Makgadikgadi Pans & Nxai Pan National Parks

Separated by the road connecting Maun with Nata, Makgadikgadi Pans and Nxai Pan national parks can be considered part of the same overarching ecosystem. Although predominantly known for the epic photography which results from the otherworldly landscapes formed by their dazzling white salt crusts, the pans can offer reliable game viewing opportunities too.

The last vestiges of a super-lake which covered most of the Kalahari Desert millions of years ago, today’s pans host an eclectic range of species. Makgadikgadi’s most lovable are its meerkats, who will use any vantagepoint – even a safari goer’s shoulders – to improve their view of the surrounding landscape. Other species they might catch sight of include ostrich, hyena, and aardwolf – an insect-eating hyena-civet crossover. Beyond its animal sightings, popular activities at Makgadikgadi include quad bike riding across the haze of the pans.

Neighboring Nxai Pan National Park, pronounced ‘nigh,’ incorporates several additional salt pans, including Kgama-Kgama and Kudiakam pans, as well as wispy grasslands. However, its most famous sight must be the Baines Baobabs, which are so special the park was expanded to include them in 1992.

The national park’s best known animal inhabitants are the zebra that gather in Nxai Pans during their green season migration. They are joined by wildebeest, springbok, eland, oryx and giraffe all seeking to ruminate on the fresh new grasses. But predators are also present, with lion and cheetah leading the pack.

Top Botswana Travel Destinations

Central Kalahari Game Reserve / Chobe National Park / Kwando, Selinda, & Linyanti Reserves / Maun / Moremi Game Reserve / The Okavango Delta

The Big Five

African Elephant / Cape Buffalo / Leopard / Lion / Rhino

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