Makgadikgadi Pans Botswana safaris, Tours and Holidays

Home » Best African Safari Tours & Holidays » Makgadikgadi Pans Botswana Safaris, Tours and Holidays

Makgadikgadi Pans Botswana Safaris, Tours and Holidays

Makgadikgadi Pans Botswana safaris, Tours and Holidays

Makgadikgadi pans Botswana is one of the vast areas of dried-up salt pans in the Kalahari Desert, a forbidding landscape formed by a huge lake that dried up millennia ago.

But it can transform in an instant during winter, if rains have been good enough to make lush grass sprout, bringing a stampede of wildlife to break the silence, including zebra, wildebeest and flamingos.

The Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve, a salt pan– with an area of 3 900 sq. km is situated in the middle of the dry savannah of north-eastern Botswana. It is one of the largest salt flats in the world. The pan is all that remains of the formerly enormous Lake Makgadikgadi.

Lying southeast of the Okavango Delta and surrounded by the Kalahari Desert, Makgadikgadi is technically not a single pan but many pans with sandy desert in between, the largest being the Sua (Sowa), Nwetwe and Nxai Pans. The largest individual pan is about 1,900 sq. mi (4,921.0 km2).

The pans themselves are salty desert whose only plant life is a thin layer of blue-green algae and Very little wildlife can exist here during the harsh dry season of strong hot winds and only saltwater, but following rain, the pan becomes an important habitat for migrating animals including wildebeest and one of Africa’s biggest zebra populations, and the large predators that prey on them. The wet season also brings migratory birds such as ducks, geese and Great White Pelicans. The pan is home to one of only two breeding populations of Greater Flamingos in southern Africa, and only on the Soa pan, which is part of the Makgadikgadi Pans.

See our popular safaris to Makgadikgadi pans

Things to do at Makgadikgadi pans Botswana

Game viewing

Travellers can take guided safari game drives in Makgadikgadi in search of Wildlife Like eland, lions, zebras, cheetah, gemsbok, springbok, red hartebeest, bushbuck, giraffe, steenbok, elephants and many more.

Bird watching

Makgadikgadi Pans is a great park for bird watching throughout the year, but the thousands of flamingo that flock here in the wet summer months are the real highlight. The timing depends on the rain and algae levels and is highly variable, but the best months are in the Wet season, from November to April.

Tour of Gweta village

Gweta derived its name from the sound of croaking bullfrogs which bury themselves in the sand until the rainy season arrives and they come out to mate.

During the wet season, Zebra and Wildebeest migrate into the area as well as regular sightings of lion, cheetah and other predators that follow in their wake.

Walking safaris

Makgadikgadi Pans offer excellent walking safaris, once the center of a great lake, are thought to be the largest saltpans in the world. After the summer rains, the pans fill up to a depth of a few centimeters, and it becomes rich with crustaceous and algae, which attracts over 30,000 breeding pairs of pink flamingos. Out of nowhere, the region is transformed from a desolated saltpan to a heaving mass of beautiful pink birds.

How to get to Makgadikgadi pans Botswana

The main entrance to the Park is about halfway between Maun and the town of Nata on Francistown road. One is advised to drive a 4×4 vehicle. Travelling west from Gweta to the turnoff is 45km (28 miles). There is another entrance at Kumaga (Xhumaga), which is about 48km (30 miles) southwest of the main entrance (toward the Central Kalahari Game Reserve).

Where to stay at the Makgadikgadi pans Botswana

Sans tented camp

Sans Camp is a deluxe camp Located in Botswana overlooking the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park?

Planet Baobab lodge

Planet Baobab is located on the edge of Makgadikgadi salt pan, 5 km from Gweta town.

Meno A kwena tented camp

Meno A Kwena is located in Kalahari salt Pans in Botswana and it is situated on tribal land on a cliff edge overlooking the Boteti River.

Jack’s tented camp

Jack’s Camp is the classic camp located on the Makgadikgadi Pans in central Botswana.

Camp Kalahari tented camp

Camp Kalahari is located on the edge of the Makgadikgadi salt pans in Botswana.

You might also like


Game drives in Makgadikgadi pans Botswana
Birding safaris in Makgadikgadi pans Botswana
Walking safaris in Makgadikgadi pans Botswana
visit the Gweta village
sunset safaris in Makgadikgadi pans Botswana


Jack’s tented Camp
Camp Kalahari
Planet Baobab Lodge


Best time to visit Makgadikgadi pans Botswana


4 Day Makgadikgadi pans safari
6 Days Makgadikgadi pans and Etosha safari
7 Days Luxury Makgadikgadi pans safari