Nata


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The gateway to the Makgadikgadi Pans


The dust-bowl town of Nata sits along the banks of the Nata River, which carries its rainy-season flow to the Sua Pan. The town serves as the eastern gateway to the Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana’s giant network of saltpans dotting the Kalahari Basin.

The rainy season brings the Nata River’s dry, cracked channel to life. Water gathers, courses, and calls a myriad of water birds to the now muddy banks, from Cape and Hottentot teals, to pink-backed pelicans and lesser flamingo. The Nata Bird Sanctuary provides a haven for these birds, among others such as carmine and blue-cheeked bee-eaters, black-chested snake eagles, and kori bustards. Antelope and zebra graze amid the feathered flocks and jackals can be seen trotting across this 23,000ha wildlife sanctuary.

Makgadikgadi Pan National Park and Nxai Pan National Park enclose only a fraction of the area, but provide travellers with a convenient focal point. Cheetahs tread the clay-crust surface of Nxai Pan, while the returning waters of the Boteti River attracts the great migration of wildebeest, zebra, and antelope, closely followed by their predators. Stout baobab trees pepper the stark landscape of the endless plains, offering limited shade to the desert-adapted animals that stay behind once the others have moved on to greener pastures.

 

Highlights

  • The town of Nata serves as the eastern gateway to the network of saltpans that forms the Makgadikgadi Pans
  • Nata Bird Sanctuary is a haven for over 165 different bird species.This community-run wildlife sanctuary also protects antelope, zebras, foxes, monkeys, jackals, and squirrels
  • Makgadikgadi Pan National Park and Nxai Pan National Park provide travellers with a convenient focal point when visiting the area
  • Nxai Pan is renowned for its cheetah sightings, while large herds of wildebeest and zebra gather at the Boteti River

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