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Nata lies some 180km north of Francistown on the eastern side of the Makgadikgadi Pans and close to the Nata Sanctuary. The best time to visit would be in late summer when most of the migrants have arrived. A minimum stay of two days is recommended and one could expect to find approximately 100 species.

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Specials

Greater Flamingo, Lesser Flamingo, Montagu's Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Red-necked Falcon, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Southern Carmine Bee-eater, Pink-billed Lark, Violet-eared Waxbill, Chestnut-banded Plover. Rarities include Thrush Nightingale, River Warbler, Collared Pratincole, Black-tailed Godwit and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

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Habitats

The habitats range from extensive grasslands and salt pans in the sanctuary to mixed woodland around the lodge including mature Marula and stunted Mopane trees. The Nata River delta also lies within the sanctuary.

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Facilities

Facilities include a swimming pool, bar and restaurant. 4x4 excursions to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans through the Nata Bird Sanctuary are available from the lodge. Accommodation is available in the form of chalets, erected tents and a campsite.

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Birding

The main attraction is the large numbers of both flamingos and pelicans that breed here, but this depends on the water levels. The sanctuary provides a good place to see Montagu's Harrier, Pallid Harrier and if you are lucky Western Marsh-Harrier. Kori Bustard, Secretarybird and Northern Black Korhaan are common here. Other birds likely to be encountered include Double-banded Courser, Harlequin Quail, Burchell's Sandgrouse and Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Grey-backed Sparrowlark and Eastern Clapper Lark and Pink-billed Lark. During termite emergences Southern Carmine Bee-eater and European Bee-eater forage amongst flocks of White Stork, Abdim's Stork and Marabou Stork as well as raptors including Wahlberg's Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Greater Kestrel and Lesser Kestrel.

The Nata River Delta is a good place to see all three species of teal, as well as Saddle-billed Stork, Goliath Heron and many water birds including African Spoonbill, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Chestnut-banded Plover and Caspian Tern. There have been several recent sightings of Collared Pratincole, Black-tailed Godwit and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

The lodge provides delightful birding with close encounters of Southern Pied Babbler, Meyer's Parrot, Blue Waxbill and Violet-eared Waxbill, Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Cape Glossy Starling and Acacia Pied Barbet. In summer warblers are numerous including Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler, Icterine Warbler and if you're fortunate Thrush Nightingale and the elusive River Warbler. Raptors here include a resident pair of Red-necked Falcon, Gabar Goshawk and Shikra.

On a walk behind the lodge one may find interesting birds in the woodland including Lilac-breasted Roller and Purple Roller, Magpie Shrike, Cape Penduline-Tit, Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler and Kalahari Scrub-Robin.

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General

Accommodation is available at Northgate Lodge. Website: www.northgatelodge.com

David Hoddinott 1998.

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