Back to Africa Check

No, the water of the Nile River hasn’t turned red – video of the Laguna Roja in Chile

IN SHORT: The blood-red colour of the water is startling, but a video shared on social media doesn’t show the Nile River in Africa. Instead, it’s a naturally red lake in the South American country of Chile.

On 9 November 2023 Africa’s famous Nile River turned red – and it’s a sign of the “end times”.

That’s the claim about a video circulating on social media. It shows a body of dark reddish water, between treeless hills.

Many versions of the claim use TikTok videos overlaid with verse 16:3 of the Christian Bible’s book of Revelation, a vision of the end of the world. It reads:

And the second angel poured out his vial across the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. And the third angel poured out his vial on the rivers and fountains of the waters; and they became blood.

Captions to the video include:

  • The Nile river has turned Red! Another sign of the end times being fulfilled right in front of our eyes.
  • So how long does it need to be before our brothers and sisters will admit we are in the Tribulation. The Nile River turned red like blood. Revelation 16:3 coming to pass …
  • The Nile River has turned red. THE STUBBORN OF EGYPT IS THE COUSE OF THIS.

Screenshots of the video are also doing the rounds online, with the same claim.

The Nile is one of the longest rivers in the world. It begins with rivers that enter Lake Victoria in East Africa and then flows northwards to empty into the Mediterranean Sea on the coast of Egypt.

But the claim is false. The footage isn’t of the Nile. It was shot on a completely different continent and shows a lake, not a river, which has a naturally red colour.


Lake’s red colour thought to be caused by algae

Africa Check ran frames of the video through a Google reverse image search.

This eventually led us to several tourism websites about Laguna Roja in northern Chile, a country in South America.

Its name means “red lagoon” in Spanish, though it is a lake, not a lagoon, as it doesn’t enter or connect with the sea. Its colour is thought to be caused by algae – tiny plant-like organisms – in the water.

Photos on the websites match the landscape, with treeless hills surrounding the water, as seen in the video. At the eight-second mark, for example, a rocky outcrop with a saddled hill behind it can also be seen on the right of this photo of Laguna Rosa, and on the left of this one.

The video doesn’t show the Nile River, red or not. It’s footage of Laguna Roja in northern Chile.

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.