Covering over 16 000 square kilometres in the Kalahari basin, the Makgadikgadi Pans promise a unique wilderness experience full of adventure. During good rains, a shallow sheet of water forms on the pans that attract thousands of birds, especially Flamingos.
When the ancient Lake Makgadikgadi began to dry out and evaporate, it left behind enormous glistening salty clay crusts which stretch as far as the eye can see. Archaeological discoveries have dated the area to a time before Homo Sapiens.
The only plant life able to survive on the Pans is a thin layer of algae. Further out, grasslands are home to reptiles including the endemic Makgadikgadi spiny agama. Visitors will also spot palm groves and occasional rocky outcrops and large sand dunes.
Sua, Ntwetwe and Nxai Pans are the largest of the Pans. Kubu and Kukome Islands are igneous rock “islands” in the salt flat of Sua Pan. Kubu Island contains a number of baobab trees. The prominent baobab trees at Nxai Pans are famously depicted in a painting by Thomas Baines.
In mid-November, the Pans transform into a water wonderland during the rainy season, attracting thousands of animals including Africa’s biggest zebra populations. These grazers in turn attract predators. A famous sight at this time is he abundance of pink lesser and greater flamingos feasting on the fresh algae produced by the rains.
Although the roads are often inaccessible during the heavy rains, visitors to the Makgadikgadi Pans will be treated to a breathtaking view no matter what the season. Best viewed at sunset, the Pans offer onlookers a one-of-a-kind experience where they will be able to enjoy complete solitude and absolute isolation.
Places one can stay at: Jack’s Camp, San Camp, Planet Baobab, Nata Lodge, Leroo-La-Tau Bush Lodge.
- Nata Lodge
An oasis set among the Mokolwane palms on the edge of the pans. It is ideally situated close to the entrance to the Nata Sanctuary and is just off the main road, 10 km from Nata village. This is the junction to the Okavango, Chobe and Francistown areas.
- Leroo La Tau Bush Lodge
The park, populated by up to 30,000 zebra and wildebeest closely accompanied by predators, offers guests the chance to experience the exhilaration of seeing large concentrations of game and the resultant predator interaction. The lodge offers a raised hide above the river where guests can enjoy the spectacular wildlife sightings that we’ve come to expect in this part of Botswana.