Salt: A Brief History
Salt is essential for life and health.
I can feel someone thinking…
This can’t be true.
Water should be the one essential for life and health.
I do not disagree with you.
But you should know that it’s hard for a man to eat food which is lacking salt. It is also used as a preservative for food in most African cultures
It has been central to human civilizations from the very beginning. Neolithic settlements were common at salt springs. Desert caravans even traded salt on an ounce-for-ounce basis for gold.
As early as the 6th century, in the sub-Sahara, Moorish merchants routinely traded salt ounce for ounce for gold. In Abyssinia, slabs of rock salt called ‘amôlés, became the coin of the realm. Each one was about ten inches long and two inches thick. Cakes of salt were also used as money in other areas of central Africa.
As a food preservative, salt enabled the beginning of global exploration. Food became available year-round and on long overland treks or ocean voyages. As a food seasoning, salt is indispensable to flavorful cooking.
Africa has a number of salt sources. Today am going to tell you about five of these sources.
Lake Natron is a salt lake located in northern Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border in the eastern branch of the East African Rift. The lake produces approximately 168 million tons of total salt per year. Temperatures in the lake can reach 60 °C (140 °F)
Lake Natron is also one of the most serene salt lakes in Africa. Popular belief has it that the water pH is so high (10.5) that living animals that come in contact with its water are instantly turned to stone. This obviousely false, it usually is a long process.
Coordinates: 02°25′S 36°00′E
Lake Katwe is the largest salt lake in Uganda and one of Africa’s oldest industries still surviving. The Lake produces 40,000 tons per annum and this has played an important political and economic role in the history of the western part of Uganda. Temperatures in the lake can reach 140-200°C.
Coordinates: 133333 and 29.866667
Lake Retba is situated in the north of the Cap Vert peninsula of Senegal within 30km north-east of Dakar in northwest Africa.Lake Retba in Senegal contains large amounts of salt that can be harvested and it produces over 450,000 tons per annum. Temperature close to 48 degrees Celsius
Coordinates: 14.8383° N, 17.2448° W
Lake Assal (Djibouti)
Lake Assal is located in Djibouti in a closed depression at the northern end of the Great Rift Valley in the Danakil Desert. It is bounded by hills on the western region. The lake produces 300 million tons of salts per annum. Temperatures as high as 52 °C (126 °F) f
Lake Afrera is a salty lake in northern Ethiopia of the Afar Region; it is one of the lakes of the Danakil Depression covering an area of 100 km2. The lake produces over 290 million tons of salt per annum.
Coordinates: 13°17′N 40°55′E
What have I missed?
Okay guys. Hit me with it. What salt sources in Africa have I missed? Please leave everything and anything that you can think of in the comments section. I’m hoping we can come up with a nice sized list to help out all the newcomers.