Lake Retba Looks Like a Giant Strawberry Milkshake

Jun 6, 2012 25 comments

Lake Retba or Lac Rose lies north of the Cap Vert peninsula of Senegal, north east of Dakar. Depending on the time of day, the lake changes colour from a light purple to a deep scarlet pink. The unusual colouring of the water is caused by harmless halophilic bacteria that thrive in the lake’s high-salinity environment. The color is particularly visible during the dry season.

"The strawberry colour is produced by salt-loving organism Dunaliella salina. They produce a red pigment that absorbs and uses the energy of sunlight to create more energy, turning the water pink," said Michael Danson, an expert in bacteria from Britain's Bath University.

Covering an area of about 3 sq km, the lake is located about 35km north-east of Senegal’s capital Dakar. Since the 1970s, local residents have been mining Lake Retba for its salt, which they use mainly to preserve fish. Waist-deep in water, the men scrape the bottom of the lake to harvest this universally useful mineral which they collect in baskets in their wooden canoes. The salt is then taken back to shore where it is sectioned into small mounds. Dotted along the lake’s shore, these pristine white hills of salt create an arresting contrast against the pink of the lake. In order to protect their skin from the extreme salinity of the water, the workers rub their skin with shea butter, produced from shea nuts obtained from the Shea nut tree.


Lakes like Retba and the Dead Sea, which have high salt, were once thought to be incompatible with life. The salt content is very high, as much as 40%, which is almost one and a half times higher than in the Dead Sea - three hundred and eighty grams per liter.

Lake Retba is well known for having been the end point of the famed Dakar Rally, which has since been relocated to South America.









[via Huffington Post, Silverkris]


  1. This is amazing!!!

  2. Cure for breast cancer

  3. Does this bacteria exist anywhere else on Earth? Why is this the only pink lake? Very neat, thank you for sharing.

    1. it's not the only pink lake..there is Hillier Lake in W. Australia

    2. And the salt waters in San Francisco

    3. There are two other beautifuls in San Fran and Hiller Lake Australia

    4. In Bolivia also

  4. Ahh! All the pink lemonade you can drink. Not! XD

  5. Eh I wouldn't go that far.

  6. That guy needs to put his clothes back on.

  7. Science is some cool shit

  8. Thats freaking awesome!!!

  9. @ this algae exists all over the world and there are more pink lakes!Lake Hillier,Australia-- Salina de Torrevieja, Spain -- Hutt Lagoon, Australia -- Dusty Rose Lake, Canada -- Pink Lake, Australia -- Masazirgol, Azerbaijan -- Quairading Pink Lake, Australia -- Field of Pink Lakes, Australia.

  10. My son loves this site - please keep your profanity (swearing/cussing) inside your small mind. It is disrespectful and would make your mom sad.

  11. This lake really does exist.I'm originally from Senegal ..I remember my dad use to take my sister and I there when we were younger ..looks even better in person..Lac rose

  12. Not pretty at all ....

  13. I wish I could like on ur comment u really tould that guy :D

  14. my milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard it better your

  15. I want to visit this place. I'm putting it on my basket list.


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