Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

Several million years ago the now arid salt pans that dot the plains of the Kalahari formed the beds of an ancient super-lake. Today these barren pans are part of one of the earth’s most mesmerising ecosystems. Covering approximately 3,900 km², the pans of Makgadikgadi are fringed by grassland, islands of palms, ancient baobab trees and prehistoric beaches. Fossils from the eco-systems that preceded the modern-day state can be found all around the pan, taking visitors back to a time long ago on their tailor-made Makgadikgadi Pans safari.

About Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

Throughout much of the year, the area is a combination of barren grassland and desolate salt pans so vast and lacking in life that the curvature of the earth can be seen. Hardy desert-adapted animals reside in low numbers from June to October when it is a dry and inhospitable lunar-like landscape. 

As the rains come in January the area transforms. The almost uninhabitable salt pans retain water and the surrounding plains flourish with luscious green grass. Animals from hundreds of miles away journey to Makgadikgadi and the area becomes a flurry of activity, with thousands of zebra and wildebeest congregating here to give birth. 

The otherworldly experience of the Makgadikgadi Pans combines well with the wildlife seasons of the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve for a diverse and exciting Botswana holiday itinerary.


Makgadikgadi Pans Wildlife Safaris

During the migration to the pans, large herds of blue wildebeest and zebra can be seen crossing the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Oryx are well-adapted to the arid environment and can be seen year-round. On the fringes of the pans predators such as lion and leopard can sometimes be found, whilst elephant and giraffe are also present in the area. Seeing meerkats in the Makadikgadi Pans are a real highlight of many visits. 

During the dry season between June and October little wildlife is found near the pans on a safari in Makgadikgadi. At this time of year, wildlife viewing in the area is best closer to the Boteti River to the west of the park. 

Activities on bespoke Makgadikgadi Pans safaris include game drives, walking safaris, horseback safaris, and quadbike excursions as well as the famous meerkat experience and learning traditional hunting and tracking skills with local bushmen. 

Birding in the Makgadikgadi Pans 

Excellent birding can be enjoyed throughout the year in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. During the wet season, greater and lesser flamingos flock to the pans in their thousands.

Best Places to Stay in the Makgadikgadi Pans

There are several excellent camps and lodges to choose from in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Many of the accommodation options are located near the Boteti River region, which is a good area for wildlife viewing in both the dry and wet seasons. 

Hand-picked Camps and Lodges

Talk with one of our experts today to discuss the best options for you.


Best Time to Visit the Makgadikgadi Pans

Whilst there is more wildlife between January and April, access to the pans is much trickier at this time of year due to the wet dirt roads. The pan itself is only accessible from June to October. During these months the blinding white, seemingly endless pan and the glittering ocean of stars offer more of an aesthetic prize than an animal one.

Weather During the Year


How to Book a Makgadikgadi Pans Safari Holiday

To discuss your Botswana safari holiday, Makgadikgadi safari packages and tailor-made itineraries, speak to one of our Botswana experts today by contacting us.