Inside of the Makgadikgadi National Park there are salt pans of rare beauty. Two of them are the largest, and very important ones. But there are many others around which deserve tourist attention. Nxai Pan is one of them. It is so beautiful and special that the government founded a National Park only to protect it, in 1992. Nxai Pan National Park stretches over 2,578 sq km of mainly dry land, with few vegetation. The most important trees are baobabs, which are giant over here. Some of them have been a map reference for ages. Usually tourists come to safari to Nxai Pan along the same itinerary including Makgadikgadi Pans park, so this is an important visit point. One park would not be the same without the other.

Nature and wildlife at Nxai Pan

Baobabs are the most common trees at Nxai National Park, and the most beautiful too. There are many spread all over the land but three of them are a real monument. They call them Baines’ Baobabs. They are three millenia-old trees standing almost alone in a wide, white dusty plain. In 1861, British explorer and artist Thomas Baines painted them in a very famous oil painting. Since then, the trees are named after him.
Many interesting wild animals live or cross the territory of Nxai Pan National Park. Zebras, wildebeests, antelopes, impala, ostriches, springboks are preys for lions, leopards and cheetahs. You could also meet elephants as they migrate, giraffes, hyenas and jackals. Game viewing is the main activity for tourists who come visit this park. But make sure you always know what time of the year is good for planning your safari, here.
Baines Baobabs – photo by Ralf Ellerich

Rains at Nxai Pan

Nxai Pan National Park is usually a place you can easily reach. There are many tour operators and guides who organize safaris or hiking along these dusty roads. The problem with the territory is the rain season. From November to April, storms bring long, heavy rainy days over the park and everything becomes a pond, or a lake. Or rivers, like the main roads which are flooded all the time. It is almost impossible to visit tha park during the rain season, though this is the best period to meet animals.
If you just want to visit the land and game is not the main thing you want to see, book your safari between May and September. In Botswana this is  autumn and winter time, but temperatures are not cold at all.

Tourist information about Nxai Pan

How to get there: you can get to Nxai Pan by airplane. From Gaborone you shall take a national flight to the airports of Maun or Kasane. There you will meet already tour operators organizing safaris, or you will rent a jeep car and drive yourself 160 km east, to Makgadikgadi area and Nxai. You can also arrive directly to the Nxai Lodges Airsrip, with smaller airplanes organized for tourists.
What to do: excursions on foot in order to explore the salt pan, safaris in order to meet animals or visit the Baines’ Baobabs. You can go birdwatching or try a quad-bike riding experience.
wildebeests running