The Makgadikgadi Pans (4900km2) and Nxai Pans National Parks (2578km2) are two wildlife protected areas often referred to as The Pans Parks. They form one ecological unit which is only separated by the Nata- Maun Road which forms the Southern boundary of the Nxai Pan National Park and the Northern boundary of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.
The highlight of the Nxai Pan is the water hole, situated in the centre of the park in a large grassy plain. Approximately 20km south-east of Nxai Pan, is the beautiful Kudiakam Pan complex. Apart from the abundance of wildlife, Kudiakam Pan is also significant as the site of ‘Baines’ Baobabs’, a clump of seven Baobab trees, known as the ‘seven sisters’ or the ‘sleeping sisters’ commemorated on canvas by painter and explorer Thomas Baines on 22 May 1862.
The western boundary of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park follows The Boteti River During 2009 the Boteti River began flowing again for the first time in since 1989. This has greatly enhanced the tourism potential of the area as it is now possible to explore the riverfront of the National Park by boat providing tourists with breathtaking views of wildlife along the riverbank. The resident hippo populations now have access to fresh water which shall help them thrive. Crocodiles which live in caves near to the artificial waterholes will have a fresh watercourse to patrol which will help them to hunt. Other attractions in the Park include lions, elephants, rhino, and several antelopes.
The Makgadikgadi Pans in Northern Botswana is the largest salt flat complex in the world and is sometimes referred to as the “moonscape” salt pans for its lunar-type appearance. The Makgadikgadi is composed of many pans with sandy desert separating the pans. The largest pans are Sowa to the east and Ntwetwe to the west. During the rainy season these pans fill up with water and become the largest wetland in Botswana attracting the migration of Zebras and wildebeest from the Boteti River. The Pans are also a breeding area for Flamingoes which congregate in the area in the thousands during the wet season.