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Makgadikgadi is a fascinating place to visit - the huge shimmering salt pans remain empty for much of the year, before the wet season arrives, attracting the mass migration of wildebeest and zebra across the pans.

The pans fill during the rains from mid-November, and retain most of their water right through into April or May. During this time they are transformed into great sheets of water, which attract vast flocks of flamingo and other migratory birds.

A few days in Makgadikgadi makes a perfect complement to any safari in the Okavango Delta or Chobe River areas, as it offers a completely different desert wilderness experience. Here you will focus on species unique to the area, which include gemsbok, brown hyena and springbok, as well as the region’s geology, archaeology and anthropology – essential for anyone interested in evolution and the origins of the Okavango Delta.

Makgadikgadi lies southeast of the Okavango Delta and are surrounded by the Kalahari Desert. We recommend visiting the park in both dry season and wet season in order to witness the pans at their driest, to experience their dramatic transformation into a water wonderland, and to see the wildebeest and zebra migrations.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: blue wildebeest, brown hyena, lesser flamingo, gemsbok, Burchell’s zebra
  • Where: Northern Botswana, Botswana

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

African Adventure: Zimbabwe, Botswana & Namibia

Journey through Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to observe southern Africa’s iconic wildlife in some of the continent’s finest national parks. Starting at the magnificent Victoria Falls, highlights include excursions in Hwange, Matobo, Moremi, Chobe and the serene Okavango Delta.

  • When to go: Jun-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 17 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,095 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Green Season Secrets

In the Green Season the arrival of the summer rains transforms the dry land into verdant pastures dotted with wild flowers. At this time of plenty, there is no shortage of food, so many species choose to bring their young into the world, attracting the unwanted attention of various predators.

  • When to go: Nov-Mar
  • Duration inc. flights: 16 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £7,495 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Kalahari in Bloom

Explore some of Botswana’s finest wildlife destinations during the scenic splendour of the green season as the arrival of the rains brings the landscape to life. As the arid plains are rejuvenated, large herds of herbivores gather to graze on the grasslands, followed by a host of predators, including hyena, cheetah and lion.

  • When to go: Oct-Mar
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,795 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Return of the Rivers

In recent years, water levels in the Savuti Channel have risen again after around ten years of laying dry, with the result that the attracted wildlife can be seen with ease. Enjoy vehicle safaris to see herds of elephants, packs of wild dogs, zebra and wildebeest, and leisurely river trips by mokoro dugout canoe.

  • When to go: Apr-Nov
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,495 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Jack’s Camp

Located deep in the Kalahari beside the world’s largest saltpan, the Makgadikgadi Pans, Jack’s is a classic safari camp comprising ten spacious, stylishly furnished, 1940s-style walk-in luxury tents. The area is famed for encounters with families of meerkats and sightings of brown hyena are almost guaranteed.

Meno a Kwena Camp

Ideally located for safaris into three pristine wildlife sanctuaries – the Okavango Delta, Makgadikgadi Pans and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve – this traditional, owner-operated safari camp is set on a cliff top above the banks of the Boteti River, overlooking a beautiful waterhole.

Nata Lodge

Located on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Nata Lodge offers traditional chalet and tented camp accommodation among Mokolwane palms. It is also situated close to the wildlife-rich Nata River within the Nata Sanctuary, where flamingos and pelicans are found in their thousands.