populated areas. They may be less safe to travel than the roads in the nearby tourist areas. Another route is approaching the lake from the Loliondo region east of Serengeti National Park. Attempting it, you should be prepared for a rough ride.

Some safari operators offer tours to Lake Natron or to nearby volcano Oldoinyo Lengai.

Recent volcano eruptions
Access to the Lake Natron area was limited in early 2008, due to the nearby Oldoinyo Lengai volcano erupting. The volcanic activity has now subsided (October 2008), but you may want to check up the local conditions before visiting the area.

The active volcano Oldoinyo Lengai.

Soda ash plant
Plans to build a soda ash extraction plant by the lake have been proposed, but are meeting opposition from scientists and conservation organisations, who fear that the project is likely to destroy the lake and decimate the world's population of lesser flamingos by 75 %. Lake Natron is a Ramsar site, recognised internationally as a Wetland of International Importance.

Lake Natron is off the normal tourist routes of northern Tanzania, but may be of interest for special safaris, for example travelling to Serengeti the hard way through the Loliondo area. The camps are not far from the active volcano Oldoinyo Lengai, which can be climbed.

Natron Tented Camp.Natron Tented Camp is a tourist class camp with nine permanently pitched tents, situated in a grove not very far from Lake Natron. The surrounding landscape is scenic. The tents have ensuite bathrooms and private verandas. There is a restaurant, a bar and a swimming pool.

Web site:

Lake Natron Camp has eight guest tents, each one with its own toilet and shower tent, and a dining and bar tent. The camp is set right in the bush, and the tents are covered by camouflage nets to make them blend into the surroundings. A variety of walks and outings in the area are offered.

Web site:

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Page updated 27 April 2013