"Luxury safari vacations custom designed by Opulent Africa so that your safari holiday in Africa is unique to you."
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Lunar landscapes ...perfect for a safari!
Botswana Safaris in the Makgadikgadi Pans
For a completely original Botswana safari experience the Makgadikgadi Pans will not disappoint. In ancient times the pans were a huge lake located in the middle of landlocked Botswana. The lake was more than 30 metres in depth and covered an area over 80,000² km which became a casualty of the geological plate shift millions of years ago that diverted the same flood waters that now create the well known Okavango Delta. The area has become an immense dust bowl more reminiscent of a lunar rather than African landscape.
Over time the diversion and cessation of the annual flood waters from the Angolan highlands created The Makgadikgadi Pans, which are known as some of the largest pans in the world. The immense open and seemingly desolate land, deprived of human habitation is like none other. The stretching pans shimmers white, with whirling dust clouds and glinting salt deposits that appear, to the naked eye, like an endless crystallised horizon. Only the hardiest of vegetation exists here with coarse grasses battered by the winds struggling for survival at the perimeter of the pans; ancient baobab trees spreading their dry gnarled limbs high into the sky welcoming the iconic vision of hooked vultures to settle on them before taking flight to soar in the thermals.
This isolated area is also a magnet for geologists with its primitive beaches, Stone Age ruins with its intriguing fossilised remains and salty wind devils that alternatively bury and uncover the treasures.
Whilst in complete contrast to the lush game areas of the Okavango Delta and Linyanti the Makgadikgadi Pans also have the ability to take on a complete new guise, as with plenty of precipitation, the floods descend on the area for a short spell between January and March. Nature is very adept in taking immediate action to capitalise on this hydrating bounty with a frenetic burst of activity and growth with grasses bursting into life and wildlife appearing to take advantage of the water.
Secretary birds, ostrich and korhaans appear in the plump reed grasses and bateleurs take to the skies to soar elegantly overhead. When the rains are well established the pans re-emerge as the lush lake they once were enjoyed by wildlife appearing in numbers once again. Thousands of Flamingos arrive in a vivid pink tide to nest - a totally amazing sight – together with migrations of zebra and wildebeest eager to join the party.
In the Makgadikgadi Pans there are two luxury safari camps - San Camp and Jacks Camp which operate in both dry and rainy seasons, taking advantage of the jewels each season can offer. A stay here in this hauntingly remote and peaceful location will deliver a completely unique safari experience and combines well with a stay in the Linyanti or Okavango Delta.
From the camps you can enjoy night game drives to seek out Brown Hyena, Aardvark and Aardwolf and guided safari walks encountering inhabitants of the desert such as Gemsbok, Meerkat and Springbok. It may even be that you encounter the indigenous San tribes who forge an existence in this dry and seemingly uninhabitable land.
The mode of transport can vary according to the season as during the wet - November through to March – game drives are undertaken in sturdy 4x4 jeeps which are ideally suited to the rough terrain. During this season you will encounter huge herds of zebra and wildebeest as they migrate along their historical routes, as well as Wattled Crane, ducks and of course the flamingos, congregating at feeding and breeding grounds.
During the dry months, dependent on availability of equipment and levels of rainfall, you may even get an opportunity to venture out across the pans by quad bike which will add an extra dimension of excitement as will a fly camp option where you spend the night under the Botswana night sky.