The MAKGADIKGADI PANS GAME RESERVE – once a super lake -- represents something unlike anything you will see elsewhere (except at Namibia’s famous Etosha Pan). The Reserve is made up of two vast salt flats and surrounding grass and woodland savanna. It is not a regarded as a big game area. The area does support a large wildlife population but animal migration makes game viewing unreliable. A decision to visit the Pans should be prompted by a desire for a complete desert experience – including geology, archeology, and anthropology of the area. It is yet another face of African wilderness.
In the cooler winter months (May – September) the cracked-dry pans shimmer under the blazing sun. Summer rains (November – April) turn the salt flats into a muddy morass. The pans are transformed into a game rich wonderland. Huge flocks of waterfowl along with large numbers of game animals congregate at the pans to enjoy the bounty of water and resources.
Though pilots can overfly much of the pans, landing an aircraft on them is not permitted (except in emergency). Aircraft land at a designated airstrip. Safari participants are met and taken to their destination by camp landrover.
JACK’S CAMP – Makgadikgadi Pans
Golden grasslands, shimmering saltpans, desert palms. A complete desert experience and unique offering: the Kalahari, it’s geology and archeology, contemporary inhabitants and their dwellings, its wildlife, experienced both by day and night, by land rover and on foot. And, in season, an immense wetland. Old-school Africa tented luxury at the oasis. Accommodation at the Pans available at several different camps by Uncharted Africa to suit various budgets. http://www.unchartedafrica.com
HAINA SAFARI LODGE, Central Kalahari
The Kalahari Game Reserve is the second largest protected area in the world. It is a wide open, flat area with 4 major fossil river systems running through it and numerous lightly grassed pans. It is here that Mark and Delia Owens lived when they did their research on brown hyena and wrote the book Cry of the Kalahari. Accommodation is in a lovely tented lodge just outside the reserve. Your host is also a pilot and he looks forward to welcoming you. Some of the activities will include a short presentation by the San people (bushman) on how they have survived in this harsh climate as well as walks and rides to see what the desert will show you. This is not a major animal viewing stop, but we have been told that lion are regular visitors to camp and herds of buffalo, zebra and other antelope can be seen. www.hainasafarilodge.com
KALAHARI PLAINS CAMP – Central Kalahari
Kalahari Plains Camp overlooks an immense pan with endless horizons and beautiful sky. The area in winter is a dry desert-type system, when game viewing is focused on antelope as well as predators such as lion, cheetah, leopard, brown hyaena and caracal. Small predators also found here are black-backed jackal, meerkat (suricates), Cape fox, honey badger and a myriad mongoose species. The Lodge has ensuite canvas units with a sleep-out above each from which to enjoy moonlit or star-studded nights www.wilderness-safaris.com
PLANET BAOBAB - Ntwetwe Pans
This is a very funky lodge, owned and managed by the same company as Jack's camp. They have a number of itineraries such as Meerkat Mania, which gives you a good feel for this part of Botswana. The first activity of the afternoon will be a bush walk and sundowner drink, followed by a dinner. You sleeping accommodation is in a Bakalanga Hut. Next day, after breakfast, you will drive to a Villlage & Cattle post and be served a traditional Lunch. From there you continue to the Ntwetwe Pans. Part of the experience is riding on a quad bike. You will eat and sleep-out in a bed-roll on the pans under the stars. An extrordinary experience. www.unchartedafrica.com