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Oldoinyo Lengai sits within an extremely feature-rich safari destination in northern Tanzania. Visitors to this area are well advised to take advantage of the proximity of access to a range of fascinating attractions and sites.

Lake Natron is a shallow lake fed by the Ewaso Ngiro River and mineral-rich hot springs whose depth and width varies with the rate of evaporation. The lake has no outlet, and has high concentrations of salt and other minerals. Temperatures in the lake can reach 50 °C, and depending on rainfall, the alkalinity can reach a pH of 9 to 10.5 (similar to ammonia).
The lake is designated as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.
The lake’s colour is characteristic of high rates of evaporation; as the water levels fall the salinity levels rise, favouring the growth of halophile micro-organisms like cyanobacteria, whose photosynthesizing pigments produce the deep reds and oranges of the lake.
Lake Natron is an important habitat for flamingos and is home to endemic algae, invertebrates and even fish.

The lake is the only regular breeding area in East Africa for 2.5 million Lesser Flamingos, 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 breeding pairs. These flamingos, the single largest flock in East Africa, feed on Spirulina (a blue-green algae with red pigments). Lake Natron is a safe breeding location because its caustic shoreline is a barrier against predators trying to reach their nests on seasonally-forming islands. Greater Flamingos also breed on the mud flats.

Even more amazing than the ability of these pink flamingos to live in these conditions is the fact that three species of alkaline tilapias thrive in the waters at the edges of the hot spring inlets. Alcolapia latilabris and Alcolapia ndalalani are only found in Lake Natron; Alcolapia alcalica is present in the Shombole swamps, and has also been introduced to Lake Nakuru.