The Makgadikgadi Pans are the largest saltpans in the world – almost the size of Portugal they are the last remaining relic of a ‘superlake’ that once covered the Kalahari. One of the most desolate environments imaginable, a true wilderness experience awaits you here with a mesmerising effect created as the white pan shimmers in the sunlight, punctuated by baobabs and the hardiest of wildlife.
The Makgadikgadi Pans in the northern Kalahari offer a completely unique wilderness experience and one of the most enthralling scenes with shimmering white salt pans with a seemingly endless vista thanks to them being similar in size to Portugal. The Makgadikgadi are made up of two saltpans – Ntwetwe and Sowa which are what is left of a prehistoric ‘superlake’ which once covered the majority of the country.
Today the Makgadikgadi offers interesting game viewing with only the hardiest species surviving the harsh conditions, many of which are migratory by nature. One of the great draws for visitors to the Makgadikgadi are the meerkats which can be observed at close quarters, as well as the chance to interact with traditional San Bushmen in their natural surroundings and learn more about their traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
The Makgadikgadi are perhaps at their most impressive from January to March during the rainy season when the pans occasionally flood. First the migratory birds arrive with flamingos flocking to the lakes formed on the pan. The pans then become the stage for one of the most impressive wildlife migrations in Africa with vast herds of blue wildebeest and zebra flooding the pans.
To the north of the Makgadikgadi Pans lies Nxai Pan National Park, a more vegetated area with grassy pans which play host to a variety of antelope including gemsbok and hartebeest as well as huge herds of zebra during the summer growth resulting from the rains from December to April. There are predators here but they are not seen in the same numbers or density as the areas around the Okavango Delta and Chobe. Nxai Pan is also famous for its baobabs with Baines’ Baobabs being a particularly impressive sight.