Kudiakam Pan National Park consisting of Nxai Pan, which is one of the Makgadikgadi Pan salt flats. Kudiakam Pan adjoins Makgadikgadi Pans National Park on its northern border. This national park is home to elephant, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, lion, leopard, cheetah, kudu, springbok, impala and ostrich. Cape wild dog, jackal, hyena, bat-eared fox, aardwolf, and honey badger can also be found here. Kudiakam Pan has been formed by a process that may have begun more than five million years ago. At that time, the Okavango River, the Chobe and the upper Zambezi River flowed along somewhat different courses to those of today.
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park comprises nutritious grasslands, attracting thousands of animals. It is, however, an area of low rainfall and the Boteti River rarely flows to capacity – but often has everlasting pools that attracts waterbuck, bushbuck and hippos. Journeying into this magical land and across the desolate pans, you will somehow feel its ancient glamour.
The best time to visit the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, depends on the kind of experience you’re looking for. The pans itself is only accessible during the dry season – from March to October. When the glaring white surface spreads so far that you can see the curvature of the earth. This season includes peak winter days with sunny and warm daylight hours, but the nights are extremely cold. However, from August to November – windy weather sets in, with October being the hottest month – the wildebeest and herd of zebra migrates slowly towards the Boteti River in anticipation of the rains.
The main objective in visiting the Makgadikgadi National Park is not to view games only, but to experience true remoteness and absolute isolation. However, the best way to view the pans during this season is to fly over the pans. You will then also see the spectacular flamingo flocks.
Meanwhile, the wet summer season of November to March. Roads become impossible – but the Pans usually retain water into April or May. Which is great for birding and game watching.
The sheets of water that cover the northeastern section of the Makgadikgadi during the first few months of wetter years attract a phenomenal marvel of water birds. The arrival of this water stimulates the birth of millions of tiny shrimps and other crustaceans otherwise lying dormant below the white salt crust. Greater and Lesser flamingos arrive, even journeying from as far off as the Great Rift Valley in East Africa to partake in one of Africa’s largest avian feasts. From a helicopter, the flamingos appear as enormous pink clouds in a shimmering silver sky. Helicopter flights over the flamingos are run by Helicopter Horizons and can be organized through San Camp, Jacks Camp and other accommodation options in the area.
Kudiakam Pan lies just north of the Maun-Nata main road and close to Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. The pan itself is a fossil lakebed about 40 square kilometres m in size. Kudiakam Pan is situated within the Nxai Pan National Park and is one of the pans that forms the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana. The main attraction is a cluster of baobab trees, situated on the eastern edge of Kudiakam Pan. In 1862 the painter Thomas Baines painted the trees while travelling with the explorer, James Chapman. The baobab is a slow-growing tree, and there is little difference to be seen in the size of the trees between Baine’s painting and modern day photographs. Kudiakam Pan in Botswana is an extensive grass plain, part of the old fossil lakebed.
The National Park is also home to the cluster of millennia-old baobab trees, which owe their name to Thomas Baines, the man known to have discovered them. Baines’ Baobabs, as they are known today, are a sight sought by many travellers venturing into this untamed terrain of Botswana.
Nxai Pan National Park is a national park in north-eastern Botswana, while Kudiakam Pan National Park was originally state land. This area of 1676 square kilometres was declared a game reserve in 1970 and then in 1992 the boundaries were extended to include Baines Baobabs to give the total area of 2578 square kilometres and National Park status was granted. Activities include Game Viewing, Game Drives, Night Drives, 4WD Trails, Guided Walks, Bird Watching. Game to view includes giraffe, lion, leopard, wild dog, cheetah, springbok, gemsbok, and large herds of wildebeest and zebra.