Makgadikgadi Pans

This enormous network of salt pans located in north-eastern Botswana is like nowhere else on earth. Thousands of years ago it was once the huge Lake Makgadikgadi, covering an area the size of Portugal. This has long since dried up creating one of the largest salt flats in the world.

Makgadikgadi is many salt pans separated by sandy desert. For much of the year, Makgadikgadi is without water. During this time the landscape takes on a form that transports you back millions of years. A twisted and gnarled Baobab tree, the only landmark for hundreds of miles, could guide you across in the same manor that it guided Dr. David Livingstone in the 19th century. There is beauty to be found in the stark, featureless terrain. Kubu Island is a popular destination, it's crescent shape stretching out for one kilometre with it's slopes scattered with signs of the life that once perched on the top of this rocky outcrop in fossilised guano. Again, the other-wordly baobab trees feature adding to the atmosphere of this wonderful place.

When the water comes the plains can come to life. With good and sustained rain fall, the two largest pans (Sowa to the east and Ntwetwe to the west) can flood. This attracts the wildlife – zebra and wildebeest on the grassy plains – and up to hundreds of thousands of flamingo at Sowa and Nata Sanctuary. It is possible to see other wildlife within the Makgadikgadi complex at Nxai Pan National Park. This reserve covers 2,100 square kilometres of, what was once ancient salt lakes, grassland, with sporadic islands of acaia trees and smaller slat pans that can flood during the rainy seasons, bringing the wildlife. The frequency of animals is entirely down to when and if the rains come. December to April provides the best time to see some of the common species including, zebra, springbok, giraffe, lion, cheetah, wildebeest and perhaps even elephant and buffalo.

The Makgadikgadi Pans provide an opportunity to see an honest wilderness. From desolate to thriving, this part of Botswana will truly captivate you.

Special Places To Stay Near The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

Leroo La Tau

12 chalets

Leroo La Tau is situated on the banks of the Boteti River in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. The raised main lodge area and swimming pool offer guests the opportunity to sit back and relax while listening to the variety of sights and sounds so characteristic of the African bush, with herds of zebra and wildebeest often seen around the lodge grounds and the waterhole.

The camp comprises twelve luxury thatched and glass en-suite chalets, each on a raised wooden deck. Day and night game drives yield sightings of lions and many other predators, crocodiles, elephants and even hippo. Access is via road from Maun or by light aircraft.