Makgadikgadi Pans


Makgadikgadi Pans Introduction

The Makgadikgadi Pans is situated in the central region of the country and covers approximate 12 000 square kilometres, the largest salt pans on the planet. There are two important salt pans, the 6500 square kilometre Ntwetwe Pan and the somewhat smaller Sua Pan. The Makgadikgadi Pans are the remains of a great lake that once covered most of northern Botswana, fed by rivers carrying salts filtered from the lake’s catchment area. Ancient lakeshore terraces reveal that the water depth fluctuated by as much as 33 metres and, at its greatest extent, the lake covered an area of 60,000 sq km. Because the basin had no outlet, the salts were concentrated in low lying areas. Less than 10,000 years ago, climactic changes caused the lake to evaporate, leaving only salt deposits. For most of the year the area is dried up, however, as soon as the first rains fall, the region plays host to an alluring display of animal life. The water encourages one of Africa’s great migrations.

Makgadikgadi PansGame Viewing

Over 25 000 zebra and almost 10 000 blue wildebeest migrate here from the Boteti River in the west as well as from the Linyanti and Savuti regions to the north. The animals scatter sometime in March and April once the rainwater pans have dried up. The birdlife is abundant during the rainy season. Thousands of flamingos arrive to breed on the southern edges of Sua Pan. Pelicans and waterfowl congregate more towards the northern edge. This is the domain of the brown hyena, a shy and elusive creature, as well as suricates, aardvarks and small bustard species. The brown hyena and aardvark are seen regularly as well as oryx, eland, caracal and red hartebeest are prominent. Sightings of elephant, lion, cheetah and kudu are not uncommon in the national parks. This is an extremely fragile environment filled with fascination and interest. The management and guides have an approach of maximum care for the environment, and this is a destination for the true lover of remote experiences.

 

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