Lake Retba, also known by Lac Rose (Pink Lake), is one of the most visited sites in Senegal. This salt lake owes its fame to the original and changing color of its waters, and to the Dakar rally, which last stage usually ended nearby.
This shallow lake’s surface measures about 3 km². It’s surrounded by dunes and can be found just a few hundred meters from the Atlantic Ocean, 35 km northeast of Dakar. Its color is due to a microscopic organism which produces, especially in time of dry wind, a red pigment to withstand the salt concentration.
Lake Retba’s water is particularly salty: 380 grams per liter. The salt has been harvested since the 1970s. Men, in water up to his chest, break salt deposited on the bottom front of the scoop to fill canoes with a capacity of one ton.
Women are responsible for landing canoes and pile salt on the edges to dry and bleach in the sun. All smear their bodies with shea butter to protect themselves from the corrosive salt. On 18 November 2005 a dossier was submitted to UNESCO for its inscription on the World Heritage List.