Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt land in the world located in the Province of Daniel Campos, Potosi, southwest of Bolivia. This place has an area of 10,582 square kilometers, located near the top of the Andes at an altitude of 3,659 m above sea level.
Mainland salt has a very beautiful natural scenery. Like the greatest mirror on earth, the sky seems to merge with this land without the horizon line that appears to limit both. Clouds and salts look together beautifully.
The beauty is increasing when the rainy season. When a thin layer of water coats the ground and the bright blue of Bolivian sky dotted with the cloud, Salar de Uyuni appears to be transformed into the sky.
Incredible beauty incarnation is formed through natural processes that occurred thousands of years ago. It stores huge amounts of lithium reserves. This place is home to 50 to 70 percent of the world’s lithium reserves.
The formation of the largest salt land in the world is after several lakes that occupy the area for more than 12,000 years experiencing. The prehistoric lake surrounding the salt land is near the top of the Andes mountain. The lakes are then drought hundreds of times for thousands of years so that the salt wealth have become settled. Deposition of salt contained then melted and form the Salar de Uyuni.
The mainland of this salt contains a lot of sodium, potassium, lithium, magnesium, as well as borax. Among them, the most widely held content is lithium. The compound is believed to be a very important component as it is a vital component for many electric batteries commonly used for pharmaceutical products, smartphones, and electric car batteries.
The white plain of salt has some thicker layers. The floor is not completely smooth, there are several islands that adorn this land. The largest island is the island of Isla Incahuasi (“Inca house”), the peak of an ancient volcano. An island is now a place full of stones and cactus for tourists who come. It is located in the middle of Salar de Uyuni.
There are almost no wild animals and plants that live in this salt land. Plants that can still be found there are dominated by giant cactus (Echinopsis atacamensis pasacana and Echinopsis terijensis). The plant can grow up to a 12 m height. Some bushes like Pilaya and Thona also live there. Quinoa can also be found in this Bolivian Salar.
Three species of pink flamingo birds of South America often come every November to breed in this salt land. The three species are Chilean, Andean, and rare flamingo birds like puna (Jame’s Flamingo). Horned Coot, Andean goose, Andean hillstar, and 80 other bird species were seen there as well. On the islands located in Salar also live animal colonies resembling rabbits like viscachas.
Salar de Uyuni is one of the tourism icons in Bolivia. Many local and foreign tourists who flocked to visit the largest salt land in the world. Given that tourism is one of the most important economic resources for Bolivia, the preservation of the salt soil should be preserved.
For tourists who come needs to care more for the environment. For example by not destroying the extraordinary natural beauty or polluting it with garbage. Environmentalists are very concerned about this site being the target of lithium excavation and tourism activities that could damage the ecosystem there. However, it can be avoided if there is good cooperation between residents there, managers of tourist attractions, and tourists who come to Salar de Uyuni.