Makgadikgadi Pans National Park includes a portion of the 4,600-square- mile (12,000-km2) Makgadikgadi Pans, which is the size of Portugal. The pans are nearly devoid of human habitation and give one a feeling of true isolation.
Once one of the world’s largest prehistoric lakes, most of the Makgadikgadi Pans are now barren salt plains fringed with grasslands and isolated “land islands” of vegetation, baobab and palm trees. Scattered Stone Age tools have been found. Engravings left by explorers David Livingstone and Frederick Selous in the trunks of ancient baobab trees mark their passage through the region so many years ago.
The reserve itself covers about 1,550-square-miles (3,900-km2). It is located south of the Maun-Nata road in northern Botswana and borders Nxai Pan National Park to the north. Large herds of blue wildebeest, zebra, springbok, gemsbok and thousands of flamingos may be seen December to May. Other wildlife includes suricate and meerkat. This is one of the best places to see the nocturnal brown hyena.
A recent exciting change is that the Boteti River, which forms the western border of the park, is flowing for the first time in decades! As a result, general wildlife viewing has in fact improved year-round in parts of the reserve. In addition, rhino may now be seen on the western side of the reserve.
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