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

Popular Botswana Safaris

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

 | Affordable Okavango Delta, Chobe and Victoria Falls Journey (8 days)

Affordable Okavango Delta, Chobe and Victoria Falls Journey (8 days)

Spent three nights at Chobe safari Lodge, two nights at Rra Dinare, two nights Moremi Crossing, as well as a full day visit to Victoria Falls...

 | Best of Botswana and South Africa (11 days)

Best of Botswana and South Africa (11 days)

Experience the best of two of southern Africa's gems ...

 | Epic Botswana Adventure (9 days)

Epic Botswana Adventure (9 days)

A tour de force of the Chobe, Okavango Delta and Makgadikgadi Pans in only nine days...

 | 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...

 | Waterfalls and Wildlife: Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park Journey (7 days)

Waterfalls and Wildlife: Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park Journey (7 days)

Experience the smoke that thunders and enjoy spotting elephant, buffalo, lion and hippos on the Chobe River...

Boating on the Chobe River | Quick Victoria Falls and Chobe Experience (5 days)

Quick Victoria Falls and Chobe Experience (5 days)

Visit Livingstone, Zambia, to marvel at the Victoria Falls – or 'the smoke that thunders' – before going on safari and a river cruise in Botswana's Chobe National Park...

 | Enchanting Moremi Mobile Camping Experience (7 days)

Enchanting Moremi Mobile Camping Experience (7 days)

Moremi Game Reserve in the beautiful Okavango Delta is well-known for self-drive camper vanning. Explore this exciting way of travel with us ...

 | 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...

 | Highlights of Northern Botswana (8 days)

Highlights of Northern Botswana (8 days)

Experience two of Botswana's best safari destinations; the Savute region and Okavango Delta ...

Camp fire | Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta and Chobe Safari (7 days)

Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta and Chobe Safari (7 days)

This three-in-one journey will show you the majestic Victoria Falls, the massive elephant bulls of Chobe and the natural wonder that is the Okavango Delta...



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