Vacations to Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana

Surrounded by the famous Kalahari Desert and sprawling across over 10,000 square kilometers of north-eastern Botswana, the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is one of the world’s most unique locations. Once an enormous lake, the area transformed into one of the world’s largest salt flats thousands of years ago, and has remained largely untouched by humans since. During the dry season, the dazzling white surface of the land seems to stretch out forever – so far, in fact, that it’s claimed that you can see the earth begin to curve.

Despite being home to huge salt pans, the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is surprisingly full of life. From March to October the park is full of animals from zebras, wildebeest and springboks to flamingos, antelopes and even hippos. Many are drawn to the nutritious grasslands created by the wet seasons, while even more are migrating towards the pools and lakes that become a primary source of water as the Boteti River dries out during the arid months.

Guided safari tours are the best way to see some of these gigantic gatherings in action, with expert guides taking you to some of the park’s best viewing spots. To get an even more impressive view, take to the skies with a flight over the pans and be amazed as you see the shocking pink of gathering flamingos and huge herds of wildebeest standing out against the endless white backdrop of the salt flats.

To get a real sense of what it’s like to live in one of the world’s most uninhabited areas, you’ll want to join the experts – the Bushmen trackers who have been living, hunting and traveling across the park for centuries. They’ll fill you in on the area’s culture and history, such as the ancient stone tools and artefacts that can be found all over the park – some dating back as far as 500,000 years.

Another way to experience the area’s culture is to visit the baobabs. Mostly surrounding the historic village of Gweta, these ancient trees are considered national monuments, having been used as navigation beacons and notice boards – many of the trees feature countless inscriptions – for centuries.

Highlights

  • Experience one of the world’s most remote salt flats

  • See the pans from above with a tour flight

  • Look out for enormous herds of migrating animals

  • Explore the park with Bushmen trackers

  • Discover the history of the baobabs

Jody
Travel Designer & Safari Expert
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I adore Africa and have lived and worked in South Africa as well as travelling across the wider region. Spotting a leopard during a night safari at Nambiti Private Game Reserve is definitely an experience I'll remember forever.

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park trip ideas

Here are some trip ideas that include Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you.

Map of Makgadikgadi Pans National Park