The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is located in Botswana and covers an area of about 3,900 sq. Km; it extends North-West of the Ntwetwe Pan.
It encloses a very varied territory: about 20% of its extension is covered by the pan, near which there are a myriad of smaller salty surfaces, there are also wavy grasses that grow on the sand of the Kalahari and, on the West side, there is the Boteti River that outlines the West border; the Northern border is outlined by the road connecting Nata to Maun, that separates it from the Nxai National Park.
The Boteti River is the only source of perennial water in the park and, during the dry season, attracts a high concentration of animals, including oryxes, wildebeests, zebras, that give rise to the second largest migration after the Great Migration of the Serengeti; predators, such as lions, leopards, and hyenas, are also present, trying to take advantage of the situation to hunt; there are also many water birds and birds of prey that can be spotted and, in the waters of the river, you can see Nile crocodiles and hippos.
Since the Boteti river has returned and has a good water flow, buffaloes and some elephants can be found on its banks; here you can also see some white rhinos, but you have to be very lucky.
While during the rainy season, the prairies freshen up and the salty surfaces overflow; herbivores dissipate on the territory of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park and some move North to the Nxai National Park until, with the end of the rain, the water does not spill and they are forced to return to the East bank of the Boteti River .
There are also several animals in the park that have adapted to live in a semi-arid place, such as the oryxes, the brown hyenas, the aardvarks, the meerkats, the springboks, the bat-eared foxes,, the zorillas, the jackals and the squirrels; the lions have adapted themselves to this inhospitable place for them, some follow the herds in their migration, others are more robust and in the arid areas they can extract the water they need from their own prey.
There are also many species of birds, there are also not missing the eagles, the vultures and other birds of prey, the ostriches, the secretary birds; to these are added the migratory birds, coming here from the Northern hemisphere, and the water birds, that move here during the rains.
The vegetation in the park is very varied, ranging from riverine forest, to aquatic plants in the Boteti River, to wavy grasslands, to acacia bushes, to succulent plants, able to grow on soils with a high percentage of salt .
If you love the endless spaces and the desolated desert, the winter months, from June to October, are the perfect time to visit the park, in this season also the animals gather along the Boteti River course, so you can admire them; during the dry season it is relatively easy to drive into the park.
If you love birdwatching and want to admire the spectacle of lush grassland with many animals, the summer months from November to April are the best time; this is also the rainy season, that, if greening the vegetation and flooding the salty pan on one side, on the other makes it difficult to drive on the slopes, you have to be really skilled.