Natron & Foot Print
Lake Natron is salt lake
located in Engaresero village some 220 kilometers northwest of Arusha
town in Tanzania. Upon arriving at the village the beautiful view
of East African Rift Valley escarpment awaiting, as well as perfect
view of Mountain Oldonyo Lengai. With clear day Engaresero gives
out a perfect place for viewing good reddish sunrise and sunset.
The Lake extend to eastern branch of East African Rift Valley to
the Republic of Kenya and changes its name to Lake Magadi which
is the southernmost Lake in the Kenyan Rift Valley, lying in a catchment
of faulted volcanic rocks, north of Tanzania's Lake Natron. During
the dry season, it is 80% covered by soda and is well known for
its wading birds, including flamingos as her sister Lake Natron
Lake Natron is fed by the Southern Ewaso Ng'iro River and also by
mineral-rich hot springs. It is quite shallow, less than three meters
(10 feet) deep, and varies in width depending on its water level,
which changes due to high levels of evaporation, leaving concentrations
of salt and other minerals, notably sodium carbonate (natron). The
surrounding country is dry and receives irregular seasonal rainfall.
The Lake falls within the Lake Natron Basin Wetlands of International
Importance Ramsar Site. Temperatures in the Lake can reach 50 degrees
Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit), and depending on rainfall, the
alkalinity can reach a pH of 9 to 10.5 (almost as alkaline as ammonia).
Lake Natron is
the only regular breeding area in East Africa for the 2.5 million
Lesser Flamingoes, whose status of "near threatened" is
a consequence of their dependence on the single breeding location.
As salinity increases, so do the number of cyanobacteria, and the
lake can support more nests. These flamingoes, the single large
flock in East Africa, gather along saline lakes in the region, where
they feed on Spirulina (blue - green algae). Lake Natron is a safe
breeding location because its caustic environment is a barrier against
predators trying to reach their nests on seasonally-forming evaporates
islands. Greater Flamingo also breeds on the mud flats.
Even more amazing than the ability of the flamingoes to live in
these conditions is the fact that two endemic fish species, the
alkaline tilapias (Alcolapia latilabris and A. ndalalani; A. alcalica
is also present in the lake, but not endemic), thrive in the waters
at the edges of the hot spring inlets.
verified human footprints are located at Laetoli village, Ngorongoro
District in northern Tanzania, where the footmarks of three humans
have been dated to be as old as 3.5 million years ago. The footprints
of Olduvai Gorge says by scientists were probably of a man, his
wife and a child.
In the year 2006 the new foot prints were found at Engaresero village
1 kilometer from Lake Natron. About 57 ancient footprints have been
located, but this time dated 120,000 years ago. The family was getting
To date researchers from different universities, TTB, the Division
of Antiquities, Tourism Unit, Arusha Regional Administration, Donors
and International Organizations including the ministry are some
of the stakeholders that are working on documenting on this discovering
and more details will be updated here as we get more source of information.