A wealth of experiences and delights

Pink waters of Lac Rose

Thirty-five kilometres to the north of Dakar along the Grande Côte stretch of coastline, Sangalkam village’s Lac Retba is a natural wonder made famous by the Dakar Rally finish. The lake’s pink waters are due to cyanobacteria, microscopic organisms which produce a red pigment (especially during dry winds) to combat the high salt levels.

The water is particularly salty (380 g per litre) and the salt has been collected since the 1970s. Men stand in the water up to their chests and use a stake to break up the salt deposited on the lake bed before collecting it with spades and filling one-ton pirogue boats. The women then unload the pirogue boats and pile up the salt on the banks of the lake so it dries and whitens by the sun. All the workers rub Shea butter into their skin to protect themselves from the salt. The salt is then sent to fish canneries or is exported.

The trip is very enjoyable and worth the effort, even though the journey is sometimes hindered by the dense traffic on the road.