Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

Botswana

The Makgadikgadi, an area of 12 000 sq km, is made up of a vast and eerie lunar-like landscape. The area is characterised by magnificent salt pans, dotted with islands of palm and baobab trees.For much of the year, most of this desolate area remains waterless and extremely arid. However following the rains, the two largest pans, Sowa to the east and Ntwetwe to the west, flood. This attracts wildlife such as zebra and wildebeest on the grassy plains and most spectacularly flamingos at Sowa and Nata Sanctuary. Flamingo numbers can run into the hundreds of thousands and the sight can be extraordinary. The Makgadikgadi complements the watery channels of the Okavango Delta perfectly and offers a wide variety of unusual safari activities, including habituated meerkats, Bushmen interaction, and quad-biking. During the May-November dry season, the wildlife is generally quite sparse in these parched desert areas. However, the area is home to an array of desert-adapted species such as oryx, springboks, kudus, brown hyenas, aardwolves, and aardvarks. The few permanent water sources that remain also attract large herds of wildebeest and zebras, which in turn, attract their predators. This is also the only time of year that you can enjoy quad biking on the endless salt pans.During the December-April green season, locals rejoice as the rain brings the desert to life. This is a fantastic time of year to travel as it brings the Zebra migration, the second largest migration in Africa, consisting of around 30,000 animals. The migration is made up of predominantly zebra, but also vast herds of wildebeest and elephants.

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