The Truth About Lac Rose in Senegal – Lake Retba, Pink Lake

We had an amazing day at Lac Rose in Senegal. Also known as Lake Retba and the Pink Lake, this salty, algae-laden body of water is quite the adventure – at least the way Tim and I do it.

*On some of the links provided I might make a commission if you purchase something by clicking through my link. This creates no additional cost for you.

Traveling with Tim is always an adventure – as you’ll see. There’s a reason we’re called Team HAZARD.

What surprises will you find at the Pink Lake? Click to watch the video and see….

Lac Rose FAQ

Why is Lac Rose in Senegal Pink?

Lac Rose, aka Lake Retba, is pink because of the micro-algae, dunaliella salina. This algae feeds on salt and Lac Rose is very salty. It’s so salty that it rivals the Dead Sea in some areas and salt harvesting is a full time industry on the lake. How pink the lake appears depends on the density of the algae present and how well the wind and sun are helping them show off their beautiful pink color depending on the weather conditions.

When is the best time to visit Lac Rose in Senegal?

The dry season, November to April, is the best time to see Lac Rose at its pinkest. Try to go in the mid-morning on a sunny day for best results. If it’s a bit windy to help stir things up, all the better. If you’ve got good conditions, definitely go because the look of the lake can change very quickly and what was good viewing in the morning might be gone by the afternoon.

Can you swim in Lac Rose in Senegal?

Yes, you can swim in Lac Rose. The algae that makes the lake pink is completely harmless to humans. However you will want to shower off with fresh water quickly after as the salt will dry out your skin. Alternatively, you can apply shea butter to your skin before going in – like the locals that harvest salt in the lake do. Still, shower off as soon as you can after your swim.

How do I get to Lac Rose in Senegal?

Numerous tours from Dakar, Saly and most points in the north include Lac Rose in the trip. It’s often coupled with a safari at Reserve de Bandia or a city tour of Dakar. If you want to go on your own, you can take a bus to Keur Massar for $2-3 (90-ish minutes) and then grab a local taxi to the lake. If you’re really into walking, it’s a 6km hike from Keur Massar. We recommend the taxi.

Video Transcript

(bouncy music)

  • Hey!

That’s the day we went
to Pink Lake in Senegal.

  • [Trina] That lake is
    also known as Lake Retba,

Lac Rose,

and it is just a couple
hours outside of Dakar.

(air whooshing)

While we were listening to the guy

tell us about the thousands

of kilos of salt
(bell chimes)

they harvest from the lake every year

and that the algae that
makes the lake pink

is completely harmless,

I saw this other group
taking off on their tour.

  • [Tim] And they were gobbled up

by the algae.
(ominous growling)

  • [Trina] A big old pink algae monster

coming outta Lac Rose?


  • They weren’t?

(slide whistle music)

  • They weren’t.

Our launch and boarding
weren’t quite so smooth.

  • [Tim] Nonsense.

Yours might not be,

but mine was spectacular!

  • [Trina] Then I got a
    little help and we were off.

Oh, check this out!

How pink the lake appears

has a lot to do with how
the light is hitting it

and how strong the wind is blowing.

On one side it looks less pink,

on the other side it looks very pink.

And that’s just from the angle of the sun!

In Senegal, and especially at Lac Rose,

they like to say that
everything is no stress.

And that’s mostly true.

  • Until the pink monster
    (ominous growling)

starts to come after ya.

  • [Trina] Or, until they
    try to sell you souvenirs.

(water lapping)
Tim’s disembarkation

was only slightly smoother
than his boarding.

  • [Tim] Nonsense.
  • [Trina] Or maybe not.

Look at how pink that lake is.

It’s gorgeous!

  • [Tim] This is what the water looks like

when it’s not in the lake.

Pink, pink!

Pink, pink!

Pink, pink!

Oh, yeah.

Lac Rose!

  • It’s pink!
    (chiming music)

When you get home,
(bouncy music continues)

you’re gonna find salt everywhere.

Be sure to rinse everything off,

even if you did so at the
freshwater pond near the lake.

We stayed at Hotel Le Chamama.

  • [Tim] They didn’t pay us for this,

we just really liked it there.

  • [Trina] Two days later,

I walked back to the lake

to get some more pictures.
(hooves clopping)

Except it wasn’t very pink anymore.

  • [Tim] We were lucky to go on a day

when the lake was really pink.

  • [Trina] Oh,

and a herd of cows
(cows mooing)

surprised me while I was there.

By the way,

that pond is freshwater,

not salty at all.

And on the way home there were goats!

(goat bleating)

The Easter egg is goats!

(goat bleating)

(record scratching)

  • Baloney.

That’s not what a Easter egg is.

The Easter egg is a pink monster.


As it chews up the goats,

hurling them around, left and right,

and goes into the city
and starts to ravage it,

just destroying all

it comes in contact with-

  • Don’t forget to subscribe.

And watch this video next.

  • And destroys

the entire village.


Thanks for watching!

  • Thanks for watching!

(light laughing)

Music from Uppbeat (free for Creators!):

Team Hazard

Old, fat and disabled and traveling the world anyway. Join Trina and Tim as they wander around the planet bringing you honest stories about the people and places they encounter.

View all posts

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join Me!


Follow Me

Free E-Book!

How to Save Money for Travel –

on Almost ANY Budget! 

Free eBook - Cover shot

Click HERE

to get your FREE e-book.