Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana

The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is located southeast of the Okavango Delta and covers an area of 12,000 km². It is one of the largest salt flats in the world. The plain is the only thing left of the immense Lake Makgadikgadi, which dried up a thousand years ago.

Makgadikgadi consists of different pans, the three largest being Sua (or Sowa), Ntwetwe and Nxai Pan. The clay layer is too salty for vegetation and therefore provides too little food for the large mammals. As soon as the summer rains fall, the pans of Sua and Ntwetwe fill with a layer of water, thousands of zebras and wildebeest migrate from the western Boteti river to the pans, closely followed by their predators.

This migration is similar to that in the Serengeti in Tanzania, only in Makgadikgadi do the animals move exclusively from east to west and vice versa. Tens of thousands of flamingos also go to the Sua Pan, which then turns beautifully pink and produces a colorful spectacle.

The Nxai Pan National Park borders the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park and is located north of the Maun-Nata road. This section is 2,100 km² in size and consists of various pans, of which Nxai Pan is the largest. In the period December to April (the rainy season) you can find a lot of animals here, such as zebras, various antelope species, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas and sometimes also elephants and buffalo.

Approximately 30 km from the park entrance, the Baines’ baobabs loom up for you. This group of seven baobabs is named after the 19th-century explorer and artist Thomas Baines, who was the first to paint them on canvas a hundred and fifty years ago.

A popular activity in Makgadikgadi is a quad bike ride across the white salt plains to remote archaeological sites. A visit to the caves of meerkats (meerkats) at sunrise is an absolute must.