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Best 1o Reasons To Visit Makgadikgadi Pans National Park In Botswana

The best 10 reasons to visit Makgadikgadi pans in Botswana are; remoteness, absolute isolation, bird watching, biking, landscape and wildlife.

Have you ever heard of a salt pan being a national park, that is actually hilarious and it is situated in Botswana

In Botswana lies one of the largest salt pans in the world covering almost over 30000km²  joined to Okavango Delta by Boteti River which is surrounded by the Kalahari Desert and this place is called the Makgadikgadi pans, the dry seasons are one of the most pleasant seasons in Makgadikgadi pans because of the breathtaking sight of its endless shimmering salt pans.

It is mainly visited not because of its fauna but the remoteness and  because of its lack of light pollution which gives an incredible star gazing at night but during the rainy season the area is transformed into a wetland because water flows from the Boteti and Nata rivers filling all the ponds and shallow lakes creating short lived grasslands.

Over 10000 years ago the lake dried up leaving only flat expanse of clay crusted with catching salt, the Makgadikgadi Pans consist of two major pans which are Ndwedwe pan and Sua pan surrounded by a number of smaller pan. In 1970 Makgadikgadi pans national park was declared as a game reserve however  it was enlarged and declared to be a national park in 1992.

The best 1o reason to visit Makgadikgadi include;

  1. Wild beast and zebra migration watching in Makgadikgadi Pans 

Usually around November to early December rain starts to seriously fall and this is when the wild beasts and the zebra migration begins in the national park, they move from the south east of the park to the Boteti river on the western side of the pans, this Wildebeest-Zebra migration that is found in Makgadikgadi pans not matched to any habitant similar in nature making it even more exciting to watch personally as the wild beasts and Zebras slowly migrate.

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       2.  Nature walks into the magical land of Makgadikgadi Pans

The combination of sand and salt in the land of Makgadikgadi pans makes it magical, being one of the biggest salt pans in the world makes it actually so excising to have a guided nature walk in the pans but the nature walks normally take place when the pans are dry enough therefore that is a couple of month after rain has stopped which is between July and August when the temperature is cool.

The nature walks can be even more splendid when walked alongside the Zu/’hoasi Bushmen who are the ancient people who used to reside in desert plains for centauries and according to me that is ranked number one in the best 10 reasons to visit Makgadikgadi pans.


        3. True remoteness experience at Makgadikgadi Pans

Makgadikgadi is one of the area with the most remote landscape however the best view of this vast landscape is when you fly in an helicopter so as to get the clear view of the remoteness of Makgadikgadi pans and this is one of the best 10 reasons to visit Makgadikgadi Pans.


       4. Bird watching at Makgadikgadi Pans

Despite the semi arid climate of Makgadikgadi pans it is still a famous area in Botswana for bird watchers especially near the delta of Nata river and this is because of the great seasonal changes where during the rainy season which is normally between November to April the sheets of water which cover the north-eastern part of Makgadikgadi pans  attract a number of water birds which is a spectacular view to behold because each raised spot accommodates a number of birds such as Whistling duck, Knob billed Duck, Egyptian goose and so many others which is also one of the best 10 reasons to visit the Makgadikgadi.

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         5. Quad biking at Makgadikgadi Pans

It is one of the must do activities when visiting the Makgadikgadi pans because of the perfect landscape which has no obstacles and due to its vastness and being a semi-desert place quad biking is made more enjoyable.

It is a seasonal activity because during the wetter months most of the parts of the pan flood and at at times it is very slippery, quad biking is offered by many of the camps around the salt pans and that is one of the best 1o reasons to visit Makgadikgadi pan.


         6.The stunning Landscape at Makgadikgadi Pans

it is a thrilling experience to explore Makgadikgadi mesmerizing pans where the salt pans are the main attraction of the place but the park is also characterized by four distinct zones which include Boteti river on its western which is utilized by elephants these animals have transformed the wooded landscape by uprooting trees and clearing the area, the ntwetwe pan in the eastern region  where the vegetation transforms to thorny scrubland before giving way to the wide open grasslands, this region is the ideal habitant for cheetahs, the sowa pan and so many others and in accordance to my view that is ranked second in the best 10 reasons to visit Makgadikgadi Pans.


         7. wildlife at Makgadikgadi Pans

The Makgadikgadi pans has its share in wildlife where it has big animals in form of predators such as lions and it also has larger herbivores such as wildebeest and Zebras but surprisingly it is the smaller animals that attract most of the visitors and the smaller creatures which is most famous among people and  attracts most of the visitors who come to Makgadikgadi pans which is also one of the best 10 reasons to visit Makgadikgadi pans.

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        8.Flamingo bleeding at Makgadikgadi Pans

Makgadikgadi salt Pans is believed to be the among the most important breading site for flamingos, In wetter seasons a number of flamingos flock to Makgadikgadi pans therefore this is a great season to visit Makgadikgadi where many flamingos migrating there mate and lay eggs their.


        9.Absolute Isolation at Makgadikgadi Pans

Have you ever thought of running away from the hectic day to day life and isolate your self completely from every person you know, Makgadikgadi is absolutely the most suitable place for isolation, looking all around you and see nothing but the horizon turning 360 degrees its like you are in another world and at night there is this sepulchral silence you see no artificial lights only light from the stars leaving you with no choice other than to appreciate the natural beauty of the world and this experience cant be compared to anything which is also one of the best 10 reasons to visit  Makgadikgadi pans

        10.Interaction with Meerkat animal of Makgadikgadi Pans

One of the most reasons as to why Makgadikgadi pans is flocked with visitors is because of the unique interaction which people get with the habitual meerkats who are one of the three habituated groups in the area, observing them playing, foraging and keeping an eye out for predators is such an exciting experience to get thus making the trip so tremendous and according to me that is ranked three in the best 10 reasons to visit Makgadikgadi pans

Animals in Makgadikgadi pans

The Makgadikgadi contains a number of habitants for wild animals and even reptiles scattered in the various places in the pans however due to changes in weather seasons even the presence of animals in the park also changes, The park has two seasons which are the rainy season and sunny season, the alternation of seasons greatly changes the landscape and consequently the presence and movement of animals.

In the rainy season the pans are flocked with herbivores which are usually seen in the grasslands and these are hartebeest, Cape baboons, the Vervet monkeys, springbok, zebras, greater kudu, giraffe. The but surprisingly it is the smaller meerkat is that attracts most of the visitors in the park.

In the month of September to November, there is a high concentration of animals in the area near the Botet River, and everywhere you look you see herds of zebras and wild beasts

In the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park there is a large number of predators which are very common in the rainy season who normally come to feed on other animals which are abundant in the pans these include animals like  lions, cheetahs, leopards, spotted hyenas and brown hyenas.

Things to do in Makgadikgadi pans

There are a number of activities that one can enjoy in the makgadikgadi pans and they are;

Game drives in the park where the visitors are are driven around so as to see the animals for example the most exciting thing to watch is the Wildebeest-Zebra migration which is so pleasant to the eye. There are also night drives and nature walks which gives the visitors a chance to experience the rich variety of wildlife in the region.

Quad biking in Makgadikgadi Pans is one of the most sought after top things to do in Botswana where visitors can  mount on quad bikes to discover the vast and endless plains of the Makgadikgadi Pans.

Interactive walks with the original inhabitants of the Makgadikgadi region who are the San or Bushmen, who usually showcase their survival techniques such as finding water in the desert.

Watching birds which is a grate experiance for bird lovers and in Makgadikgadi pans the greatest number of birds can be seen during the October-march as it is their migration period

When to visit

The best time to visit Makgadikgadi pans depend on what exactly the visitors are interested to see so they choose seasons according to there preferences and below are the seasons and what takes place at Makgadikgadi pans

Rainy/Wetter season

It usually begins in March and ends either in march or April so the pans retain water till  may then the area becomes transformed grasses and the salt pans fill with algae soup.

this season is most suitable for bird watchers because most of the birds migrate to Makgadikgadi pans and even there are a number of flamingos which breed during that time which is an incredible view to behold and also those who are interested in zebra-beast migration should also come during this season in November to December when rain starts to fall because it is when the zebras and wild bests start to migrate.

Sunny /Dry season

This is the season which is most suitable and attracts majority of the visitors who come to Makgadikgadi pans, this season normally starts in April-October though the most pleasant temperatures are between June and July.

In this season is where one can witness the uniqueness of this magical land because it is in this season where the land and it is only in this season where one can witness the shimmering sand salts when quad biking can take place.

How to get there

Makgadikgadi pans can be accessed through a number of means which include use of road which can  either be self drive or driven by other road transport providers, air transport which is so much applicable to the international visitors who come in trough the airport

Makgadikgadi Pans is located 162km/100mi east of Maun so it can be easily accessed by self-drive safari, an organized mobile safari, or a fly-in safari. The nearest international airport in Makgadikgadi Pans is Maune airport or Kasane airport. The easiest way to get to the park is to go by a chartered plane to the airstrip where they will drop you at one of the lodges on the western boundary of the park. Outside the park, Motopi airstrip is 20 km from the western boundary of the reserve, or Gweta airstrip is 16 km from the eastern boundary. Both may be used for access.

Accommodation camps in Makgadikgadi pans

Jack’s Camp

This lodge is the most famous accommodation facility at Makgadikgadi pans and its fees range in $1450 per person per night

San Camp

this lodge mostly favors reach people because its fees range in $1595 per person per night

Leroo la tau

Here accommodation fees range in $602 per person per night and it can be considered as that of moderate people

There are also options of camping in Makgadikgadi pans national park forexample the tree island campsite

Frequently asked questions about Makgadikgadi pans

  • What makes makgadikgadi pans special?

The Makgadikgadi Pans are special because they are the largest salt pans in the all world and is also where one of Africa’s biggest wildebeast- zebra migration takes place and also makes this vista of white sand and salt their home.

  • What is the largest salt pan in the world?

Makgadikgadi pans are the largest salt pans in the world covering an area of over 30 000 kmwhere its sheer  size surpasses the Bolivian Salar de Uyuni salt pan which is the largest continuous pan in the world

  • What is the meaning of makgadikgadi?

Makgadikgadi is a local language which is used by the natives and it means salt pan.

  • What are the two largest salt pans in Africa?

The two largest salt pans in Africa are Makgadikgadi Pans and Nxai pans which are both located in Botswana

  • How are the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans formed?

Makgadikgadi pans where formed when the lake dried up leaving only flat expanse of clay crusted with catching salt.


We at Kubwa five safaris a tour company based in Uganda we have all the needed qualities to offer you a thrilling vacation at the magical lands of  Makgadikgadi pans