Deep in the heart of north-eastern Botswana, the Makgadikgadi Pans is a remote wilderness of staggering beauty and extreme solitude. Surrounded by the Kalahari Desert, Makgadikgadi is the remains of a great lake – two large saltpans and a number of smaller pans – which, after the summer rains, fill with water, awakening dormant fish and other aquatic creatures that in turn attract flocks of flamingos, pelicans and wading birds. The summer months also bring the spectacular migration of thousands of zebra, and the predators that follow.
As with all reserves and parks, the Makgadikgadi Pans offers a range of accommodation – from budget, to comfortable or luxury lodging. July to October is high season, so that will inevitably come with slightly elevated rates. The park itself can be reached on a self-drive, organized mobile, or a fly-in safari. Naturally a charter flight will be more expensive than self-drive, so your costs will be determined by your choice of transport (and lodge), as well as the time of year you choose to travel.
The Makgadikgadi Pans is hot and desert-like. The park experiences distinct dry (April to October – the only times the pans themselves are accessible) and wet seasons (November to March). Weather wise, the best time to visit is May to August (less hot during the day with dry conditions). June to December offers the best wildlife viewing and best road conditions (dry), but it does get hot and dusty. During the wet season, the pans fill up, animals congregate to drink and birds are breeding, but it’s very hot, roads can become boggy, and afternoon thundershowers can interfere with activities.