Located south west of Lemesos (Limassol), Akrotiri Salt Lake is the largest inland body of water on the island, and is considered to be one of the most important wetlands in the eastern Mediterranean.
The 10.65 square kmlake fills with water during the winter period, and is home to migrating birds between November and March. These include flocks of thousands of flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus), cranes, birds of prey and migrant waders – for whom the depth of 30cm across over half the lake provides a welcome stopover. At its deepest point, the lake is around 1m, and at its lowest it is 2.7m below sea level.
The most basic element of the food chain in the lake’s ecosystem is the small fairy shrimp (Branchinella spinosa), which the other life greatly relies on. When flamingos and other water birds are unable to find the shrimp, they desert the salt lake and continue their journey by travelling to Larnaka Salt Lake or south, towards Africa.
Less saline than Larnaka (Larnaca) Salt Lake, Akrotiri Salt Lake is a significant natural habitat fringed with reed beds. It usually dries up in the summer, but not always, andgeologists hypothesize the lake was formed after an offshore islet was gradually joined to the mainland.
Courtesy of the CTO