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Most people come to Nata for the bird sanctuary, but Nata is also a main stop for all traffic between Francistown, Kasane and Maun. So it's easy to get a lift in Nata.

The Nata Sanctuary lies 170 km northwest of Francistown on the eastern tip of the Makgadikgadi Pans. The area gives you the opportunity to watch wildlife (especially birds) in a pristine environment.

The sanctuary covers an area of approximately 230km² and is divided in land (55%) and pan (or partly wet, 45%) surface. The pans are the remains of what once was one of the largest inland lakes in the region. The lake and surrounding area were filled with wildlife that supported the people living in the area. About 10,000 years ago the lake started drying up and nowadays the pans are only filled with water when the Nata river flows after the summer rains in Zimbabwe. The water fills the pans with a broad sheet of shallow water and millions of birds migrate into the area each year to nest and breed.

Because the sanctuary offers various habitats it attracts a wide range of birds. Some species inhabit the grasslands while others prefer the adjacent woodlands. The few permanent pools provide a place for ducks and teals; it's a habitat in which they survive. During seasons of good floods, large flock of flamingos and pelicans arrive. The area also falls in the path of palearctic and inter-African migrants such as the Milvus kites, steppe eagles and the European and Carmine bee-eaters. Because of an abundance of birds, various species of raptors are also attracted to the area.

The area has been a protected sanctuary since 1988 when the Nata Conservation Committee requested for such status. There are 4 villages in the area, that provide the necessary manpower to maintain and protect the sanctuary.

In the mopane woodland, not far from the entrance to the parkyou'll find a camping place, including places to make your own 'braai' or bar-b-que.

Visiting hours are usually from 7 AM to 7 PM but special arrangements can be made for different hours.

The usual souvenirs can be purchased from locals near the entrance gate.


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