Travel

Lake Asal: World's largest salt reserve in Djibouti

Lake-asal

Lake Asal. NMG PHOTO

From a distance, one may confuse the shores of Lake Asal in Djibouti with a beach. But the lake has never had swimming activities.

Standing at its shores, I close my eyes and lift my hands as I enjoy the wild wind. The birds chirp as the wind gushes, almost like it is puffing away life's troubles.

To Djiboutians, the lake is a stress reliever and an escape from the harsh environment in the country, where temperatures rise as high as 40 degrees Celsius.

Walking barefoot in the water is next to impossible because salt crystals have formed over time. If you go, wash your face in the lake, the locals say the water treats skin diseases and eases muscle pains.

It is perfect for solo travellers or those seeking quiet time because the wind blows so heavily that it masks the sounds.

The lake is among the most visited tourist destination in Djibouti and is known for its saline nature that forms crystals along the edges of the lake.

Lake Asal, located in the central west of Djibouti at end of the Gulf of Tadjoura in the Tadjoura Region about 109 kilometres west of the capital city and is believed to be 10 times saltier than the sea.

It is believed that the lake has a salt concentration of between 34.8 percent and 40 percent. Djibouti exports the salt from the lake to Ethiopia and other countries.

It is the world’s largest salt reserve. Residents dig up the salt and display it as a tourist attraction for pilgrims who visit the lake.

It is also believed to be the lowest point on land in Africa and the third lowest point on earth after the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea.

The lake is the third most saline water in the world after Don Juan and Gaet’ale Pond.

It is surrounded by active volcanoes and lava sediments that are black and due to its salinity, the lake does not have water microorganisms.

About 100 metres from the lake, we found huge gouges with beautiful stones, below them green-like water flowing.

When we got closer, our guide said, "Hot springs.” The area is historically known to have had volcanoes from which the hot springs flow.

We stayed at Djibouti Palace Kempinski and at Les Acacias Hotel.

Other tourist destinations in the country include the Goubet Al Kharab believed to be surrounded by rocky cliffs and a famous Devils Island stands in it.

It is believed that Jacques Custeau claimed to have seen and filmed a monster on the Island in 1952 hence the name.

Djibouti being among the small countries in Africa and a desert makes it a tourist destination for foreigners who have never seen a desert.

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