Lion and zebra in the Mkgadikgadi and Nxai pan

Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pan National Park

About Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pan National Park

Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pan National Park is a vast area and includes Ntwetwe Pan, Makgadikgadi Pans, Nxai Pan, Baines' Baobabs and Kudiakam Pan. Makgadikgadi is technically not a single pan but many pans with sandy desert in between, surrounded by the Kalahari desert. Thought to once be a massive lake covering 60-80,000 sq km that existed 2 million years ago and started to dry up 1500 years ago due to climate change. Further evaporation turned the lake into large pans with a surface glistening with salt.

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The Boteti River, once a broad waterway fed by the Okavango in the months of June and July, dwindled to a chain of pools and finally ceased flowing in September 1992. The very last few deep, stable pools that are left are used by humans, livestock and wildlife. The national park is not dry all the time though. The pans, which are located in half of the South, East and Northeastern areas of the park, fill up with water in the rainy season from mid-November and hold on to their water until April or May. The pans become great sheets of water, which attract a fantastic array of waterbirds and trigger spectacular migrations of wildebeests and zebras.

The landscape of the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan National Park is mostly dry savannah, peppered with umbrella acacia trees. It has a number of permanent residents in terms of wildlife including lions, giraffes and ostriches as well as bat-eared foxes and kudus. The Baines Baobabs area is also a point of interest here as it is boasts some beautiful acacia trees, some of which are estimated to be as old as 1000 years. Naturally, though, the focal point of this park is the main water hole, an oasis of life and breathtaking sight.

Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pan National Park Tours

Here are some popular itineraries that include a visit to Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pan National Park

Herd of Elephants | African Safaris | AfricaIconic Experiences, Local Partners

Botswana Lodge Explorer

10 days FROM $2,995
Chobe Boat Cruise | Botswana | AfricaIconic Experiences, Local Partners

Botswana Untouched

13 days FROM $3,695
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Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pan National Park Hotels

If you are planning a Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pan National Park holiday, have a look at some of the accommodation that we recommend. 'Our Rating' indicates how we feel each property rates according to normal Western hotel standards. 'Local Rating' indicates how the property is categorised/rated locally:

Leroo La Tau Lodge Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pan National Park

Our Category: Deluxe   |   Regional Category: Luxury Lodge

With a stunning position on a cliff overlooking the Boteti River, the Leroo La Tau Lodge features East African styled Meru tents fashioned from timber and thatch with spacious bedrooms and a comfortable seating area. Traditional African fabrics and a neutral colour scheme perfectly complement the spectacular surrounding environment with riverfront views from the en suite bathrooms. For your comfort each chalet is equipped with mosquito nets, ceiling fan and a beverage station as well as bathrobes and toiletries. The communal area overlooks a neat lawn and swimming pool.

Nata Lodge Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pan National Park

Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: Mid Range Lodge

Set among the Mokolwane palms on the edge of the Makgadigadi pans lies Nata Lodge. Offering 22 luxury thatched chalets built on stilts and set in rustic African style with en suite bathroom including indoor bath and outdoor shower. There are also 10 custom designed meru tents set on wooden decks. The lodge also boasts a well stocked bar a refreshing outdoor swimming pool, large restaurant and curio shop. The lodge is conveniently located next to the Nata Bird Sanctuary.

Planet Baobab Lodge Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pan National Park

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: Standard Lodge

The Planet Baobab Lodge is a unique oasis-like lodge in the heart of Botswana’s baobab capital. Guests can choose between a traditional Bakalanga hut made from mud or a traditional grass hut made in the way bushmen once did. The use of natural materials indigenous to the region mean that air-conditioning is unnecessary and only the mud huts are en suite. After a day on safari, relax with a cold drink besides the pool and feast on delicious dishes from all over Africa.

Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pan National Park Tailor made suggestions

Here are some of the recent tailor made itineraries we have created for our clients which include a visit to Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pan National Park.

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