They look as though someone has tipped in a load of pink dye while no one was looking.

But in fact these pink lakes are a natural phenomenon and not only draw visitors from far and wide but also provide livelihoods to local people.

From the vibrant Lake Hillier, on Middle Island in the Recherche Archipelago, in Western Australia, to a protected pink nature reserve bordering a Spanish city, these shots show how something considered unpleasant – algae – can look so beautiful.

 
Lake Hillier

Lake Hillier is a pink-coloured lake on Middle Island, the largest of the islands and islets that make up the Recherche Archipelago, in Western Australia. The lake spans only about 600 meters wide but its rose pink colour is unmistakable

 

 
Lake Retba, in the Cap Vert peninsula of Senegal, has a high concentration of salt which is harvested by local people. The lake is also a tourist attraction

Lake Retba, in the Cap Vert peninsula of Senegal, has a high concentration of salt which is harvested by local people. The lake is also a tourist attraction

 

 

Pink lakes tend to have a striking colour due to the presence of algae that produces carotenoids, such as Dunaliella Salina, a type of halophile green micro-algae especially found in sea salt fields.

Once the lake water reaches a salinity level greater than that of sea water, the temperature is high enough and adequate light conditions are provided, the alga begins to accumulate the red pigment beta carotene.

In Senegal, Lake Retba, in the Cap Vert peninsula of the country, has such a high concentration of salt – 40 per cent – that is harvested by local people.

The lake is dotted with salt collectors working up to seven hours a day, using long shovels to pile boats high with the mineral.

To protect their skin from the water they rub their skin with Shea butter.

Western Australia’s Lake Hillier is perhaps more striking since it is surrounded by lush vegetation.

Many countries from around the world have pink lakes, including Senegal, Canada, Spain, Australia and Azerbaijan

Many countries from around the world have pink lakes, including Senegal, Canada, Spain, Australia and Azerbaijan

 

 
Senegal's Retba Lake is dotted with salt collectors working up to seven hours a day. To protect their skin from the water, which is up to 40 per cent salt, they rub their skin with shea butter

Senegal’s Retba Lake is dotted with salt collectors working up to seven hours a day. To protect their skin from the water, which is up to 40 per cent salt, they rub their skin with shea butter

 

 
Some of the most urban of the world's pink lakes are found next to the Spanish city of Torrevieja, in South West Spain

Some of the most urban of the world’s pink lakes are found next to the Spanish city of Torrevieja, in South West Spain. Two Salinas de Torrevieja (meaning Salt Pans of Torrevieja) border the coastal city and are protected parks for flora and fauna

 

 

The lake, on Middle Island, the largest of the islands and islets that make up the Recherche Archipelago, spans only about 600 meters wide but its rose pink colour is unmistakable.

Canada’s Dusty Rose Lake, in British Columbia is pink due to the particulate in the glacial melt waters feeding it. The surrounding rock is purple/pink in colour; the water feeding the lake is said to have a lavender hue.

Perhaps the most unusually located pink lakes are in south west Spain, where two large salt-water lakes sit adjacent to the city of Torrevieja.

Most of the world's pink lakes have a high concentration of salt, giving them salty sand-like beaches

Most of the world’s pink lakes have a high concentration of salt, giving them salty sand-like beaches

 

 

Canada’s Dusty Rose Lake, in British Columbia is pink due to the particulate in the glacial melt waters feeding it. The surrounding rock is purple/pink in colour; the water feeding the lake had a lavender hue to it

 

The Salinas de Torrevieja (meaning Salt Pans of Torrevieja) turn pink when sunlight falls on the algae-rich waters.

The lakes are now protected national parks and are a haven for migratory birds, divers flora and fauna.

Many countries from around the world have pink lakes, including Senegal, Canada, Spain, Australia and Azerbaijan.

 

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