The white Makgadikgadi salt pans cover a vast Switzerland-sized patch of Botswana. This was Africa’s largest inland sea a million years ago, before tectonic movement to the west transformed everything. Rivers changed course and water evaporated from the lakes, leaving condensed minerals and salt behind. Today the pans fill only with rain water then dry again to a salty crust.
I first visited Nata Lodge in 2005 after camping rough in the Moremi Game Reserve. I remember it as a welcome oasis of cool and calm. In 2008 there was a devastating fire but the lodge rose again from the ashes in 2010, its wooden cabins as lovely as ever with their freestanding indoor baths and outdoor showers. The lodge is a good place to stop over on your way to Chobe National Park, either in a chalet or at the campsite, and a kick-off point to the community-based Nata Sanctuary. The lodge’s guides take tours to Makgadikgadi pans and the local village of Nata.
It’s an easy drive (less than 10km) from Under One Botswana Sky’s Nata Lodge to the Nata Sanctuary, which is managed by a trust for the benefit of the local communities of Nata, Manxotae, Sepako and Maposa. We saw a few swirling dust devils in the distance, wildebeest, jackals and a number of bird species but there were no flamingo, the water in the main pan still too deep for them to feed when we were there in May. We did see great white pelicans on a far shoreline and flying overhead. We loved the quiet solitude and the flat, open space where it felt like we could see forever. There’s a small campsite near the entrance gate and a viewing platform about 7km away on the edge of the pan.
Originally posted by Roxanne Reid. Read the whole article here.