Makgadikgadi Pan is in the northeastern part of Botswana, surrounded by the Kalahari Desert. The name is actually misleading as it’s not a single pan but many, separated from one another by desert sands. It’s hot, it’s dry, and the ground is covered with a white, salty crust, but when the season rains do come, the landscape is utterly transformed. It’s here that you’ll find Africa’s second largest zebra and wildebeest migration; watch as they and migrant birds feast on the seasonal grasses, contentedly eating their fill until the foliage subsides in the dry season.
Most birds arrive in Makgadikgadi in January or February at the start of the wet season, when pools begin to form. Great white pelican fly in in large numbers, and it is one of only two southern African breeding sites for greater flamingo. Ostrich, Kittlitz’s plover, and chestnut-banded plover make their home here year round.
In the grasslands around the pan, you’ll find monitor lizard, tortoise, snakes, and the endemic Makgadikgadi spiny agama. If reptiles aren’t really your thing, you’re sure to find inquisitive mobs of meerkat dutifully patrolling the area.