Millions of flamingos on Natron’s shores

The fierce colours of Lake Natron melt from burnt oranges to fuchsias and maroons, while once a year a colour clash of magnificent proportions occurs as East Africa’s largest flock of lesser flamingos swarm to the lake to breed. The salmon-pink birds can be seen gingerly picking their way through the soda lake and nesting on ash-coloured mud mounds. Fed by mineral-rich springs and the Ewaso Ng’iro River, the lake is part of the East Rift Valley and lies north of the Ngorongoro Crater. 

The lake has great ecological importance as it is the only place in East Africa where the flamingos breed, in a safe environment where the water’s alkaline nature deters much other life from settling in the surrounding area. The lake is largely inhospitable to most life forms, thus providing 2.5 million flamingos protection from greedy predators eyeing their eggs. 

Lake Natron is located 135 kilometres north of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and a similar distance from the Serengeti National Park. Its convenient location makes the lake an easy add-on to your trip to or from the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater or for those hiking the active volcano, Ol Donyo Lengai. Accommodation is available near the park while hikes up the surrounding slopes offer excellent lake views. 

Highlights

  • The breeding ground of East Africa’s largest flock of lesser flamingos
  • Approximately 2.5 million flamingos inhabit the area between July and October
  • The alkaline nature and high evaporation rate of the lake causes the water to turn magnificent colours ranging from maroon to burnt orange to pink
  • The lake is a convenient add-on for those travelling to and from the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater
  • The lake can also be added on to an itinerary for those visiting the Lengai Volcano
  • Best time to go:
  • Best
  • Mixed

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