Botswana > Nxai Pan and the Makgadikgadi Pans

Botswana

  • Dear Rob, I just wanted to let you know that we had an excellent trip. Everyone really enjoyed the time spent with the guides spotting and watching a great variety of wildlife. Savannah was just what we needed to get our feet on the ground. The Savannah Suite was perfect and a really relaxing place. All of the staff working in the lodge were great and made us very welcome. What really made it though was the energy and enthusiasm of the guide (Kevin) and tracker (Julius). We saw leopard, lions plus cubs, elephants, rhino and buffalo and two different cheetah. Letaka was excellent – Lucas was a first class guide and made every effort to look after us whilst we stayed with him. Footsteps was good, the walks were great and we very much enjoyed being on foot again. This time we saw a lot of lions and a pair mating at very close quarters; zebra and impala everywhere. We also saw six male lions in one morning which was quite a surprise, a civet at night plus some lions very close to the bush dinner which kept our attention. OP and Noah guided us very well and the girls really enjoyed a slightly more advanced young explorers camp. Kanana was excellent – they made a real effort to look after us and we appreciated that as well as the warmth of the welcome. Thank you for arranging it all.

    Nick and Nicola from Bristol travelled with their family to South Africa and Botswana
Baines Baobabs, Nxai Pan, BotswanaCheetah,  Nxai Pan, BotswanaNxai Pan National Park, BotswanaOryx in Nxai Pan National Park, BotswanaZebra in Nxai Pan National Park, Botswana

Botswana

Regions

Nxai Pan and the Makgadikgadi Pans

Together with the adjacent Nxai Pan, the Makgadikgadi Pans cover an area of nearly 5500 sq.miles. The pans, remnants of a huge inland sea, are largely void of vegetation except for a few areas of open grassland and isolated baobab islands. During the rains (December to March), the pans fill and attract large numbers of waterbirds including flamingos and pelicans. Great herds of wildebeest, gemsbok, springbok and zebra also gather, but once the dry season sets in, the water-reliant species migrate to leave an ‘empty’ wilderness with an eerie silence. Various species of wildlife can be found year round in the grassland and scrub bush that fringes the pans, including brown hyaena and meerkat, two of the key species of interest found within the Kalahari ecosystem.

Nxai Pan National Park lies just north of the Maun-Nata road and adjoins Makgadikgadi Pans National Park on its northern border. Nxai Pan was originally state land and an area of 1676 sq. km was declared a game reserve in 1970. In 1992 the boundaries were extended to include Baines Baobabs to give the present total area of 2578 sq km, and National Park status was granted. The Nxai pans were once part of the great lake that covered central Botswana – which included The Okavango Delta, Makgadikgadi,  Lake Ngami and the Mababe Depression to name a few.

In 1861, the famous painter Thomas Baines painted an unusual group of baobab trees, one of which lies on its side, and these beautiful trees became known as “Baines Baobabs”. They are located on the south-east side of the park

The pan itself is another fossil lakebed about 40 sq km in size. The landscape is largely covered by grassland, and dotted with clusters of umbrella acacia and mopane woodland in the north. During the rains from November to April – the pans become covered in grass which is a landscape very similar to the Central Kalahari.

Nxai pan is well known for its huge springbok population and once the rains have started, gemsbok, elephant and zebras migrate to the region. At this time zebra come in their thousands to drop their young. Extraordinarily large herds of giraffe can be seen with up to 30 in a group. These large herds attract predators – lion, leopard, cheetah, jackal and both spotted and the elusive brown hyena, as well as the endangered wild dog. During the dry season some species migrate to other areas, but a ‘pumped’ waterhole supports the resident game and so there is good game-viewing all year round. Once the rains have started, the bird life is excellent.

For more information on safaris in these regions please call us on 01787 888590 or contact us to speak to one of our safari specialists.

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