Log In Join Us

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

5 reviews

About Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

Country found in: Botswana
Parks total area: 80,000 km² (30,888 miles²)
Year established: 1971
Park wildlife: 33 animals listed
Anti-malarial: Absolutely!

What YAS members think of Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

Quality of wildlife:
Crowdedness*:
Quality of lodging:
Most-visited months: February, January, March, May, November

* Crowded parks have a lower rating

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park map

Situated in the center of the savanna of north eastern Botswana, the Makgadikgadi Pan is one of the largest salt flats in the world. The pan is the remnant of Lake Makgadikgadi, an ancient lake 80,000 km² (30,888 miles²) in area and 30 m (90 ft) deep. The lake dried up 10,000 years ago, leaving only a flat expanse of clay crusted with light-catching white salt and other minerals. The pan is located in the Kalahari Basin, along with other commonly-visited pans: Sua, Ntwetwe and Nxai Pans, forming the largest salt pans in the world. The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is situated on the western edge of this region, and the Nxai Pans National Park is located just above it, making it easy to visit them both on one safari. 

As the sun sets over the remote Makgadikgadi Pan in the Kalahari Desert, the vast dome of countless stars are mirrored in the sparkling crystals of the salt flats below, the dried remnants that tell the story of the ancient and enormous lake. Eternity begins here, with unending horizons and soul-expanding isolation marking the enormity of space, while layers of history, from Dr. Livingstone’s famous journey to stone tool relics of pre-human cultures, dig back through immemorial time. 

A visit to Makgadikgadi Pans National Park in the dry season, from April through October, is a good time to experience the otherworldly landscape of the pans. Predators such as lions cheetah, leopards and hyenas are attracted by the migrating herds of wildebeest and one of Africa's biggest zebra populations. Graceful springbok, playful meerkats and elegant ostriches are also common sights. In the dry season, the animals are also drawn to the Boteti River, which is where most of the lodges are found. 

Less common is the rare white rhinoceros. Orapa Game Park, nearby to Makgadikgadi Pans, is a sanctuary for white rhinos and features one of South Africa’s most respected breeding programs, a crown jewel of endangered species conservation.

The deluge of rains begins in November, and with it come the largest herds of animals seeking relief from the dry, hot summer. Water birds, including Great White Pelicans, ducks, teals, spoonbills and geese flock to the water-filled pans by the thousands. But not to be missed is the flamboyance of a sky full of tens of thousands of pink flamingos. The only breeding population of Greater Flamingos in southern Africa come home to the pan. The heavy rainfalls of the very wettest seasons coax big game such as elephants and buffalo into the area.

Chapman's Baobab is one of Africa's largest trees. Over 3,000 years old and sporting a girth of 25 m (82 ft), this is the most prominent landmark on the lonely savannah. A natural navigational draw, it served as a post office for nineteenth century explorers, who left letters in a hollow in its trunk.

When to visit Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is open year-round. During the rainy season, which runs from mid-November through March, the pans fill with water and the wildlife viewing opportunties increase. However, the roads can become practically inaccessible, depending on the amount of rainfall. The lodges are located primarily around Botetit River, which is best visited May through October. 

Write a review

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park tour packages

Showing 10 of 27 tour packages. Click here to see all tours.

Tour by: Jobovic Safaris

Experience Wild Africa at it's best, on this safe safari from Johannesburg into Botswana and the incredible Makg...

Parks visited include:

Get quote

From

$1928

per person

Get quote

Tour by: Perfect Africa

Botswana is fast becoming a destination of choice for families who want their children to experience the pinnac...

Parks visited include:

Get quote

From

$7050

per person

Get quote

Tour by: Unlimited Tours & Safaris

Experience the best of Botswana in our Kalahari Desert Safari

Parks visited include:

Get quote

From

$1440

per person

Get quote

Tour by: Jobovic Safaris

This safe 13 day safari, either in camping or lodge accommodation, visits the world renown Kruger National Park,...

Parks visited include:

Get quote

From

$2068

per person

Get quote

Tour by: Jenman Safaris

Our Great Trans African Lodge Safari allows you to experience Namibia and Botswana on a comfortable African Safa...

Parks visited include:

Get quote

From

$4110

per person

Get quote

Tour by: Africa Adventure Consultants

Enjoy this luxury tented camp safari in the heart of Botswana’s premier wildlife areas. These camps, the finest ...

Parks visited include:

Get quote

From

$12500

per person

Get quote
Get quote

From

$1327

per person

Get quote

Tour by: Kingfisher Safaris

Visit three of Botswana's world famous National Parks and see the stunning wildlife from superb Bush Camps.

Parks visited include:

Get quote

From

$5700

per person

Get quote
Showing 10 of 27 tour packages. Click here to see all tours.
Shortlisted tour operators: Operators: 1 You can shortlist up to 10 tour operators Up to 10 operators