Best Time to Visit Makgadikgadi Pans

Game viewing by horse-back bike from Camp Kalahari. Central KalahariGame viewing by horse-back from Camp Kalahari
No where in Africa does the climate have such a profound effect on the movements of wildlife than in the Makgadikgadi, another place in Botswana where the forces of nature seemed to have rewritten the rules. As in much of southern Africa there is a wet season and a dry season in the Makgadikgadi but it is in the physical attributes of each season where the attractions of this fascinating region lie.

A time between the seasons

This time is from late September through to early November, peaking through October.
Although the climatic seasons of Makgadikgadi can be broken up into the wet season and the dry season there is a time that needs special attention. This is the time between the two seasons, a time when the sky is washed in dust and mirages dance on the horizons.

This is the hottest time in the Makgadikadi, where temperatures can rise to 45 degrees during the day, but despite this it is a time of expectation and excitement for each day that passes is a day closer to the coming of the rains.

Rainy Season

The rains usually begin in November and end in about March, with the pans retaining water until April or May. The area becomes transformed as grasses sprout and the salt pans fill with algae soup. The largest breeding flock of Flamingos in Africa congregate here and great herds of Zebra and Wildebeest move into the area.

Unfortunately, even 4x4 vehicles get bogged down in the instant mud at this time of year and most lodges are closed. Therefore, a fly-in safari is the best way to see the amazing influx of birds. Summer rainy season temperatures reach 40C (104F) in the day, while nights are mild and warm.

Dry season

According to the lodges of Makgadikgadi, the best time to visit the area is during the dry season from March to September. These months include the winter period where days are lovely and warm, but nights become shiveringly cold.

From April to November great numbers of Antelopes, Wildebeest and Zebra move from the south-east pans towards the Boteti River in the west, where rain is expected to fall in November. From August to November the wind starts picking up and huge whirlwinds build in intensity as they skid across the flat pans.

A place for all climates

Although the climate plays a huge role in the experience of each season of the Makgadikgadi it can truthfully be said that it is a place for all seasons, providing an unforgettable experience throughout the year.

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