Two million years ago, Lake Makgadikgadi attracted an array of wildlife and humans to its banks. A hub of life and prosperity is evident in the multiple remains of stone tools found in the area. Today, the salty remnants of the lake have morphed into the Makgadikgadi Pans, spread across 16,000km² and trapped by the Kalahari Desert in the north-eastern part of Botswana.
The dry season sees the pans become a crusty expanse, inhabited only by ostriches, plovers, and reptiles – until the rains, that is. The wet season leaves a freshwater layer across the pans, which attract migratory duck, geese, pelicans and the greater flamingos that flock to the area for their breeding season; while the long grass on the fringes of the pan and the fresh water from recent rains become grazing land and respite for migrating zebra and wildebeest.
The stout trunks and spidery branches of baobabs dot the landscape, providing natural landmarks for those attempting to traverse through the saline wilderness. Visitors will be entranced by the isolated, unmoving landscape of the dry season, broken only by gusts of hot air that move undeterred across the landscape. Meanwhile, the pans spring to life after the rains, with an air of activity buzzing around its peripherals and excellent wildlife viewing on offer.
- The Makgadikgadi Pans stretch for thousands of kilometres on flat, dry earth, offering solitude and a vast open escape
- A number of camp’s in the pans or on its fringes are eager to show visitors the wonders of the deserted pans
- The dry season offers excellent quad-biking on the pans – a perfect way to cover as much ground as possible while there
- Visitors can try their hand at fossil hunting or spend some time in the company of one of Africa’s most famous animals: the meerkat