The great Makgadikgadi Pan are evidence that the Kalahari Desert is not a complete wasteland at all. The Salt Pans are huge drainage areas into which the rainwater pours during the rainy season, bringing them to life. Visitors love the pans in all seasons for their stark beauty.
The Mkgadigadi Pans is a great example of untouched Africa. Nothing but 12 000 square kilometres of pure salt. The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are one of the largest such natural flat expanses of ground in the world. Also experience one of the few remnants of the once great, ancient Central Botswana Lake. During your stay discover the most well-known Pans including Sowa and Ntwetwe. Then head north to the popular Nxai Pan and Baines Baobabs. Enjoy fabulous accommodation and photography opportunities in a stunning desert landscape.
The pans are usually dry, salty and lifeless. But when the annual rains come, they are transformed into lush, grassy, sparkling water basins to which jubilant animals and birds flock. The pans play a vital role in the Kalahari Desert’s ecosystems. For millions of years, water has been drenching the dry landscape sporadically, keeping it alive.
Makgadikgadi Pan hosts the annual wildebeest and zebra migrations when the rains come between February and April. Predators follow so game viewing is fantastic at this time. Photographic opportunities abound because the shallow lake teems with cranes, pink flamingos in their thousands and pelicans. The night skies are full of stars and silence and the desert is the only neighbour. Even Dr David Livingstone crossed these pans in the 19th century on his quest to explore Africa. He was guided by a massive baobab, Chapman’s Tree, the only landmark around for miles and about 4 000 years old.
Humans have lived around the Makgadikgadi Pan since the Stone Age adapting to the harsh geography and climate over time. Archaeological sites on the pans reveal ancient tools and fossils of fish and animals similar to what he would have eaten. People can still be found living on the fringes of the pans in a number of villages including Mopipi, Mmatshumo, Nata, Gweta and Rakops.