Wildlife in Nxai Pan National Park

Migration Expeditions is set in the heart of the Nxai Pan National Park in the arid Kalahari ecosystem. It’s a photographer’s dream, so we have put together some travellers’ photos to showcase what you can expect from your safari experience here.

1. The Zebra Migration

The zebra migration that arrives in Nxai Pan National Park is a big attraction between December and March each year, over the rainy season. Tens of thousands of zebra start from Namibia, in the Caprivi Strip all the way down to Nxai Pan and back, a total of 1000 km. It’s the longest migration in Africa, all for the nutritious, tasty grasses that are found in the pan. Migrations are a natural phenomenon and essential for the ecosystem to avoid zebras to over-graze and ensure that food sources are optimally used. Predators also benefit from this wilderness occasion as they follow the zebras and other herbivores, prey on the weak and younger herd members as the journey unfolds.

This Zebra Migration is one of the longest African migrations, spanning 500km one way and 500km another – making it a roundtrip of 1000 km.
The ecosystem and weather play an integral part in the Migration’s direction and how the zebras move along their journey.
They usually start in the Caprivi Strip in the northeastern corner of Nambia. Here, floodplains provide expansive water and food sources.
The journey to Nxai Pan, an extensive grass plain on the northern fringe of the Makgadikgadi basin in Botswana for the sweet & nutritional grasses. These grassy plains are peppered with fossil beds and smaller pans. It’s believed that the Migration pattern is hereditary as generations know exactly where to go.

The incredible thing about this migration is that there were veterinary fences put up in the 1950s & 1960s to prevent foot and mouth disease among cattle, but with the removal of these fences the zebra instinctively followed the ancient paths their ancestors took. Other plains game follow the zebra, including wildebeest and oryx. Predators also lurk, awaiting the opportunity for an easy kill, which makes for great action photography!

2. Kalahari Lions


The black-maned Kalahari lions are a representation of brute strength. It has been found that the darker the mane, the more testosterone they have and the stronger their genetic makeup is. They also have larger paws to be able to manage their body temperature, it’s no wonder these brutes can handle such high temperatures in the Kalahari Desert heat.

3. Cheetah



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With wide-open spaces at Nxai Pan, it’s a great place to ‘spot’ cheetah. Cheetah’s hunting strategy is based on their ability to go from 0 – 113 km in a matter of seconds, but they tire quickly, which means they try to outrun their prey before their energy runs out. The best way to differentiate a cheetah is their long tear-lines, which is believed to help them withstand harsh environments and see as far as 5 km.

4. Bat-eared foxes



Bat-eared foxes are often found in arid conditions and even though they are in the fox family they actually survive off lizards, scorpions and insects. They hunt at night which is why they have the comically large ears. The misconception that they’re ‘predators’ has led to their declining in numbers, when they come into contact with farm-lands, they are often killed by farmers who think they will kill their cattle.

5. Desert-adapted elephants


The desert-adapted elephants are known as the ‘ghosts of Nxai Pan’ because the clay soil sticks to them giving them a light grey hue The white clay also makes dramatic dust clouds, meaning photographs are eerily beautiful here, and a good place for any wildlife or amateur photographer alike.

6. Oryx, giraffe, springbok and other plains game





7. All together now



With wide-open land and endless horizons, lots of animals gather around waterholes, which gives you a great opportunity to capture all of them together in one frame. We can’t wait to have you at Migration Expeditions for this adventure of a lifetime!


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Get in touch now to experience the solitude and stillness in Nxai Pan National Park!