Nata Travel Guide
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NATA LODGE AND TRAVELLING THROUGH NORTHERN BOTSWANA
Botswana is one of the safest countries to visit in Africa and a world-class safari destination.
Almost half of Botswana's land has been allocated as protected wilderness and national parks, so animal life abounds. Before you embark on your journey, here are the relevant health and travel requirements to consider.
Let's make the trip of your wildest dreams come true!
You can visit the community-run Nata Bird Sanctuary on a self-drive trip too. Effective from April 2022, the updated rates are BWP100 per person for non-residents, BWP70 per person for Botswana residents and BWP50 per person for citizens of Botswana. Then there is an additional vehicle fee, which is BWP35 for non-residents and BWP30 for citizens. It is advisable to bring cash in the currency of Botswana (which is Pula) to pay at the entrance gate.
A two-night stay allows plenty of time to explore the Nata Bird Sanctuary and the Makgadikgadi landscape that lies within the Nata Bird Sanctuary. Then there's the opportunity to relax around the pool too. If travelling from Maun or Chobe and timed correctly, a one-night stay would permit a beautiful sundowner trip to the salt pans, which typically depart at 4pm.
The number one thing to do in Nata is to visit the Nata Bird Sanctuary. Spanning 230 square kilometres, the Nata Bird Sanctuary is the easiest way to see the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans network.
In winter, Nata Bird Sanctuary is famous for the enormous flock of flamingos that descend to breed. However, their presence is entirely dependent on rainfall and water levels. As with any wilderness area, the birds come and go as they please according to the magical rhythm of nature. Once the eggs have hatched, pelicans and flamingoes scatter across the pans in search of food for their young. At this time, they can often be seen up close!
Over 378 bird species have been recorded in the sanctuary and summer is undoubtedly the busiest time of year for birdwatching when migrant species join the resident fowls. Another summer highlight is the transformation of the pan from a dusty white flat saltscape to an endless inland sea. Guests will witness the unique majesty of Sua Pan, which harks back to its origins as a prehistoric superlake.
Both times of year are spectacular for out-of-this-world sunset views and provide the opportunity to see great game, including Plains zebra, Blue wildebeest, Black-backed jackals, Bat-eared foxes and more.
The Nata Airstrip is currently decommissioned and not in use, but it sits just 12km away from Nata Lodge when operational. Currently, we use major airports in Francistown (200km away), Maun (310km away) and Kasane (320km away).
It will take you a full 12-hour day (if the border-crossing is smooth) to drive from Johannesburg to Nata Lodge (900km), and you should then budget four hours to drive from Nata Lodge onwards to Chobe Safari Lodge (320km). Nata Lodge also sits three-and-a-half hours from Maun (310km) and two-and-a-half hours from Francistown (180km).