Lake Natron is a saline lake located in northern Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border, in Africa’s Great Rift Valley. The lake is quite shallow, less than three meters (10 feet) deep, and varies in width depending on its water level.
The color of the lake is characteristic of those where very high evaporation occurs. 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 the deep reds of the open water of the lake, and orange colors of the shallow parts of the lake.