Today, we are heading the north of Dakar.
If you want to leave the stress of Dakar, to enjoy the sight view of the ocean, breath the fresh air of the nature, there is no better place than Lac Rose, the Pink Lake of Senegal. Also called Lake Retba, it is a perfect getaway to go to with family and friends.
As soon as you arrive, you will receive a warmth welcome with smiles of art crafts designers, jewelry sellers and salt sellers who will be excited to talk to you about the story of the lake and it’s village.
Located 30km from Dakar, this natural oasis is placed between the Atlantic Ocean and the sand dunes. This body of water is a beautiful place to discover and to have fun at.
As curious as you are, I asked the villagers how come the lake was pink. It is thanks to a combination of a micro-algae and the sun. Let’s not try to talk about microbiology and instead admire the beauty that nature has to offer.
Its main activity is focused around the extraction of salt. Yes! The lake is known for its color and for its salt content. You will see men with their boats, their pirogue as it locally called, in the middle of the lake, in the water at a chest-high level extracting the salt from the lake with a basket and a stick.
You see how brave these men, salt harvesters, are when extracting the salt from the lake into their basket and carry it to their pirogues. Some of the harvesters do not hesitate to make round trips and collect enough salt that they will sell afterwards.
Once on the land, women come to help with their collection and pour the salt to the floor so it could dry. It nearly looks like snow under a bright sun, actually a hot sun. It goes without saying that the harvesters, men like women, are aware of their skin health. Some work with hats or sunglass but all use shea butter to protect their skin.
You too, can swim in the lake. You will experience that funny floating sensation. Just remember to moisturize your skin before and after your body.
Out from discovering the salt production, you will enjoy the horse or camel ride. of 30 minutes to an hour, enjoy the breathtaking views strolling through the sand dunes while feeling the fresh air of the ocean and see the power of the waves crushing on the sand and on which you would want to surf.
The Pink Lake will make you discover another beauty, the sand dunes. It will transform you as a motorcycle rider competing for the Paris Dakar. Back in the days, the pink lake use to host the Paris-Dakar competition. The dunes will let you feel the adrenaline in driving the slope of a dune and just for a minute, be driven by the engine of your quad. That’s exactly what I felt!
As I told you, the pink lake is a perfect getaway to run away from the stress of Dakar for a day or over the weekend.
Do not leave, Lake Retba without having lunch from the beautiful hotels and restaurants surrounding the location. You will enjoy the tastiest grilled fish and the best poulet yassa cooked with fresh spices.
So take sometime to enjoy lunch in front of the pink lake and enjoy the outstanding view with the sound of birds and crickets singing. Trust me, when you will get back from the lake Retba you will be ready for the upcoming events.
Here’s a tip for you. To be sure to see the lake in its coral pink color you need to go during the dry season in Dakar, that is between November and June.