Nestled next to the small village of Mitsamioli on the northern tip of Grand Comore, a turquoise saltwater lake sits in a crater just yards from the crystalline ocean. This small lake, known as Lac Salé or Lac Niamawi, likely formed as a result of volcanic activity from the nearby Mount Karthala in the 16th century.
But local folklore has another origin story for the so-called “bottomless” lake. The story goes that a holy man or witch came to the village of Niamawi asking for water, but everyone refused them. In revenge, the witch cursed the town, dooming its inhabitants to the wrath of an erupting volcano. Once the lava and ash cleared, the lake had replaced the now-submerged town. A more recent story says that back in 1977 a group of Belgian divers hoping to explore the crater dived down into the lake never to resurface again.
Throughout the day, the lake seems to change color, shifting from aquamarine to a deep green-blue. A layer of volcanic rock rests on the top edge of the crater. The lake continues to be a beautiful hike for visitors and locals alike, and there’s a short trail that winds around the crater and the nearby volcanic hill offering views of the vast ocean beyond.
Know Before You Go
Lac Salé is about an hour car ride away from the Comoros capital, Moroni, but be sure to leave a lot of extra time because the roads in Comoros are not always in the best shape.