Expedition to the Lac Rose

Trip Start Nov 01, 2011
Trip End Dec 19, 2012

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Flag of Senegal  ,
Friday, November 25, 2011

I had an interesting outing to the so-called Pink Lake today. Not far from Dakar (around an hour and a half drive, but as the crow flies, it is close... It took my cab some time to cross fields when the road disappeared, that's all!) the lake is famous for its high salt content (around 40%, like the dead sea) and its pink colour but also because it used to be the finish point of the Paris Dakar rally. We were also slightly delayed by negociations held with a police patrol that needed to receive its early morning bribe (the two police agents did go very thoroughly through the car's papers and finally managed to find a little wrongdoing to punish heavily). Police abuse is a shame. Monitoring authorities (if any) and associations have more urgent concerns to address, I guess, as Senegal still displays a shocking poverty in some areas of Dakar.
Once at the lake, apart from being in awe in front of the pink waters, the interesting thing to do is to watch what is happening on the shore. There is a small salt collecting industry operating there. Men in the water would first break the salt layer on the bottom with a long stick, then collect it and fill a pirogue. A single pirogue has a capacity of 1T. Working in such water is so dangerous for their skin that they can't work more than 2 hours in a row and need to protect their skin with a kind of butter. Women would then carry the salt on the shore, where it would be dried and whitened in the sun. Hard work. Impressive.
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