Makgadigadi is a desert salt pan close to the Okavango delta within Kalahari desert. There are places that need to be visited if you like hiking. Makgadikgadi is definitely one of these places.
How to get to Makgadikgadi salt pans
- The easiest way to get to the salt pans is to fly to Maun, Botswana. As it is currently getting direct flights to Botswana is already difficult, you'll have to fly through Johannesburg to Maun or Johannesburg-Gaborone, Botswana- Maun.
- Cost: Flights cost $200. Common carriers used on this route are Air Botswana and South African airlines.
- From Maun you can choose to self drive yourself through the pans, there are several car rental places all over Maun. But since it's quite a long drive from Maun to Makgadikgadi(200km) I opted for a paid safari.
- All-inclusive 3-7 days safari start at around $600.
- If you opt to drive yourself, get camping supplies at Maun. It's cheaper than getting them within Makgadikgadi.
- Note: Camping is the only form of accommodation within the pans, though there are various classes of camps starting from the most basic camps to luxury campsites.
When to go.
The best time to visit this beauty in Africa is between March and October when the weather is dry. In this time, the salt pan is dry and the glaring white surface extends so far in front of your eyes such that you see the curvature of the earth.
Between August to October, wildlife begins moving towards the Boteti River in anticipation of the rainy season that begins in November. Birds also migrate to the region and about 50 species can be observed.
During the dry season, the days are usually hot and you could get dehydrated easily while the nights are cold and freezing.
The wet season which is between November and March can be good for the safaris, however, the roads are muddy and quite often impassable.
What to see.
To see the might of the whole pan, you can hire a helicopter to fly you over the pan. The helicopter ride starts from the southeast side all the way to the Boteti River. Lovers of wildlife are in luck as this is the path springboks and buffalos follow.
What to do next after leaving Makgadikgadi
- Most people actually don't visit the national park, they just drive through the salt pans on their way to Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls is about 500 km away from Maun.
- From Victoria Falls you can fly out through Victoria falls airport in Zimbabwe or Living stone airport in Zambia.