A vast, shimmering salt flat in northeastern Botswana, the Makgadikgadi Pans are all that remains of what was once an enormous prehistoric lake. It forms part of the Kalahari Basin and with an area of 12,000 sq kms, is one of the largest salt pans on Earth. It is a desolate and arid wasteland for much of the year, too salty to support much vegetation or wildlife, apart from a fringe of sparse grassland and the towering silhouette of baobab trees. Come the wet season however, the desert becomes a powder blue lake as the falling rains are supplemented with water from seasonal river flows and grassy plains grow lush and verdant.

The water and fresh grazing attracts huge herds of zebra and wildebeest on their westward migration to the Boteti region, as well as tens of thousands of flamingos. Other wildlife include gemsbok, eland and red hartebeest, as well as kudu, bushbuck, duiker, giraffe, springbok, steenbok, and even elephant, with all the accompanying predators, including the rare brown hyena.


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