General The Makgadikgadi Pans stretch out over 12,000km2 forming one of the largest saltpans in the world. Surrounded by semi-arid Kalahari savannah, the pans experience a harsh climate, hot with little rain, and are normally a vast, glaring expanse of salt-saturated clay. The complex consists of two major pans, Ntwetwe and Sua, surrounded by a number of smaller pans. During the rainy season Sua Pan is flooded (up to 30 cm deep) by inflow from the Nata River, providing the best breeding site for flamingos in Southern Africa.
Location The easiest way to see the Pans is via Nata Bird Sanctuary or Kukonje Island however access onto the Pans themselves is limited. Lekhubu Island is the most popular destination in the area offering the best experience of the Pans. Wildlife The landscape of the Pans is a fascinating world of white stretching as far as the eye can see. Wildlife is scarce on the Pans themselves although the surrounding grasslands support animals such as Brown Hyena, Suricates and Zebra. There are a few baobab trees which stand out in this flat landscape with Chapman's baobab the largest. Birdlife here can be spectacular especially in the Flamingo breeding season - the best place to witness this spectacle is from Sua Pan or in the Nata Bird Sanctuary. The surrounding grassland supports a variety of larks and pipits throughout the year as well as Korhaans and Sandgrouse.
Camping There are a few lodges in Gweta and Nata that offer pan trips - you can even do overnight quad biking trips, sleeping out under the stars (only possible in the dry season). There is only one community campsite in the Makgadikgadi Pans, at the well-known Lekhubu island, which has fascinating rocky outcrops and stunted baobab trees making for interesting photographs. Photos See below for a selection of photos taken in the Makgadikgadi Pans: