The Makgadikgadi Pans are the gigantic salt pans which are located in the north-eastern region of Botswana and are the remains of the ancient Lake Makgadikgadi which began to dry up thousands of years ago. The place is very famous amongst the researchers and enthusiastic tourists who visit the large slat pans by taking cheap flights to Gaborone. The place comprises an area of about 16,000 square kilometres and acts as sanctuary for abundance of wildlife which is very popular for an excellent game and also serves as the habitat for a wide collection of flora and fauna.
Encircled by the desert of Kalahari and situated in the south-eastern region of Okavango Delta, Makgadikgadi comprises many pans with the largest one known as Sua located in the close vicinity of Sowa village which was discovered by the great explorer David Livingstone. The site displays various archaeological features like the tools from stone-age. Nata Bird Sanctuary is located in the north-eastern side of this area which was established in 1993 and was given the award of ‘Tourism for Tomorrow Award’. The site is also very famous for the mining operation of soda ash or sodium carbonate), Nwetwe Pan ( a recurrent lake which is filled with the rain water) and the Nxai Pan( the salt pan in the form of a depression which also serve as the location of Nxai Pan National Park very famous for providing habitat to herds of zebras).
A number of wildlife documentaries have been filmed here for presenting the life of Kalahari Meerkats- which are the breeds of Mongoose family. While watching these antics and comical beasts you can enjoyably spend long hours. These creatures are immune to the poisonous scorpions of Kalahari which are often found standing on rear legs and extending upwards as high as can they stretch. Another attraction here is the stunning Kubu Island which is a granite stony outgrowth elevated at the height of about 20 metres an displays the antiquated pottery shards, cutting tools and the remain of an ancient fortification with the history dating back to some 2000 years ago.
In the month of September best game of large herds of wildebeest, zebras and antelopes can be seen who roam around the salty pans in search of water. The dry pans thus act as a gleaming oasis for a variety of birds such as Great White Pelicans, geese, Kittlitz’s Plover, Chestnut-banded Plover and the Greater Flamingos of South Africa during the time of rainfall. The grassland on the boundary of the pans also provides habitat to a number of lizards, snakes, Makgadikgadi spiny agama and rock monitors.
As the pans are salty they can’t support much of the vegetation so the only plant life that exists here is the bluish green algae where as some fringes are bordered with shrubby savannas and green grasslands. The Baobab trees are the significant landmarks of the area amongst which one is name to honour the explorer James Chapman. Besides there are many fascinating and amazing sites at the place so you must include the Makgadikgadi Pans in your list of visiting places.