Makgadikgadi Pans - the great salt pan of the Kalahari Desert.


Eastward of Okavango and Maun, and midway across northern Kalahari, is an
elaborate expanse of huge, flat salt pans. With a fascinating geology and
history, this photographers dream plays an important role in the region's
One of the world's largest salt pans, the great Makgadikgadi Pans, covers
about 10,000square kilometers of the Kalahari. Surrounding the salt crusted
flats lush grasslands and palm lined islands. It's a haunting and fascinating environment whose thrifty nature is a perfect contrast to the life that erupts
African Sunset
out of every corner of the Okavango delta. The pans flood between January and March, if it rains enough. This causes grasses to burst info life, flamingos to arrive by their thousands to nest, and a great migration of countless zebra and wildebeest to arrive. When this happens it is one of Africa's great wildlife spectacles.

Central Pans

Because big game on this side of Makgadikgadi is scarce for most of the year, the activities here are unique. They aim to give you an understanding of the area's geology, archaeology and anthropology, as well as a chance to observe its wildlife. Expect nature drives and walks (some guided by Bushmen trackers), night drives, and visits to sites of archaeological interest. When season permits 4WD quad bikes can be used to venture onto the saltpan without damaging its fragile crust. (Note that two nights here is too short; a stay of 3-4 nights is ideal.)

Boteti River Area

The Boteti River forms the western boundary of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. From July to about November this reduces to a string of permanent pools that attract large herds of zebra and wildebeest - sometimes numbering tens of thousands of animals - together with hartebeest, giraffe,
and many predators. During this time it's an exciting area full of animal interaction.

Nxai Pan

North of Makgadikgadi, Nxai Pan National Park is a fascinating park, often under-rated because of the unpredictability of its game. The pans here - Nxai, Kudiakam and Kgama-Kgama - are mostly fossil pans covered with grasses, on which it is easy to spot animals at a distance. During the dry
season there is a good population of springbok, giraffe and gemsbok, though this often increases between around December and April when the rains can turn the park into a veritable salad bowl for herbivores. You'll also find hartebeest here, along with lion, cheetah, and both brown and spotted hyena. Don't leave without seeing Kudiakam Pan, and the famous Baines' Baobabs.

View our preferred safari lodges in Makgadikgadi Pans & Central Kalahari: