Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

The lesser-known Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is positioned almost halfway between Maun and Nata on the Francistown road in northern Botswana safari tours. A meek looking turnoff to the park’s main opening can be sited in about 160 kilometers east of Maun and 45 kilometers west of the small village of Gweta, which has the nearby lodge accommodation, fuel and supplies.

From going off the major tar road, 8 kilometers of coarse gravel road takes you to the park entrance gate, where entry fees are to be paid. All roads inside the park are jagged and in many incidences very sandy, so it is necessary to have a 4×4 vehicle. It is also sensible to take water and travel in mountain bike with a second vehicle, as, if there should be a go kaput deep within the park; it is likely to be a long wait prior to any other vehicle is possible to come along to help.

There are two camping alternatives within the park accessible to visitors. The original is Njuca Hills, traditionally spelt Njugha, where two camping sites overlooking the huge open plains, not fully formed apart from for two pit latrines, afford visitors the chance to witness large migrations of zebra and wildebeest in the period of the onset of the rains. Njuca Hills are located 26 kilometers south of the major entrance gate and it must be noted that no water is accessible at this site, so campers must be entirely self-contained.

The additional option is the open camping ground at Kumaga, 48 kilometres southwest of the main way in, positioned on the banks of the Boteti River across from Kumaga village. This site, which is also another entry point to the park, is provided with an ablution block and water standpipe. Water here, which is given from a borehole, has a mainly unpleasant sulphur odor when first drawn, however looses it if left to stand. However, it is recommended that water for drinking purposes must be brought. Inadequate basic food supplies can be got in the Kumaga village. Kumaga gets its name from a pool near the village that is made up of edible tubers.

The Boteti River, one time a broad strong-flowing waterway fed by waters got from the Okavango in the months of June and July all year round, later dwindling to a chain of pools, final ceased flowing in September 1992. The very last few deep stable pools that stay behind are competed for by humans, livestock and wildlife, yielding considerable differences. It is thought that by all that the present drought cycle will quickly be broken.

Makgadikgadi, the name of which implies a vast open lifeless land, is not without its folklore. There are stories of people setting out from Gweta to explore the land that lay between them and the Boteti River to seek a favorable environment in which to settle. They entered these great thirstlands at the driest time of year, drawn by what they supposed as large lakes of dazzling water on the horizon. Anguish badly from thirst, the lakes kept drawing them quickly on their attempts to get to the life-giving water that all the time stayed just in front of them. Slowly, one by one, they cut down and died.
Vacations in Botswana

But Makgadikgadi is not at all times dry. The pans, which are located in half the south, east and northeastern areas of the park, fill up with water in the period of the rains from mid-November and regularly hold on to their water into April or May. The “thirstlands” are after changed into great sheets of water, which attract a fantastic array of waterbirds and trigger spectacular migrations of wildebeest and zebra. It is regrettable that this vast water display becomes nearly unreachable by road at this moment, but anyone lucky enough to fly over the area in the period of the wet season sees a water wonderland of unbelievable picturesque beauty.

Makgadikgadi was at first state land. Citizens have never been dwellers in its waterless interior, but moments of drought, nearby villagers were allowable to graze their livestock inside the area, thinning them to their homes when circumstances improved. The area was confirmed a game reserve in 1970 and in December 1992, the boundaries were unlimited and National Park status was attained. The present park occupies some 4,900 square kilometres.

Just, as with all parks and reserves, the utilization of an anti-malarial prophylactic is powerfully recommended and, when wandering within these areas, a 4×4 vehicle, take emergency water and food, is required. Charming 4-wheel drive prior to negotiating sandy patches not only reduces the opportunity of becoming stuck, but also saves taking up the road surfaces for others.
Botswana safaris

Both dry season and wet season tour this park are suggested in order to observe the spectacular manifestation of the pans at their driest and to understand the alteration of a water wonderland, and spot the wildebeest and zebra migrations, in the wet season. Connecting a few days in Makgadikgadi with a related period of time in its close by sister park, Nxai Pan, will give guests a noticeably different experience. Makgadikgadi – a great wilderness of space and timelessness.