Nxai Pans National Park covers an area of 2,100 square kilometres and contains many pans, with the main Nxai Pans measuring approximately 40 square kilometres. The epitome of the ‘size isn’t everything’ expression, Nxai Pans is a little-known jewel of a national park. Part of the Magkadigkadi, this flat, grass covered ancient seabed hosts unique vegetation and attracts animals year round. In the dry season (June to September), its single waterhole forms the stage for some dramatic lion and springbok interactions. It is now also one of the best locations in Botswana to spot the most charismatic and rarely seen of the big cats, the cheetah. During the summer rains large herds of zebra and wildebeest are also present. It is also one of the few places where impala and springbok occur together.
Baines Baobabs, named after the explorer, artist, naturalist and cartographer Thomas Baines, who painted these very trees in 1862 calling them “The Sleeping Five” are located within the national park. Now with seven magestic baobabs stand on this island surrounded by the white and crusty Kudiakam Pan.
During the rainy seasons the pans are often full, attracting large numbers of game to the sweet grass that grows in between these salt pans. Nxai Pans is known for its large numbers of springbok, giraffe, vast open pans and clusters of umbrella trees. Other animals that you might see are elephants, buffalo, blue wildebeest, gemsbok, eland, greater kudu, red hartebeest, hyena, cheetah, lion and leopard. The elusive brown hyena are also seen in Nxai Pans, although this is a rare treat indeed.
At night you can often hear the sing of the jackals, a very charismatic animal that can keep you entertained for hours with its peculiar gait and spunk as it takes on animals always much larger than itself.
Crisp morning greet your stay in Nxai Pans, with the melodious song of the larks that are known to inhabit this area. Martial Eagels and other raptors are also prominent in this area making for good viewing due to the openess. During the dry season dusty grey elephants are transformed into brilliant white mirages that float along the pans in the shimmering heat, due to the shite salt sand that they cover themselve in.