Published On: Tue, Dec 27th, 2016

Visit to Lake Magadi Where They Were Harvesting Salt (Or Is It Soda?)

After the long ride south, we finally made it to Lake Magadi.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, not really understanding how you can harvest salt our of a lake, but it didn’t take long to get it once we arrived.

There’s a lake, there’s water, but the salt is so thick, it looks more like, well, I’m not sure how to explain it. It’s thick for sure. And hot.

At first it looks something what a frozen lake would look like, but when you press on what looks like a solid sheet of something, your foot goes through the surface and you see there’s water beneath the extraordinarily thick amounts of salt.


Lake Magadi is known for its wading birds, especially its flamingos.  And there were hundreds out there.  I walked closer to get a better shot, but they just walked further into the water as I got closer.

Actually, I wanted them all to take flight at the same time, as I see on National Geographic Channel, but Nduku wanted me to leave them in peace.  And I agree, it was too damn hot to be flying around in that heat.

We took a quick break at a little resort-like restaurant.  They didn’t use a/c, but it was cooler inside than outside.  Usually when anyone goes this far, they go out to the hot springs, the camp grounds, and some other nature experiences, but we didn’t pack for it.

All I wanted was a baridi [Swahili for cold; otherwise you’ll get refrigerated] Coca-Cola. No ice. No straw. Just baridi.

But the highlight of Lake Magadi is how they harvest the salt.  The workers just go out to the lake and get to scraping.  I couldn’t tell how deep the lake was, but when you see these bodies out on top of it, not sinking through, it just makes you wonder.  And when you see tire tracks, I mean, just how thick is the salt?

I can’t say it’s a destination I’d recommend anyone put on their must see list when visiting Kenya, but it is a fascinating place.  I wish there was a tour that they gave, someone who knows the history of the place, could answer a bunch of questions, and maybe explain how anyone could harvest in such heat without passing out.

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About the Author

David Gaines

- David Gaines is a Washington, DC, resident transplanted from North Carolina whose dream career was a newspaper writer but settled for the recruiting industry and simply blogging about whatever thoughts crosses his mind.


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