Shimmering lake with millions of flamingos

Lake Natron is a rugged and remote place of extraterrestrial beauty, northeast of the Ngorongoro crater.

Lake Natron is one of the many shallow salty lakes in the Great Rift Valley area with fantastic views of the Ol’Doinyo Lengai volcano.


  • Surface 1.040 km2
  • Best travel season June to October
  • Spring rain season Around April
  • Fall rain seasonAround November

About Lake Natron

Walks around the lake in the volcano landscape, the streams and waterfalls ensure an amazing adventure off the beaten track.

Landscape of Lake Natron

Lake Natron is a salt or soda lake in the Arusha region of Tanzania. It’s located in the Gregory Rift, the eastern branch of the East African Rift.

The Natron lake is mainly fed by water from the southern Ewaso Ng’iro river and mineral-rich hot springs. The shallow lake is no more than 3 meters deep at its deepest point.

Climate & season

The climate at Lake Natron is mild and temperate. The average temperatures are consistent throughout the year. During the day it is never too hot, at night and in the morning it is nice and cool. We advise you to bring warm clothing for a walk in the morning.

June to October
The afternoon temperatures are usually around 24 degrees. Beautiful skies and sunshine are common. It is possible that the short rains start in October. The average evening / night / morning temperature is around 14 degrees, but close to freezing is also possible.

November and December
This is the 30-day period with the short rains, with afternoon showers. It rarely rains all day, so it won’t have much impact on your trip. Daytime temperatures are around 27 degrees, in the night and early morning around 16 degrees.

January and February
These are the dry months between two rainy seasons.

March to May
Although it rains daily in these wettest months, it rarely rains all day. Clouds are usually present. The maximum day temperature is around 26 degrees, 16 degrees at night. Closer to the freezing point is sometimes also possible.

Interesting facts

1. Lake Natron is a shallow salt lake (also known as an alkaline or soda lake), 58 km long and 22 km wide. The lake is 600 meters high and is at its deepest point a maximum of three meters deep.

2. Due to evaporation, Lake Natron has a high concentration of sodium (sodium carbonate decahydrate) and trona (sodium sesquicarbonate dihydrate). The alkalinity of the lake can reach a pH of more than 12. A caustic brine.

3. As the water from the lake evaporates during the dry season, the salt levels increase, causing salt-loving micro-organisms to thrive. The pigment in the cyanobacteria colors the more deep red, orange and sometimes pink.

4. The millions of flamingos feed on spirulina, the blue-green algae with red pigments. This also gives them their own beautiful color. The rosier the healthier.

5. Lake Natron is a safe breeding ground because the caustic environment forms a barrier against predators trying to reach their nests.

6. Seventy-five percent of all smaller flamingos in the world are born on Lake Natron.

7. Flamingos are completely balanced on one leg and do that to save energy.

Activities

The fascinating lunar environment of Lake Natron invites you to explore.
The ultimate way to do this is on foot. From short walks to a multi-day climb of the volcano Ol ‘Doinyo Lengai

4-day trekking

This trek begins with a night at the Empakai Crater in the Ngorongoro Highlands. The next day you walk with a guide to the slopes of the Empakai Crater. The second night, you camp on a stunning location on the edge of the Gregorian Rift. The next day, you enjoy a breathtaking view as you walk down the Rift valley. Once you reach the bottom you are brought to Lake Natron Camp. From this camp you can undertake various activities; watching the flamingos at Lake Natron and the age-old human-like footsteps and walking in the Ngare Sero Gorge. Or relax at the camp, where you can swim in the natural water springs at your doorstep. For the even more active holidaymaker, climbing Ol ‘Doinyo Lengai is possible.

Day 1: Empakai Crater
Day 2: Acacia Camp
Day 3: Lake Natron Camp
Day 4: Lake Natron Camp

Highlights

  • Ngorongoro volcanoes and Empakai Crater
  • Breathtaking views
  • Walking with Maasai warriors
  • Meet local tribes and customs
  • The unique habitat of Lake Natron
  • Flamingos

Ol'Doinyo Lengai

You climb this 3,000 meter high ‘Mountain of God’ (as it is called by the Maasai) at night. This is the only active carbonatite volcano in the world. With the moonlight, this is a mystical and unforgettable experience. From the mountain, you have an indescribably beautiful view.
The walk to the top of Ol’Doinyo Lengai is very intense due to the many loose grains on the mountain.
It is important to know that the daily conditions on the mountain are changing. The guide can decide on the spot to cancel the climb to the top.

Duration: 12 hours.

Great Rift Valley

The Great Rift Valley (also known as the East African Slenk or Great Slenk) is a beautiful area.
At Lake Natron you can take a beautiful walk along this Rift Valley. With the majestic mountain Ol’Donyo Lengai in the background this is a special day.
This walk starts at the Lake Natron Camp, early in the morning. From here, you walk to the foot of the Rift Valley wall. You walk along this wall to the beginning of the Ngare Sero gorge. You climb this to enjoy the dawn on top. Breakfast is served while you enjoy the breathtaking at the top of this gorge.

After breakfast you descend via a different route to return to Lake Natron Camp.

Duration: 6 hours

Waterfalls and springs

From Lake Natron Camp you can take a beautiful walk to the Engare Sero gorge where there are several waterfalls and springs.
You can opt for a half day or a full day tour. You walk to the waterfalls where you can swim and cool off. This oasis is a beautiful mix of tropical palm trees and volcanic rocks.

Duration: 4 – 6 hours, incl. picnic basket.

Animals in the area

Despite the high temperature (up to 60 degrees) of the water and the high salinity, Lake Natron is home to endemic algae, invertebrates, birds and some fish.

Lake Natron is the gathering place for millions of flamingos from June to November.
An exciting scene.

Dieren overzicht Lake Natron

  • Diverse bird species
  • Fish
  • Flamingo

Walking and relaxing at Lake Natron?

Have a look at other example trips that can be fully adapted to your wishes or contact us directly!

example trips trip advice

Stays at Lake Natron

At Lake Natron you can enjoy a few days of rest.
Away from everything and everyone with a good book and your feet in a clear pool of water.