The Makgadikgadi Pans cover a vast area of central Botswana – the last vestiges of a huge inland lake that now only floods during the heavy summer rains. The Makgadikgadi’s two major salt flats are called Nwetwe (to the west) and Sua (to the east), each fringed by low grassland and numerous minor pans. A visit to the Makgadikgadi is one of Botswana’s major highlights, although access can be difficult between December and May.
Although exact dates depend on the local rainfall each year, the best time to visit is generally from June to November. These are the dry winter months, when the salt crust is firmest, and a few designated routes open up across the pans.
Camping at Kubu Island (above) is especially beautiful – a rocky outcrop, covered in baobabs, on the western edge of Sua Pan. If you are visiting in summer then head to the far west of Nwetwe Pan, which can be reached from the west through the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. As the annual summer rains rejuvenate the surrounding grasslands, thousands of zebra and wildebeest are drawn to the greening plains.
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