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It is so named for its pink waters, caused by cyanobacteria in the water. The color is particularly visible during the dry season. The lake is also known for its high salt content, which, like that of the Dead Sea, allows people to float easily. The lake also has a small salt collecting industry and is often the finishing point of the Dakar Rally.
Many salt collectors work 6–7 hours a day in the lake, which has a salt content close to 40%. In order to protect their skin, they rub their skin with “Beurre de Karité” (shea butter, produced from shea nuts obtained from the Shea nut tree),