Makgadikgadi National Park

One of Africa’s truly unique destinations

Photos

The largest salt pan in the world

The dramatic lunar expanse of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans is a complete contrast to the verdant landscapes of the Okavango and Linyanti regions. Once a vast super-lake that covered a significant proportion of Botswana thousands of years ago, it is now one of the largest salt basins on earth. Visible from space, its stark, white, featureless terrain appears to stretch across 12,000 sq km, melting seamlessly into the horizon.

A combination of soaring temperatures and the extremely arid climate make this captivating wilderness quite inhospitable for most of the year. However, from November through to March, the rainfalls transform these empty salt pans into a veritable Garden of Eden. As the pans flood with water a myriad of powder blue lakes and verdant landscapes form to become a hub of wildlife activity. In particular attracting the little known yet truly impressive Zebra migration, with herds of up to 20,000 passing through the pans. Equally as remarkable are the flocks of flamingos which congregate in their hundreds of thousands, as well as big herds of springbok and wildebeest, followed closely by predators, making for fantastic game viewing. Brown hyena and meerkats can also be spotted gazing through the surrounding grasslands.

Wildlife

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park has very seasonal wildlife viewing. In the green season you can expect to see big, migrating herds of Burchell’s zebra and blue wildebeest, oryx, eland and red hartebeest. Leopard are quite common in the riverine forest and lion can often be seen hunting zebra, along with spotted and brown hyena.

  • Botswana Safari Makagadikgadi National Park
  • Botswana Safari Makagadikgadi National Park

Seasonal Information

Find out the best times to visit the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.

  • Green Season
  • Mid Season
  • High Season

January is the rainy season in Makgadikgadi National Park. During this time the pans are replete and, as a result, dramatic migrations of wildebeest, springbok, gemsbok, and zebra take place. They are followed by lions, cheetah, and hyenas. If the rains are strong enough, the salty surfaces of the pans fill with mirroring waters of incredible scenic beauty, with up to 30,000 flamingos turning them into a deep pink. It is unfortunate that this huge water spectacle becomes practically inaccessible by road at this time, but anyone lucky enough to fly over the area during the wet season will see a water wonderland.

Plan your Safari

February is the rainy season in Makgadikgadi National Park. During this time the pans are replete and, as a result, dramatic migrations of wildebeest, springbok, gemsbok, and zebra take place. They are followed by lions, cheetah, and hyenas. If the rains are strong enough, the salty surfaces of the pans fill with mirroring waters of incredible scenic beauty, with up to 30,000 flamingos turning them into a deep pink. It is unfortunate that this huge water spectacle becomes practically inaccessible by road at this time, but anyone lucky enough to fly over the area during the wet season will see a water wonderland.

Plan your Safari

March is the rainy season in Makgadikgadi National Park. During this time the pans are replete and, as a result, dramatic migrations of wildebeest, springbok, gemsbok, and zebra take place. They are followed by lions, cheetah, and hyenas. If the rains are strong enough, the salty surfaces of the pans fill with mirroring waters of incredible scenic beauty, with up to 30,000 flamingos turning them into a deep pink. It is unfortunate that this huge water spectacle becomes practically inaccessible by road at this time, but anyone lucky enough to fly over the area during the wet season will see a water wonderland.

Plan your Safari

April is the rainy season in Makgadikgadi National Park. During this time the pans are replete and, as a result, dramatic migrations of wildebeest, springbok, gemsbok, and zebra take place. They are followed by lions, cheetah, and hyenas. If the rains are strong enough, the salty surfaces of the pans fill with mirroring waters of incredible scenic beauty, with up to 30,000 flamingos turning them into a deep pink. It is unfortunate that this huge water spectacle becomes practically inaccessible by road at this time, but anyone lucky enough to fly over the area during the wet season will see a water wonderland.

Plan your Safari

As May approaches we move into the dry season in Makgadikgadi National Park. The glistening surface of the pan turns into an expanse of salt and sand under the hot sun rays. As such, the vegetation, particularly in the eastern grassland region, begins to dry up which makes it is easier to drive in the park. The vast Boteti River provides a source of water that attracts a large number of herbivores, particularly wildebeests and zebras, with the perfect setting of lush vegetation. During the day temperatures are mild, around 28°C, but once the sun goes down temperatures can drop, sometimes to below zero.

Plan your Safari

June is the dry season in Makgadikgadi National Park. The glistening surface of the pan turns into an expanse of salt and sand under the hot sun rays. As such the vegetation, particularly in the eastern grassland region, begins to dry up which makes it is easier to drive in the park. The vast Boteti River provides a source of water that attracts a large number of herbivores, particularly wildebeests and zebras, with the perfect setting of lush vegetation. During the day temperatures are mild, around 25°C, but once the sun goes down temperatures can drop, sometimes to below zero.

Plan your Safari

July is the dry season in Makgadikgadi National Park. The glistening surface of the pan turns into an expanse of salt and sand under the hot sun rays. As such the vegetation, particularly in the eastern grassland region, begins to dry up which makes it is easier to drive in the park. The vast Boteti River provides a source of water that attracts a large number of herbivores, particularly wildebeests and zebras, with the perfect setting of lush vegetation. During the day temperatures are mild, around 25°C, but once the sun goes down temperatures can drop, sometimes to below zero.

Plan your Safari

August is the height of the dry season in Makgadikgadi National Park. The glistening surface of the pan turns into an expanse of salt and sand under the hot sun rays. As such the vegetation, particularly in the eastern grassland region, begins to dry up which makes it is easier to drive in the park. The vast Boteti River provides a source of water that attracts a large number of herbivores, particularly wildebeests and zebras, with the perfect setting of lush vegetation. During the day temperatures are mild around 25°C, but once the sun goes down temperatures can drop, sometimes to below zero.

Plan your Safari

As we slip into September we draw to the end of the dry season in Makgadikgadi National Park. The glistening surface of the pan turns into an expanse of salt and sand under the hot sun rays. As such the vegetation, particularly in the eastern grassland region, begins to dry up making it is easier to drive in the park. The vast Boteti River provides a source of water that attracts a large number of herbivores, particularly wildebeests and zebras, with the perfect setting of lush vegetation. During the day temperatures are mild around 25°C, but once the sun goes down temperatures can drop, sometimes to below zero.

Plan your Safari

As we slip into October we draw to the end of the dry season in Makgadikgadi National Park. The glistening surface of the pan turns into an expanse of salt and sand under the hot sun rays. As such the vegetation, particularly in the eastern grassland region, begins to dry up making it is easier to drive in the park. The vast Boteti River provides a source of water that attracts a large number of herbivores, particularly wildebeests and zebras, with the perfect setting of lush vegetation. During the day temperatures are mild around 25°C, but once the sun goes down temperatures can drop, sometimes to below zero.

Plan your Safari

November marks the start of the rainy season in Makgadikgadi National Park, as the pans are transformed into a meadow of luscious grasses, attracting herds of herbivores. Dramatic migrations of wildebeest, springbok, gemsbok, and zebra take place during this month. They are followed by lions, cheetah, and hyenas. If the rains are strong enough, the salty surfaces of the pans fill with mirroring waters of incredible scenic beauty, with up to 30,000 flamingos turning them into a deep pink. It is unfortunate that this huge water spectacle becomes practically inaccessible by road at this time, but anyone lucky enough to fly over the area during the wet season sees a water wonderland.

Plan your Safari

December is the rainy season in Makgadikgadi National Park. During this time the pans are luscious and as a result, dramatic migrations of wildebeest, springbok, gemsbok, and zebra take place. They are followed by lions, cheetah, and hyenas. If the rains are strong enough, the salty surfaces of the pans fill with mirroring waters of incredible scenic beauty, with up to 30,000 flamingos turning them into a deep pink. It is unfortunate that this huge water spectacle becomes practically inaccessible by road at this time, but anyone lucky enough to fly over the area during the wet season sees a water wonderland.

Plan your Safari