Lake Natron is located in northern Tanzania contiguous to the Tanzania - Kenyan border in Africa's Great Rift Valley, in Ngorongoro and Monduli Districts within the Arusha Region. The lake is quite shallow, less than three meters (10 feet) deep, and varies in width depending on its water level and surrounded by Rift Valley escarpments and volcanic mountains whereof the mountain of Ol'donyo Lengai in the south is still active.
It is the only regularly breeding area for Lesser Flamingos in East Africa and furthermore, it offers feeding and roosting opportunities for an estimated 100,000 individuals of other species of water birds many of them Pale arctic migrants. In the lake margins springs and a few perennial streams are a source of freshwater for Maasai, cattle, wildlife and flamingos that co-exists in this huge lake basin.
T he lake surface is covered by an evaporate salt crust, which dissolves only during the rainy season. The environment of Lake Natron is extremely harsh and dry.
T he Lake Basin is about 930 km² and t he lake is shallow with a maximum depth of about 2 m.
The bottom of the Lake Natron basin, which is situated at about 600m, comprises lagoons, soda flats and lakeshore environments such as springs, seasonal or permanent rivers and streams. Permanent rivers include Ngare Sero and Peninj. In the dry season the basin and especially the surrounding land is dry except for a number of springs and rivers.
Soda ash exploitation:
Local people use soda ash for different purposes mainly domestic, however, soda ash is sold or exchange locally and generate some income. Cattle also lick soda ash.