Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pans National Park
The large pans of Makgadikgadi are the most visible remnants of a lake that has been formed more than five million years ago and it is probable that the pans held significant amounts of water for long periods of time as recently as 1 500 years ago.
From May through to November the Parks are home to herds of zebra, springbok and wildebeest. As the rains fall, so these grazing herds, accompanied by their predatory followers in the shape of lion, cheetah and hyeana, move north, across the Maun to Francistown road, into the extended Nxai Pan National Park.
Nxai Pan itself is an extensive grass plain, part, once again, of the old lake bed, which is rather more generously covered with acacia trees. At its best, Nxai Pan can offer the most spectacular game viewing. In addition to the more common species such as zebra, springbok, wildebeest and their predators, there can be exhilarating sights of large herds of giraffe, gemsbok and eland.
Both dry season and wet season visits to this park are recommended in order to witness the dramatic appearance of the pans at their driest and to experience the transformation to a water wonderland, and see the wildebeest and zebra migrations, in the wet season.
How to get there
The Makgadikgadi & Nxai Pans National Park is situated roughly halfway between Maun and Nata on the Francistown road in northern Botswana. The turnoff is 160 kilometres east of Maun and 45 kilometres west of the small village of Gweta, which has the nearest lodge accommodation, fuel and supplies.
There are two camping sites within the park. The first is Njuca Hills (26 kilometres south of the main entrance gate) where two camping sites afford visitors the opportunity to witness large migrations of zebra and wildebeest during the onset of the rains. There is no water available at this site.
Kumaga, 48 kilometres southwest of the main entrance, is situated on the banks of the Boteti River and is provided with an ablution block and water standpipe.
The use of an anti-malarial prophylactic is strongly recommended and 4x4 vehicle, carrying emergency water and food, is necessary.
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