Safaris to Nxai Pan National Park Botswana

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Safaris to Nxai Pan National Park Botswana

The Baines baobabs that sit close to the entrance of Botswana’s Nxai Pan National Park take their name from a series of watercolors by Victorian explorer and artist Thomas Baines. Their fruit apparently tastes a little like sherbet.

The Nxai Pan Park is great for viewing the vast, salt-rich pans that characterize the Kalahari and is also known for lion, leopard, and cheetah and unusually large herds of giraffe.

The fossil pans of Nxai Pan offer spectacular, seasonal game-viewing in the rainy season (November – March). Huge herds of Zebra, Wildebeest, Springbok, and Gemsbok attract many predators – Lion, Cheetah, and both brown and spotted Hyena. There are large numbers of Bat Eared Fox, which preys on rodents and reptiles. This is one of the few areas in Botswana that is more interesting during the rainy season – when huge herds hit Nxai’s grassy pans. The numbers can be staggering; wildebeest, zebra, and gemsbok appear in their thousands, along with large herds of other Antelope and Giraffe. Perhaps the focal point of Nxai Pan is the water hole, situated only two kilometers from the entrance gate, in the midst of a large grassy plain which is dotted with a few clumps of short umbrella thorn trees. Here, and within the mopane woodland, lion, giraffe, kudu, impala, ostrich, fascinating birdlife, and large numbers of springbok, together with a good population of a jackal, bat-eared fox, and numerous smaller creatures, are permanent residents. Once the rains have started, gemsbok, elephant, and zebra migrate to the area. At that time, zebra are present in thousands and drop their young at Nxai Pan, rivaling the spectacle of the multitude of young springbok, to further enhance game-viewing opportunities. Whilst many other parks and reserves are not considered to be at their best during the rains, Nxai Pan becomes a veritable Garden of Eden.

Things to do In Nxai pan National park Botswana

Wildlife viewing

The Nxai Pans National Park is situated on the migration route of large animal herds moving between the Okavango Delta, the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, and the grasslands in and around the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Lions, giraffes, kudus, jackals, springboks, impalas, and bat eared foxes can always be found in the park. During the rainy season from December to April oryx antelopes, elephants, and thousands of zebras enter the park. Ostriches and numerous bird species add to the game viewing experience.

The Baines Baobabs

Another famous attraction is the Baines Baobabs. They consist of a group of seven large baobabs on the edge of the Kudiakam Pan. The trees are about 1000 years old and over 20 meters high. The discoverer and painter Thomas Baines painted the trees in 1862 and made them well-known.

Walk with the San Bushmen

Another classic activity at Nxai Pan is a walk with one of the San Bushmen trackers, an informative walk that takes place within the camp’s footprint. Learn about how the San used to live nomadically: how they used to hunt, gather food, water sources, and which plants were used for medicinal purposes. Their wealth of true bush knowledge is unparalleled, and one of our guests’ favorite experiences at our desert camps.

How to get to Nxai pan national park

Nxai Pan National Park is located 162km/100mi east of Maun. The park can be reached on a self-drive safari, an organized mobile safari, or a fly-in safari. There are several campsites in the park and one lodge.

Flying by chartered plane from Maun or Kasane, or from any safari camp to the airstrip of the only lodge in the park, is the easiest way to get here.

Best time to visit Nxai pan national park

The best time to visit the national park is during the cold winter months – when the wildlife gathers around the waterholes. However, from mid-November to March – Nxai Pans becomes a veritable Garden of Eden. The more accessible time to be in Nxai Pan is in the dry season, which is from May to September.

Where to stay in Nxai pan national park

Kwando Nxai pan Camp

The camp’s nine tents face the waterhole, with the main area being the central best place for game viewing from the water hole. Frequent visitors to the water hole include elephants, cheetah, as well as migratory herds of zebra (usually) from late December to early April; however, this is entirely dependent on the summer rainfall in Botswana which affects the migratory cycle.

The minimalist white-washed design of the camp is in keeping with the surrounding white salt pans. Nxai Pan accommodates a maximum of eighteen guests in thatched units specially designed to provide a constant and comfortable temperature throughout the year when seasonal temperatures can fluctuate from below freezing to well over 45 degrees Celsius.


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Tour of Baines baobab trees
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Visit the San Bushmen in Nxai pan national park


Nxai pan Lodge
Kwando Nxai pan Lodge
Leroo la Tau Lodge
Nata Lodge


Best time to visit Nxai pan national park


7 Days Nxai pan desert and Delta safari


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