Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana

The Makgadikgadi is an extraordinary region of Botswana, characterized by inhospitable salt pans stretching as far as the eye can see, rocky granite islands and open grasslands that spring to life in the wet season. Plains surrounding the saltpans are dotted with ostrich, zebra, springbok and oryx, closely pursued by dark-maned lions. There are beautiful clusters of palm trees and odd stunted baobabs that have stood for millions of years.

Botswana's baobab trees are a beautiful reminder of nature standing the test of time

The Makgadikgadi pans are all that is left of an enormous ancient lake that was once fed by the Okavango, Chobe and Zambezi Rivers, running south-eastwards via the Limpopo River and into the Indian Ocean. These watercourses changed over time, influenced by the tectonic shifting of the unpredictable Kalahari-Zimbabwe fault-line and also by a gradual rise of temperature, perhaps as a result of climate change.

The oryx strikes a formidable pose against the backdrop of the Kalahari Desert

In 1970, the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park was declared, which today comprises an area of 4,900 sq km. The Makgadikgadi’s two largest pans, Ntwetwe pan and Sua pan (sometimes called Sowa pan) do not fall within the park’s boundaries but are reachable by 4x4 in dry season. These are both spectacular places to explore for those who seek freedom in solitude. Nata Bird Sanctuary, on the north-east of Sua Pan is run by a community trust to protect the multitude of water-birds that flock there annually.

On the western border of Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is the Boteti (or Botletle) River, a prime drinking and bathing spot for domestic cattle as well as migrating zebra and elephant.

Nxai National Park is one oof Botswana's many drawcards

Nxai Pan National Park is another special area to explore where, in the peak of wet season, travellers spend a good deal of the night listening to the evocative roaring of lions that ambush both springbok and impala at waterholes during daylight hours.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Makgadikgadi Pans and Okavango Delta Safari Adventure (7 days)

day 1 to 2

Arrival in Botswana | Magadikgadi Pans National Pa

day 3 to 4

Off to the Okavango Delta | Moremi Game Reserve

day 5 to 6

day 7

End of Journey

View Full Itinerary

You might also like

Shopping and markets in Botswana

Every major town in Botswana has at least one shopping centre or mall, which includes major supermarkets, liquor stores, clothing, furniture, homeware, and electronic shops, in addition to local banks and ATMs. In terms of gift stores and curio shops, some safari lodges stock their own locally made woven baskets, jewellery, wooden carvings and bowls, and these items are usually…

The cultures of Botswana

Travellers greeting local Batswana will notice that the spoken “dumela rra/mma” (man/woman) is accompanied by a handshake with the right hand while the left hand moves to gently grasp one’s own right forearm. This greeting is commonly shared between local people, and tourists are welcome to take part in the tradition. A large number of people from Botswana and indeed southern…

Botswana in December

December and January are Botswana’s wettest months, with afternoon thunderstorms a regular feature across the country. The rains are cooling, but daytime temperatures remain high, averaging in the low 30°C’s, but with hot days of up to 40°C or more. Nights tend to be humid and warm, often not dropping below 20°C. The clear atmosphere and thunderclouds make for excellent…

The healthcare system in Botswana

The public sector dominates the healthcare system in Botswana - operating most of the care facilities. However, there is a huge gap between public and private medical provisions, and tourists are recommended to purchase private health insurance for the trip duration to Botswana. As in much of the rest of Africa, the public healthcare system mainly serves a lower-income bracket, while…

Walking safari in Botswana

Walking safaris in Botswana are geared towards the adventurous travellers looking to augment their safari experience by immersing themselves in nature. If you consider yourself adventurous, and would like to appreciate some of Botswana’s most pristine places on foot, then consider a walking holiday in this beautiful Southern African nation. Botswana is mostly flat, which means the…

Botswana in January

This is one of Botswana’s highest rainfall months with an average of 100mm falling in often unpredictable and heavy downpours, and as a result January is not the most popular time to visit. It does mean that prices are a lot lower, making this prime safari destination more accessible to travellers on a lower budget. Birding is excellent at this time of year; however the water levels in…

Popular Botswana Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Pangolin Photography Tour of Botswana (7 days)

Pangolin Photography Tour of Botswana (7 days)

Immerse yourself in the wildlife and stunning natural beauty of the Chobe riverfront and pristine Okavango Delta as you capture nature's most spectacular beauty...

Campfire | Popular Botswana Safari Through the Delta (5 days)

Popular Botswana Safari Through the Delta (5 days)

Experience the remote wilderness of Botswana on a safari that offers you luxurious game viewing like no other....

 | Okavango Delta Tour (4 days)

Okavango Delta Tour (4 days)

Moremi Private Game Reserve is home for 4 days on this safari. Highlights are a helicopter flight to the Delta, boat and foot safari's and en-suite tented accommodation...

 | Expedition to Zimbabwe and Botswana (8 days)

Expedition to Zimbabwe and Botswana (8 days)

Explore the thundering Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and the wildlife wonderland of the Okavango Delta...

 | Mobile Camping Safari in Botswana (7 days)

Mobile Camping Safari in Botswana (7 days)

One week of wild camping in Botswana's Moremi Game Reserve, arguably one of the most beautiful areas in the Okavango Delta...

 | Camping in Moremi Game Reserve (5 days)

Camping in Moremi Game Reserve (5 days)

Watch the Okavango Delta come alive with the sounds of bird calls, the roar of lions in one of the most beautiful reserves in Botswana...

 | Wild Botswana and Zimbabwe Safari (10 days)

Wild Botswana and Zimbabwe Safari (10 days)

Tour the pristine habitats of Botswana and Zimbabwe's finest wildlife-rich assets with the twist of refined luxury...

 | Classic Botswana Family Safari (9 days)

Classic Botswana Family Safari (9 days)

Connect as a family while tracking wildlife and incredible landscapes through some of the most remote stretches of Botswana....

Family | Passage Through Southern Africa in a Luxury Train (10 days)

Passage Through Southern Africa in a Luxury Train (10 days)

Weave your way through a safari medley that introduces you to the mighty Victoria Falls, a remote slice of the Okavango Delta and the African gems in between....

 | Highlights of Botswana Tour de Force (14 days)

Highlights of Botswana Tour de Force (14 days)

The ideal safari to capture Botswana's unrivalled beauty and abundance of flora and fauna through the lens...

Ready to start your adventure?

Your tailor-made African holiday starts here...

How can we get hold of you?

How many people will be travelling?

Details

Please tell us more about your travel plans?


Discover Africa needs the contact information you provide, to us to contact you. You may unsubscribe from these communications at anytime.

Submitting your inquiry

Thank you, your enquiry has been received

Thank you, your enquiry has been received

Reference:

 +27 21 422 3498
   discover.africa
    info@discoverafrica.com
    8AM - 5PM GMT+2