For much of the year, most of this desolate area remains waterless and extremely arid; and large mammals are thus absent. But during and following years of good rain, the two largest pans – Sowa to the east and Ntwetwe to the west – fill, attracting wildlife such as vast herds of zebra and wildebeest on to the grassy plains most spectacularly flamingos at Sowa and Nata Sanctuary. Flamingo numbers can run into the tens of thousands, and the spectacle can be completely overwhelming. The Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve incorporates the western side of Ntwetwe Pan, providing a game rich area of extensive grasslands and acacia woodland. At its northern boundary, it meets the Nxai Pan National Park, separated only by the Nata-Maun Road. In the wet season, this reserve can offer good wildlife viewing, particularly when large herds of zebra and wildebeest begin their westward migration.

Facts & Figures

Park / Reserve Size: 16 000 sq km
Reserve Type: National Park
Big 5: No
Specialist Specie: Gemsbok
Malaria Area: Yes
Nearest Town: Nata

Accommodation in Makgadikgadi Pans

Leroo La Tau

Leroo La Tau Lodge features twelve luxurious thatched and glass-fronted suites with en-suite bathrooms, each unit raised on a wooden platform. The main lounge and dining area, with its inviting wooden and thatch finish, allows you to relax at the bar while listening to the wide variety of night sounds so characteristic of the African bush. Alternatively you can lounge…

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Accomodation Type: Full Board
Budget: More than $500 p.p.p.d.

Nata Lodge

An ideal overnight stopover, Nata Lodge is an oasis set among the Mokolwane palms on the edge of the pans. It is ideally situated close to the entrance to the Nata Sanctuary and is just off the main road, 10 km from Nata village. This is the junction to the Okavango, Chobe and Francistown areas. Nata Lodge offers 22 luxury…

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Accomodation Type: Full Board, Camping
Budget: $150 - $300 p.p.p.d.

Tours and Activities in Makgadikgadi Pans

Botswana Highlights Tour

Botswana is one of Africa’s top wildlife and safari destinations. From the fascinating desert landscapes of the Kalahari, to the spectacular waterways of the Okavango, to the game-rich national parks, Botswana is the ultimate destination for the nature or safari enthusiast. On this safari tour, you will spend 16 days exploring this incredible country- a comprehensive, complete experience. You will…

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Duration: 16 days
Budget: Less than $150 p.p.p.d.

Botswana Self-drive Safaris

A self-drive safari through Botswana is an amazing experience. Botswana hosts some of Africa's finest safari destinations with some of the highest wildlife concentrations on earth. These range from the arid Tuli region and Kalahari desert to the water wonderlands of the Okavango Delta, Chobe River and Linyanti swamps. Mystical landscapes will touch the soul in the Makgadigadi Pans, and…

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Duration: 10-21 days
Budget: $150 - $300 p.p.p.d.

Lookout for


Key Species


Greater Flamingo
Chestnut-banded Plover
Great White Pelican

Makgadikgadi Spiny Agama
Rock Monitor
Leopard Tortoise


Salt Pans
Rocky Outcrop

Wildlife Ratings

Big 5: 2
Mammals: 5
Birds: 8
Reptiles: 6
Trees: 5
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