There is really nothing much in Nata. In fact, it is but an African desert on your way to the northern part of Botswana, if you decide to drive instead of fly, to experience Africa a bit more authentically.
We were greeted by sand as we arrived at the lodge. I thought we got lost and ended up on the beach. I suppose not knowing much about the place isn’t such a bad thing. It’s actually quite refreshing, even though my usual choice of shoes and sand don’t mix well at all.
Many will find the 300km, less than 4-hour drive from Nata to Kasane rather boring but it has its African beauty and it does have its magnificent surprise.
Before this drive, I had never seen so many elephants chilling on the side of the road, outside of a game reserve. It was awesome. I know that there are far more beautiful photographs of elephants around. These pictures simply show what you can see and experience if you were to drive this African road. Remember that this road isn’t within a game park. It truly is fantastic!
Do be careful and follow the speed limits and all other traffic laws. There is also that prevention of foot and mouth disease in this part of the world.
Note the following distances:
Francistown to Nata – 185 km, 2 hours & 20 minutes
Maun to Nata – 303 km, 3 hours & 50 minutes
Martin’s Drift Border to Nata – 427 km, est. 8 hours & 30 minutes
Once you’re driving, you’d understand why a 427 km distance would take more than 8 hours to drive. I suppose one might drive the distance in a shorter period of time but the long drive is a good enough excuse to spend a night or a day or even two in Nata Lodge.
I didn’t expect to like the lodge. I have a tendency to be that irritating city girl in high heels. I was pleasantly surprised. The chalet was inviting and cozy. I had wished that we were booked for two nights instead of only one. It was more than the resting place I thought it would be.
It is no One and Only but the tub reminded me of the bathroom there. And, like a beach, there is an outdoor shower. Fortunately, it was a scorcher so this feature was perfect.
We all enjoyed some time in the pool. In fact, the little princess insisted on going back for a dip in the morning before we head out to Kasane.
If you’re not a “local” in Africa, a safari might be in order. This can be arranged with the lodge. Because we’ve done our fair share of game drives, we didn’t go for this.
Without a doubt, you will be taken to the salt pans. We did not make it to the salt pans as we drove on our own and after some rains, we were not very confident that we would manage the water and more importantly, what the water may be hiding. Where we got to was such a spectacular place all the same. We still had a great spot for some beautiful pictures. I’m sure we will go back and do it properly.
Watch it though as being in Nata could turn your little ones to mini Indiana Jones who does karate.