Lake Retba, The Republic of Senegal, Western Africa

西非塞內加爾有個3平方公里的牛奶粉紅鹽湖,玫瑰湖 (Lake Retba / Lac Rose),位於首都達喀爾東北35公里。因為湖水深度只有一米左右,但含鹽量高達每公升380克,鹽份高達 40%,比著名的死海還高出1.5倍,可輕輕鬆鬆浮在湖面。

A 3 sq km giant strawberry milkshake, Lake Retba or Lac Rose,  located about 35km north-east of Senegal’s capital Dakar. The depth of the water does not exceed 1 m, with a high concentration of salt – about 380 gram per liter, near 40% salt content, which is almost one and a half times higher than in the Dead Sea,  allows people to float easily.

天然的粉紅色湖水來自於湖中一種嗜鹽的菌類 – 杜莎藻,隨著湖水鹽度變化,湖水的顏色會從淡綠到深紅之間變化,每年 12 月至次年 1 月的旱季,是 Retba 最粉紅的時候。

The unusual colouring of the water is caused by salt-loving organism Dunaliella salina. Depending on the time of day, the lake changes color from a light green to a deep scarlet pink. The color is particularly pink during the dry season from December to January.

當地居民以手工採鹽為生,採鹽工每天工作六至七小時,為了在濃度高達40%的鹽水中工作時保護皮膚,採鹽人用乳木果的油脂塗滿全身。然後使用長矛搗碎湖底的鹽結晶,用籃子撈起鹽粒,瀝水晒乾的方式製鹽,岸邊常常堆積著一座座白色鹽丘。

Local residents have been mining Lake Retba for its salt, many salt collectors work 6–7 hours a day in the lake. In order to protect their skin, they rub their skin with “Beurre de Karité” (shea butter, produced from shea nuts obtained from the Shea nut tree), which is an emollient used to avoid tissue damage. The workers scrape the bottom of the lake to harvest this universally useful mineral which they collect in baskets in their wooden canoes. The salt is then taken back to shore where it is sectioned into small mounds. Dotted along the lake’s shore, these pristine white hills of salt create an arresting contrast against the pink of the lake.

Transportation:

There are no direct bus to Lake Retba from Dakar. You have to go to Keur Massar which can be reached by DDD (Dakar Demm Dikk) bus No 11. If the DDD bus only goes to Malika, you can find local minibuses onto Keur Massar. From Keur Massar, take a local minibuses run to Niaga village (CFA300), from where it’s 5km to the lake. Alternatively, you can go to Rufisque ad take a minibus to Keur Massar.

By taxi, a round trip- one hour travel at the lake – will cost around CFA10,000. You could also consider joining an organised tour from Dakar .

If you are driving from Dakar, take the main road towards Rufisque and about 6km beyound Tiaroye-Mer, turn left on a tar road (a signpost “Sedima”), which leads over a crossroads and through Keur Massar (5km from the mail road). About 3km beyond the village, in an area called Niakoul Rap, take a road on the left (there’s no signpost, but the fruit seller on the junction seems resigned to giving directions) to reach lake Retba.

Advice during the travelling:

1. When travelling by public transport, please note that there are no timetables. For long journeys, coaches do not leave until they are full.

2. Taxis are expensive and in seven seater cars you should avoid travelling on the back.

3. We recommend you buy kola nuts for the elderly people. You must show respect towards their religion, avoiding showing your torso or wearing provocative clothes.

4. Be careful when taking pictures of people.

5. Take a torch, drink bottled water.

6. Try the hibiscus tea the baobab juice.

7. Haggling is a common practice and it is recommendable that one of the travelers knows French.

*Pictures from internet

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