MAKGADIKGADI NATIONAL PARK

Located north of the Maun-Nata main road the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park on its northern border. The Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve – with an area of 3 900 sq km – incorporates the western end of Ntwetwe, extensive grasslands, and acacia woodland. At its northern boundary, it meets the Nxai Pan National Park, separated only by the Nata- Maun Road. The Makgadikgadi is a series of pans, the largest of which are Sowa and Ntwetwe, both of which are surrounded by a myriad of smaller pans. North of these two pans is Kudiakam pan, Nxai Pan and Kaucaca Pan. Intermingled between the pans are sand dunes, rocky islands, and peninsulas, and desert terrain.No vegetation can grow on the salty surface of the pans, but the fringes are covered with grasslands. Massive baobab trees populate some fringe areas – and their silhouettes create dramatic landscapes against a setting sun.

In the wet season, the National Park offers good wildlife viewing, particularly when large herds of zebra and wildebeest begin their westward migration to the Boteti region. Other species include gemsbok, eland and red hartebeest, as well as kudu, bushbuck, duiker, giraffe, springbok, steenbok, and even elephant, with all the accompanying predators, as well as the rare brown hyena. 30 km from the Nxai Pan National Park entrance, Baines’ Baobabs are a highlight for any visitor traveling this area of Botswana.

Seven huge, gnarled baobab trees, named after the 19th-century explorer Thomas Baines, is situated on a cape or island overlooking and surrounded by the white, crusty Kudiakam Pan. Baines stood here over a hundred years ago and painted this otherworldly scene. It has essentially remained unchanged.