Why visit the Makgadikgadi Pans?

This panorama of white sand and salt supports one of Africa’s largest zebra populations.

The largest salt pans in the world, the Makgadikgadi Pans are a breathtaking sight – a vast sea of white that was once the centre of a huge lake that evaporated more than 2 000 years ago. When the rains fall during the wet season, the pans fill with water and attract large numbers of zebra, springbok and wildebeest, followed closely by predators, making for fantastic game viewing. Spectacular breeding colonies of flamingos can also be seen.

Shimmering miles of white are made up of surreal landscapes where flocks of swallows soar in ragged formation and elephant tracks appear seemingly out of nowhere blend into a sense of endless space. In the midst of this nothingness lies Kubu Island, a granite outcrop walled with companies of baobab reaching stubby branches towards the sky.

In this extraordinary and almost lunar landscape guests can stand on the spot where the mighty Zambezi River once flowed into a gigantic lake that covered these pans, leaving behind a beach full of smooth pebbles. At the world’s biggest breeding site of greater flamingos unusual mud nests wait for their inhabitants’ annual return.

Why visit?

  • Flamingo breeding season on Sowa Pan.
  • Riding a quad bike across the desolate pans.
  • Night sky covered with a blanket of stars.
  • Experience total isolation.
  • Take in the complete and utter silence.
  • Discover Stone Age tools.
  • During migration (November to April) see thousands of game animals, including springbok, gemsbok, wildebeest, and zebra, and the lions, cheetahs and hyenas which prey on them.

Climate

Summer (October-April)
Min 20°C/69°F Max 30°C/86°F

Winter (May-September)
Min 6°C/42°F Max 25°C/78°F

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