Yes, you have heard how beautiful and diverse Africa is. From dense jungles to vast deserts to breathtaking beaches, Africa has it all. But do you know these 5 unique places in Africa that are so surreal you’d think they were out of this world?
Let’s start with two beautiful lakes located on opposite sides of the continent but which have one thing in common
1. Lake Retba in Senegal and Lake Natron in Tanzania
Lake Retba is located less than an hour from Dakar, the capital of Senegal. The lake is impressive not for its size but for its unique eye-catching pink color that makes the lake look photoshopped. Lake Retba, also called Pink Lake by locals, gets its bright pink color from the bacteria Dunaliella salina, which is attracted to the salt content of the lake. The salt content of the lake is comparable to that of the Dead Sea.
The color of Lake Retba is particularly visible during the dry season, which lasts from November to June. Due to the very high salt content of the lake, few living organisms can survive there, which means that the lake is mainly used for salt production and tourism. The lake is only about 1.1 square miles and no major cities have been developed along its shores.
In the east of the African continent, in the Republic of Tanzania, there is another colorful lake. Lake Natron is another salt lake filled with minerals. The lake is very shallow and the water temperature can reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The crust created by the alkaline salt gives Lake Natron a red or pink hue. Although the lake is not friendly to most animals, it is the main breeding ground for lesser flamingos.
Lake Natron is a toxic lake for most animals due to high salt and mineral levels. Animals that die in the lake are perfectly preserved thanks to calcification due to the extreme sodium bicarbonate content of the water.
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2. Underwater waterfall in Mauritius
Waterfalls are quite common around the world, but have you ever heard of an underwater waterfall? This is a phenomenon that can be observed off the coast of Mauritius, a small island in the Indian Ocean.
Mauritius is located on an oceanic plateau that rises from the ocean floor. Very close to the shore of the island, there is a gradual slope that leads to a sudden drop of 2.5 miles to the bottom of the ocean. This drop is what forms the illusion of a waterfall. The sand and silt deposits slide down the slope, creating a waterfall under the ocean.
This amazing site, unfortunately, is not visible from the shores of the ocean. You have to fly above the water looking down, which is an activity you can participate in through helicopter rides.
3. Stone forest in Madagascar
The very interesting island of Madagascar has the largest stone forest in the world that you wouldn’t believe was real. These tall, thin, needle-like rock formations are found throughout the island and are called tsingy.
The Tsingy de Bemarah Strict Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has the largest collection of these rocks. The reserve covers 375,600 acres. NASA notes that the formation of these rocks began about 200 million years ago. There is a part of the Stone Forest which is open and accessible to tourists while the majority of the area is off limits. But if you’re trekking in this incredible region, be sure to watch your every step.
4. Deadvlei in Namibia
Situated between the towering red dunes of Namibia lies a haunting and spectacular land. His name is Deadvlei. This white clay pan was formed over a thousand years ago when a river overflowed after heavy rains. But the look of the pan that can be seen now is due to the drought that has hit the area.
Trees that may have grown while the area had water stopped growing. But they haven’t disappeared. The drought was so harsh that the trees dried out and turned into blackened bones. These trees are believed to be around 900 years old, trapped in a white clay swamp.
Surrounded by red dunes and blue skies, the Deadvlei now photographs like a surreal landscape made from his imagination.
5. The Eye of Africa in Mauritania
The Richat Dome, also known as the Eye of Africa, is a circular structure located in the Mauritanian part of the Sahara Desert. The giant eye is so massive that it can be seen from space. In fact, early space missions used it to navigate.
The sedimentary rocks of the structure come from different eras. The circle measures 40 km or 24.8 miles in diameter and was believed to have been the result of an asteroid impact when discovered. But scientists now argue that the structure could not be due to an impact due to the symmetrical and deeply eroded geological dome.
Another more amusing theory suggests that the structure of Richat could in fact be the lost city of Atlantis described by Plato. Atlantis is described as a mysterious circular-shaped island, divided into circles of land and water.
Whatever the cause of the eye of Africa, it is a stunning site.