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A traveler’s guide to the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

10 January 2017

The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is a salt pan - with an area of 3,900 kilometers. Situated in the middle of the dry savanna of the north-eastern Botswana. However, it is one of the largest salt flats in the world. Lying south-west of the Okavango Delta and surrounded by the Kalahari Desert.

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park comprises nutritious grasslands, attracting thousands of animals. It is however, an area of low rainfall and the Boteti River rarely flows to capacity - but often has everlasting pools that attracts waterbuck, bushbuck and hippos.

Journeying into this magical land and across the desolate pans, you will somehow feel its ancient glamour. If you’re planning a Botswana safari - a traveler's guide to the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is definitely what you need.

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The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is a salt pan - with an area of 3,900 kilometers. Situated in the middle of the dry savanna of the north-eastern Botswana. However, it is one of the largest salt flats in the world. Lying south-west of the Okavango Delta and surrounded by the Kalahari Desert.

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park comprises nutritious grasslands, attracting thousands of animals. It is however, an area of low rainfall and the Boteti River rarely flows to capacity - but often has everlasting pools that attracts waterbuck, bushbuck and hippos.

Journeying into this magical land and across the desolate pans, you will somehow feel its ancient glamour. If you’re planning a Botswana safari - a traveler's guide to the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is definitely what you need.

When to go

The best time to visit the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, depends on the kind of experience you’re looking for. The pans itself is only accessible during the dry season - from March to October. When the glaring white surface spreads so far that you can see the curvature of the earth.

The dry winter season of March to October. This season includes peak winter days with sunny and warm daylight hours, but the nights are extremely cold. However, from August to November - windy weather sets in, with October being the hottest month - the wildebeest and herd of zebra migrates slowly towards the Boteti River in anticipation of the rains.

Meanwhile, the wet summer season of November to March. Road become impossible - but the Pans usually retain water into April or May. Which is great for birding and game watching.

What to see

 

Our first lion sighting: Blondie, one of the brothers in the Makgadikgadi pride #onassignment

A photo posted by Hillary Richard (@hillarymcn) on

Games such as springbok, gemsbok, wildebeest and zebras move slowly from the pans in the South East of the park, to the Boteti River on the Western side of the park. Animals accumulate in their thousands during this migration - one can also see shy antelope such as duiker and bushbuck in heavily wooded areas beside the river.

The main objective in visiting the Makgadikgadi National Park is not to view games only, but to experience true remoteness and absolute isolation. However, the best way to view the pans during this season is to fly over the pans.  You will then also see the spectacular flamingo flocks.

What to do

Among the many things to do in the Makgadikgadi Nationals Park are safari rides, game drives, birdwatching, tour of the Gweta as well as sight wildlife such as eland, lions, zebras, cheetah, gemsbok, springbok, red hartebeest bushbuck, giraffe, steenbok, elephants and many more.  

However, experience the view of large herds of antelope converging on the great lakes to drink water and play. Encounter Bushmen trackers that will take you on guided walks to historical sites as well as you will learn about the connection between their ancient culture and the natural environment.

Places to stay

Choose to stay in one of these stylish lodges - and you will be guaranteed an unforgettable safari experience. Planet Baobab Lodge, Gweta Lodge, Pelican Lodge, Nata Camping Pelican Lodge, Elephant Sands, Nata Lodge, Kumaga Camping, Kubu Island Camping and many more

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