Lake Retba – pink lake in Senegal

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Lakes are normally blue or clear; but imagine a pink lake that looks like a large body of milkshake or strawberry yoghurt. How remarkable is that? Well, Senegal’s Lake Retba, also called Lac Rose (in French) or Lake Rose matches this description. The lake is under consideration to be a World Heritage Site.

Pink Lake - Lac rose

A tourist enjoying himself on Lac Rose

  • Why is Lake Retba pink?

Lac Rose distinct pink colour is due to Dunaliella salina bacteria, which is attracted by the lake’s high salt content. The bacteria produces a red pigment that absorbs sunlight thus giving the lake its stunning appearance. The pink lake is particularly noticeable during the dry season (November to June), which is also the best time to visit Lake Retba.

  • Where is Lake Retba located?

Lake Retba is located in Rusfique Senegal, about an hour from the capital, Dakar. Narrow white sand dunes separate the stunning pink lake from Atlantic Ocean making the surrounding area quite scenic. Salt extracted from Lac Rose is exported across the region and used by locals for preserving fish.

Salt boats on the shores of Lac Rose

  • Can you swim in Lake Retba?

Swimming at the lake is possible as the bacteria it produces is completely harmless to humans. The saltiness of Lac Rose makes it easy to float. What’s more, you could take a hike to the nearby Atlantic Ocean. Other fun things to do at Lake Retba include taking boat rides, visiting nearby art galleries and riding a quad bike or camel around the lake.

  • How do you get to Lake Rose?

You can get to Lac Rose by hiring a bush taxi or car. A taxi ride to the lake costs 20,000cfa. If you prefer the bush taxi, you will have to alight at Rusfique and Keur Massa then walk about 5km to the pink lake. The lake is about 30km from Dakar via Route Rusfique-Niaga-Lac Rose. Whichever means of transport or route you choose, Lac Rose Senegal is worth a visit.


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