Lac Rose is situated on Cap Vert 35 km north Dakar. Pink lake in Senegal is one of the most salted lakes in the world (40%). It’s 3 metres deep and it’s possible to swim in the lake but I leave it to more brave people than me 🙂 It is said the bacteris – Duniella Salina (the one which couses the pink colour) is completely harmless to humans. The extremely unique scenery of Lac Rose makes it one of the greatest destinations for a daily trip from Dakar.
Lac Rose - local tour agencies in Pink lake in Senegal
You will find lots of local tour agencies offer half day trip to Lac Rose. But there are number of attractions to discover near the lake and I highly reccomend to go there without a tour for entire day. First of all take a taxi instead of an organized tour, it will give you unlimited time to visit the amazing scenery and attractions around the lake. Be prepared once you get there you will be offered several sightseeing options.
Local tourism business is well developed in Senegal. Remember – always be polite to local people while having any discussion, and kindly explain kindly why you prefer to visit on your own. It takes a while before they leave you alone. They will probably tell you whole bunch of stories that it’s not perfectly safe to walk without a guide, which I personally think is total bullshit from what I saw. But anyway, there’s always somebody who will welcome you once you get there and will introduce all the sightseeing options.
First information you will hear is that all guides at Pink lake in Senegal are free. It’s shortly followed with a lucrative offer of a jeep tour, or quad rental or a boat trip. The prices are insanely high! Don’t ever agree to it and bargain hard! This is what you have to do in Senegal – bargain!
- Jeep tour – 1h 40 000 F/per car. It takes you to salt minors, then to the sand dunes and the nearest beach.
- Quad renatl 45 000 F and you need to hire a second quad for a tour guide.
- Boat trip 25 000 F – we chose this option and it’s actually quite nice.
What to see near in Pink lake in Senegal ?
- Hundred of local workers harvesting salt from the lake. The shores of Lake Retba are full of piles of collected salt.
- Sand dunes which are located just nearby the lake. No need to take jeeps if you are ready for a 45 minutes walk through the sand dunes to reach stunning empty beach. By the way – this is where Darak Rally is organized, to it’s highly fascinating to walk the road.
- Beautiful wide beach – just walk through the sand dunes and you will find yourself on a complitely empty, breath taking beach.
Loop walk around Lac Rose
Most importantly you should know… You don’t need any of the above options /boats, quads, jeeps/ to discover attractions around the lake. You can also do a loop around the lake as the path is maintained. There’s no chance you’ll get lost. A short walk from the start will uncover the landscape of salt minors. You’ll be able to see how local people extract salt from the bottom of the lake manually, mostly using their hands and baskets, transporting salt over the shore. Every year tons of this salt are exported to Europe and across Africa.
Phong Nha the biggest caves in the world – Vietnam!
What we chose?
We chose , was combining the 45 min walk around the lake with taking a boat to get to the other side of the lake. The walk was accompanied by one of the local tour organizers, not because we hired him but as a result we commited to take a boat trip. I’m guessing he was walking with us only beacuse it was a low season.
They would let us alone, as we heard Lac Rose is pretty popular tourist attraction and it gets very busy. I think this may be true, looking at the all facilities. They offer there like jeeps, quads, boats, etc. The good of having this guide was listening to all the incredible stories.
They gain 380 grams of salt from 1 litre of water! It’s possible to buy small bags of salt around the lake.
There’s a lot of boats ready to take you for a trip across the lake. The boat trip takes up to 50 minutes mainly because it is a manuall boat ;))) The ‘captain’ uses a stick to push off from the bottom of the lake to move the boat forward. (Please give the captain some small money, he is the one who works the hardest, while we had a feeling, he really gets a tiny piece from the price, we paid for the boat).
Color Lac Rose
The boat trip was fascinating, although the lake wasn’t pink at all, at the time we were there in May! 🙂 Or maybe due to a windless weather! 🙂 Lac Rose gets it’s rose color only when windy. This is caused by Duniella Salina bacteria – a sea algae that produces a pink pigment. This bacteria is very characteristic to salty environments. The bacteria is located where lakes is more pink. The most incredible phenomenon seen around the lake are the small holes with sweet water in it!! They are digged out so the local workers wash their face and hands while working in the high salty waters.
Getting to the other side of the lake you’ll be able to see the salt formations. Pass the cafe and the ostrich farm to reach the amazing white sand dunes! Bonaba cafe is a great place. We visited Lac Rose in May when the season is low and Bonaba cafe was almost empty.
Sand dunes are located 10 minutes walk from the coffee place. Here is your chance to walk the paths of famous Rally Dakar which spread along the powdery white sand. Take a 30 minutes walk toward the ocean and you end up on a wide, wild empty beach. Take a left direction along the sea and then a second exit from the beach. It will take you back to the starting point at Lac Ros