Makgadikgadi Pans National park, is situated in the middle of the dry Savannah. This Botswana National Park is found along the north- eastern Botswana. Makgadikgadi Pans National park covers an area of 3 900 km2. It is also a salt pan which comprises of the remains of the formerly lake Makgadikgadi.
Makgadikgadi Pans National park is one of the largest salt pans in the world. In technical terms, Makgadi is not just one pan but many panels with a sandy desert. The biggest being the sua (Sowa), the Nwetwas and the nxai pan are located south-east of the Okavango Delta. They and surrounded by the Kalahari Desert. Makgadikgadi Pans is about 1900 m2 (4,921.0 km2) that are the largest individual pan.
Wildlife in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
The pans are sandy desert with only a thin layer of blue-green algae. They have a very poor biodiversity during the extreme dry season of heavy hot winds. They are filled with only with salt water. After a storm the pan becomes an important refuge for migrant animals. They inlude wildebeest and one of Africa’s largest zebra populations.
In the wet season migrating birds including ducks, goats and white pelicans are taken along. This casserole is home to one of only two breeding colonies of Greater flamingos, which is found within the Makgadikgadi Pans, in southern Africa.
Makgadikgadi Pans National park is host to a variety accessible and spacious camps and lodges ranging from luxury, mid-range, and budget accommodation which meet the interest of every traveller visiting the park on a Botswana Safari.
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, offers several activities such as safari trips, game drives, bird watching, nature walks, among others with abundant Wildlife comprising of the eland, tigers, zebras, guet, gemsbok, springbok, red hartebeest and much more to offer you the best of your safari in the national park.
Where is Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
The primary entry to the park is on the Francistown road between Maun and the town of Nata. A 4/4 truck is preferable to push it. The road is 45 km (28 miles) west from Gweta. At Kumaga (Xhumaga), approximately 47 miles south-west of the island, there is another entrance where you can access the park from that is from Kumaga (Xhumaga), which is about 48km (30 miles) south-west of the main entrance (toward the Central Kalahari Game Reserve).
A Safari to Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
If you were able to travel back in time tens of thousands of years, the area of northern Botswana would be the destination. This area is known as the Makgadikgadi Pans would appear radically different to how it looks today.
It was once a vast lake, larger than Switzerland. This immense body of water was surrounded by a region of swamps and wetlands that provided an ideal habitat for early humans, with abundant food and water.
Visit the area now and instead of a giant lake, you’ll find something no less spectacular. There is a series of dry salt pans that were once the lakebed. Although the pans appear arid and inhospitable, enough water reaches them. This is via the Nata and Boteti Rivers and from seasonal rains. The support large areas of summer savannah grassland, and a fascinating array of animals and birds which have adapted to life in this challenging environment.
Things to Do in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
There are many things to do on youe Botswana safari to Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. The are Safari rides, Game drives, Bird watching, Tour of the Gweta and Bush Walks. Wildlife includes eland, lions, zebras, cheetah, gemsbok, springbok, red hartebeest, bushbuck, giraffe, steenbok, elephants and many more.
When to Visit Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
There are better times of the year to visit Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. These are the times to experience the otherworldly landscape of the gleaming white salt pans. The best time to visit Botswana to the pans are the dry season. from May to September. The sense of space is increased by the fact that you can see the curvature of the Earth! In the dry season, activities like sleep-outs in the pans are much easier to arrange and enjoy.
A summer highlight is the migration of huge herds of zebra and wildebeest to the north of the pans. So many animals are involved that this is believed to be the second largest migration of large mammals in Africa. The zebra which are Botswana’s national animal make the long trek. They move from the Okavango Delta to the Pans in search of fresh grazing. As it is not nearly as well-known as the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti and Masai Mara, this is sometimes referred to as the “secret migration”.
Climate in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
The weather in the Makgadikgadi Pans is similar to the rest of northern Botswana, with two main seasons each year. When it rains, many roads and tracks can become very hard to navigate as they turn muddy almost instantly making the pans themselves inaccessible in the rainy season (summer – that is, from October to April).
Like all arid areas, the Pans can be very fresh in the evenings (and especially) the early mornings. Daily variations in temperature are particularly noticeable in the dry season, when the lack of cloud cover sees a lot of heat lost from the ground (but the displays of stars are spectacular).