Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan National Parks

Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan National Parks

The Makgadikgadi and Nxai Salt Pans are all that remain of an enormous inland sea that used to covered 31,000 square miles. Situated southeast of the Okavango Delta, today they are the world’s largest salt pans and a vast, timeless wilderness. The pans become empty and desolate during the dry season (June-October), only to transform into lush grasslands once the rains arrive (December-May).

During the green season, enormous herds of zebra and wildebeest migrate to the pans in search of nutritious grass. This is the longest linear land-mammal migration in Africa and the herds can generally be seen in Nxai Pan from December through March. As the grass and water recede at the end of April and the dry season begins, the zebra gravitate, in hundreds, to the life-giving waters of the Boteti River on the western border of the Makgadikgadi, and wildlife viewing becomes quite impressive. During the dry season, the pans themselves are great fun, as activities become available such as walking, quad biking and sleepouts in addition to horseback riding and scenic helicopter flights.

The area is famous for desert-adapted species like brown hyenas and habituated meerkats, the annual zebra and wildebeest migration, nature and cultural walks with the San Bushman, unsurpassed star gazing, and the indescribable feeling that comes from views so flat and expansive that you can see the curvature of Earth.

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