ISOLP’s most serene lakes

Lakes can be drab, deforested, polluted, urbanised, featureless and thoroughly dull. But occasionally you come upon a lake that is of just the right size and shape to stir the soul. Here are a few of the most serene lakes I’ve encountered about the globe:

Serene lakes: Africa

Lake Nakuru, Kenya

Flamingos, Lake Nakuru NP, Kenya

Flamingos in Lake Nakuru Kenya. Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

During peak season Lake Nakuru, in southwestern Kenya, hosts between one and two million flamingos. It’s a gathering that has been described as the greatest bird spectacle on Earth.

Serene lakes: Central America

Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala

Benjamin at Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala

Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala. Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

Volcano-ringed Lago de Atitlan, in central Guatemala, is one of the favourite lakes of the backpacker hordes. There are mountains to climb, villages to visit, and ample tourist junk to purchase.

Lago de Yojoa, Honduras

Lago de Yojoa, Honduras

Lago de Yojoa, Honduras. Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

Take a sunrise cruise on Lago de Yojoa, Honduras. Go by rowboat if you can; gliding silently over the still, glassy surface is a superb way to start the day. Sunrise is also the best time to be out on the lake if you wish to engage in a little bird spotting.

Serene lakes: Asia

Lake Mashu and Lake Kussharo, Hokkaido, Japan

Lake Mashu, Akan National Park, Japan

Lake Mashu, Hokkaido, Japan. Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

Lake Mashu is a caldera lake, and it’s endorheic (it’s a closed basin; no inlet, no outlet). It was once classified as the clearest lake in the world (in the 1930s) with visibility of 41.6 metres.

Serene lakes: Europe

Lake Ohrid, Macedonia

Lake Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia

Lake Ohrid, Macedonia. Photo credit: Benjamin White

Lake Ohrid (that’s pronounced Occckrhid) is a picturesque, tranquil water body shared between the Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania. Locals love telling you how deep the lake is – it’s 288 metres deep, which I concede is pretty deep – but it wasn’t the depth of the lake that impressed me, it was the calmness that welled up inside me whenever I sat and gazed out over its glassy, still waters.

Lake Galvė, Lithuania

Trakai Lake Castle, Lithuania

Trakai Lake Castle, Lake Galve, Lithuania. Photo credit: Benjamin White

Lithuania has a long, cold, dark winter. Months go by without sunlight; there’s fog, wind, grey skies, ice. If I lived here I’m sure I would end up cursing the winter before long. As a visitor though, wintertime is full of delights, especially if you’re heading to Lake Galvė.

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