If you have ever heard about sights and sounds in Africa but you have never experienced it, the best place for you to do is the Nxai Pan National Park which is located in Botswana. It is an open Park meaning that animals roam freely without any restrictions and since it is also a home to the largest salt pans in the world.
The Nxai National Park is a home to a number of wild life species that is both animals that is predatory animals, herbivores and birds. It is a breeding place for most of these animals and the best time for one to go animal viewing in the Nxai Pan is during the wet season also known as the green season which starts in November and ends around Mid-April. This is also the perfect time for one to go for birding within the Park but you will need to park appropriately so that you do not get cold. Game drives and trekking through the park are majorly done during the dry season and this is because the roads are a bit accessible as compared to the dry season when they flood especially around the Nxai Pans.
The salt pans which are known to be the largest in the whole world are located within the Nxai pan National Park. The salt pans offer a beautiful scenery especially during the wet season when they are filled with water and wild life ranging from hippos to a number of bird species but note that it might be extremely hard for you to easily access the slat pans during the wet season as they are always flooded especially if you are driving. The dry season is a good time for you to access the salt pans although you should be ready for the heat that comes in the afternoon. Therefore you should time yourself and either go during morning hours or in the evenings especially if you are just walking to the Pans.
The Nxai Pan National Park experiences the second largest annual animal migration of Zebras which normally cross the park between November and December. It is also within these months that most of the animals that habitate within the Park breed and for all those that want to see young animals, this is your best chance and due to the rampant young clueless animals in the Park, the predator animals are never far away waiting to hunt.
The Nxai Pan national Park has a lot of bird species that habitate within the salt pans especially during the wet season when they are filled with lots of water and these amount to about 220 bird species that have been recorded Birding in the Pans can be carried out as you are boat cruising, riding a Mokoro, and taking a walk within the Park and game drives. Some of the bird species that can easily be seen in the Nxai Pan include the saddle billed stork, ostriches, the pin-tailed whydah, the black bustard, the Egyptian goose, the yellow billed duck, the red billed francolin, the red eyed dove and many more other species.
Game drives through the Nxai Pan National Park are mostly carried out during the wet season when the grass is plenty and animals have what to feed on making it easy to spot the different animals roaming around the Park. The wet season is first experienced between the months of November and December and the rains cause the salt pans to be flooded with water turning the whole place into a green safari dream. Some of the animals that you get to see when you go for the game drives include lions, giraffes, elephants, buffalos, bat eared fox, the black jackal, impalas, the wildebeest, springbok, cheetahs, zebras, gemsbok, kudu, ostriches and wild dogs. These animals can be spotted at the water holes where they normally go in groups. You will need an experienced tour guide with you and a four wheel car to take you around the park due to the bad condition that the roads are in.
Bush walks through the Nxai Pan National park with a tour guide along the dusty narrow roads that are scattered with grass and trees gives tourists a feel of the wild in Botswana and it is a whole new experience as tourists get to see the various animals and birds up close. You will also be escorted by trackers so that you get to avoid bumping into the dangerous animals but at the same time watching others without being noticed. While on the bush walks that are led by the San, you will also get to learn more about the culture of the Bush men, their history, their way of life and if you are lucky they also showcase their hunting skills. There is definitely no other fun way to enjoy the nature while listening to a bit of history.
A safari through the Nxai Pan National Park behind the lens is one that you will want to experience at least once in your life time because there is nothing that beats still photos as you remain with all the memories experienced in the National Park. All you need is a camera and other equipment used and if you do not own one, there are always cameras that are available on hire. Photo safaris are majorly done in the mornings and evenings due to lighting and some of the tourist attractions that you can take photos of are animals, the landscape and bird species.
Boat cruises in the Nxai Pan National Park normally take place around the wetlands around the park and the Okavango River. Here you will have a close look at the bird life that habitates around the swamps, the large aquatic life, go for fishing and all this is done in Mokoro which is a canoe that is handmade by the locals from wood although sometimes there are boats that can take you around for a small fee giving you a chance to explore the Nxai Pan National Park on water and get to the parts of the Park where you cannot reach with a van.
The markets that are located outside the national park should not be missed as you will get fresh food, fruits and merchandize that is locally made and designed colorfully. The markets usually has all products but you should be able to bargain as tourists are overcharged for everything that they buy and carry changed money or small notes and if you cannot bargain, do not leave your tour guide behind. Have fun shopping at the markets before you go for a game drive in the Nxai Pan National Park.
Trekking through the Nxai is normally carried out during the dry season because during the wet season, the Nxai National Park is always flooded making the trek routes extremely hard. The trek through the Park is only allowed if you have a tour guide with you and it is mostly done in the mornings and evenings since the afternoons tend to get way too hot for a trek. A trek through the Nxai Pan National Park will reward you with a view of the animals, birds and the vast vegetation that covers the whole Park.
The night drives in the Nxai Pan National Park are allowed and it’s the only time that you will get to see most of the nocturnal animals especially the nocturnal cats that hunt at night. There are also birds that come out at night and unlike during the day game drives, you have to carry warm clothes as the nights are much cooler as compared to daylight.
Cultural walks around the Nxai Pan National Park will lead you to the Bush men also known as the San who are believed to be the first inhabitants of Botswana. The Bush men will introduce you to the many ways that you can live in the semi-arid conditions, tell you about their cultural practices and traditions, take you around the Park while tracking down animals and teach you how to hunt using their bows. It will be an academic trip about one of the many cultures that are found in the country.
Every safari irrelevant of where it is being taken needs to be well organized for the participants to fully enjoy their destination and that is why you need to take your time and prepare for the safari to the Nxai Pan National Park in terms of clothes, food, transportation and other details like the weather and if you are not sure about what to take, you can check out our website or get in touch with us for a better experience in the Park.
It is located near the vast Makgadikgadi National Park in northern eastern Botswana. The Nxai salt pans are part of the Makgadikgadi salt flats. Part to the park is covered in acacia woodlands and a few other tree species covering 2576sq kilometers of the park. The park was established in 1970 with its borders stretching to the Baines Baobabs.
The wildlife in Nxai Pans National park is mainly concentrated on the waterholes after the rains. Some of the regular species of mammals in the park include lions, springbok, bat eared fox, jackal, kudu, giraffe, impala, ostrich, zebra, elephants, impala, kudu and mnay others. Zebras and elephant often flick the waterholes with their cubs after the rain which draws many potential predators to the site.
Some of the birds in Nxai include kestrel, goshawk, balck korhaan and vultures. Manyb other birds migrate to the park during the rainy months in November to April
The pan can be accessed via the same route as for Makgadikgadi Park on Maun road. The parks are actually 134km from Maun and 65km from Ngweta. The park is more accessible during the dry season months of May to September when the roads are firmer after the rains. 4X4 are required to cross the park.
There are no camps or safari lodges in Nxai National park. Accommodation is available in Maun and safari lodges in the sister park Makgadikgadi national park.