This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines open now

User menu
Kalahari's Salt Pans
Kalahari's Salt Pans
Kalahari's Salt Pans
Kalahari's Salt Pans
Kalahari's Salt Pans
Kalahari's Salt Pans
Kalahari's Salt Pans

Most of the Kalahari is arid and untouched.

Experience the spectactar Kalahari

...where you might spot some wildlife...

...and enjoy nature at its finest

The Chobe - Kalahari zebra migration

Adventure and freedom in the Kalahari

An ancient culture, the San of the Kalahari

Kalahari's Salt Pans

Kalahari Salt Pans

Emptiness, endless emptiness in every direction as far as the eye can see, the land baked cracked and dry.

Salt on the surface of the pans glints in the harsh rays of the sun. Vegetation is scrubby; grasslands parched. The occasional stand of palm trees appears like a mirage, silhouetted against the sky.

The vestiges of a superlake that once covered the whole of central Botswana, the Makgadikgadi Pans spread out over a massive 10,000km² of the Kalahari. For much of the year, the near-desolate landscape offers an entirely different perspective on this fossil desert. Stone Age tools still lie on the unforgiving surface, meerkats keep watch by day, and brown hyena carry out their nightly patrols. The hard, flat terrain is ripe for exploration, whether on foot, by 4WD, or even on the back of a quadbike.

Rain is rare and unpredictable, but in times of plenty, flamingos flock to the pans early in the year to breed, painting the landscape a rich pink, and both wildebeest and zebra appear in their thousands on the surrounding grasslands to feed on the lush new growth.

To the west, the Boteti River that borders Makgadikgadi Pans National Park was for many years nearly dry, but this is once more a haven for elephant and hippo. As the land nears the river, so the vegetation becomes more dense, leading to a very different world. Shaft-tailed whydah grace the trees with their beautiful long tails; carmine and blue-cheeked bee-eaters add their flashes of colour to myriad flowers and butterflies.

Few visitors make it to this isolated area. Yet from migrant zebra and birds during the rains to the exhilaration of seemingly endless space as the land dries out, the rewards are many – and the photographic opportunities can be exceptional.

Kalahari's Salt Pans

Kalahari's Salt Pans: in detail

Safaris visiting Kalahari Salt Pans

Just ideas, we'll always tailor-make a trip for you


Map

Red Lechwe Safari

9 days • 3 locations • 1 country
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Superb guiding from three fabulous camps full of character in three contrasting areas for a fabulous safari to the Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert.

Visiting Moremi, Okavango Delta and 1 other area

US$10,060 - US$16,820 per person

Read more about the Red Lechwe Safari

Map

African Jacana Safari

7 days • 3 locations • 1 country
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

An adventurous introduction to Botswana blending prolific wildlife, incredible landscapes and varied activities staying at relaxed camps in the Chobe Enclave, a community-owned reserve bordering the Moremi, and Makgadikgadi Pans.

Visiting Kalahari Salt Pans, Moremi and 1 other area

US$6,140 - US$8,110 per person

Read more about the African Jacana Safari

Inspire me

Need inspiration?

Let our trip chooser narrow down the options for you

Inspire me

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings in Kalahari Salt Pans

This is their success for sightings in Kalahari's Salt Pans.
Click on a species for more detail. How we work this out.


Wildebeest

100% success

Meerkat

92% success

Zebra

92% success

Elephant

90% success

Lion

67% success

Cheetah

33% success

Brown Hyena

33% success

Oryx

33% success

Aardvark

17% success

Spotted Hyena

8% success

Leopard

0% success

Wild dog

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Map of Kalahari's Salt Pans

Choices for where to stay in Kalahari's Salt Pans


Most recent reviews of our safaris to Kalahari Salt Pans

Click below to browse all 117 reviews from Kalahari's Salt Pans.
All from our travellers; all are in full & unedited.


97%
117 reviews since August 2007
Excellent
109
Good
8
Average
2
Poor
1
Terrible
0
Mr K-Prof V from Michigan

Arrived 3 Jan 2020, 10 nights

"A Nice Way to Wrap Up Our African Holiday"

"second trip taken with help from Maruska - pleased with advice and organization …" Read Mr K-Prof V’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Good

Wiljo from Norfolk

Arrived 25 Sep 2019, 28 nights

"Zimbabwe/Botswana Sept/Oct 2019"

"Spectacular! Feel hugely privileged to have seen and experienced all that we did …" Read Wiljo’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr Mitchell from Weybridge

Arrived 8 Sep 2019, 11 nights

"My Sep 2019 trip"

"A long awaited trip of a lifetime - and it was amazing. …" Read Mr Mitchell’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mrs & Mr Y from Paris

Arrived 24 Jul 2019, 7 nights

"My Jul 2019 trip"

"Megan is a very pleasant and efficient person to organise a trip. …" Read Mrs & Mr Y’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Dr & Mrs S from Oregon

Arrived 7 Jun 2019, 36 nights

"My Jun 2019 trip"

"Expert Africa and Maruska are to be commended …" Read Dr & Mrs S’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs B from NZ

Arrived 6 Jun 2019, 12 nights

"Botswana travels"

"We had a fabulous trip to Botswana …" Read Mr & Mrs B’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs H from London

Arrived 10 May 2019, 10 nights

"Holiday of a lifetime"

"Enjoyed every minute of it. …" Read Mr & Mrs H ’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Ms K. from DC, USA

Arrived 30 Apr 2019, 9 nights

"I turned 50 in Southern Africa!"

"..something amazing happens and then something else amazing happens.. …" Read Ms K.’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Dr & Mrs N from USA

Arrived 3 Jan 2019, 51 nights

"Trip of a lifetime"

"Trip of a lifetime …" Read Dr & Mrs N’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Dr. W from SaffronW - UK

Arrived 28 Dec 2018, 9 nights

"My Dec 2018 trip"

"Brilliant! A huge thank you..for a fabulous trip, which went so well. …" Read Dr. W’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

See all Kalahari's Salt Pans reviews

When to go to Kalahari's Salt Pans

Our month by month guide: What it's like to visit Kalahari Salt Pans in Botswana


Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Botswana in January

January is at the peak of Botswana’s rainy season. These rains are often in the evening and are short but heavy, with occasional thunderstorms. Temperatures will still be high but cooler than October–December. Animals are generally dispersed, and not easy to spot, with the best game viewing found in the north of Chief’s Island and on the eastern and southern sides of the Okavango Delta. January is also one of the best months to see the zebra and wildebeest migration in the Makgadikgadi salt pans and at Nxai Pan. Migratory birds abound throughout northern Botswana, along with a large number of breeding flamingos in the flooded salt pans. Rates are generally relatively low, making this a good time to visit on a budget.

  • Temperatures are still warm, with occasional thunderstorms
  • The bush feels alive; birdlife is at its most spectacular
  • Big game is dispersed
  • Zebra & wildebeest migration at its height
  • Availability in lodges and camps is often very good

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in January

Botswana in February

The weather in February is very similar to January, with heavy rain most days – often towards evening – and temperatures on the high side, albeit cooling off from the rains and surface water. Across northern Botswana, the landscape feels green and alive; insects and smaller animals are more easily seen, and many birds and animals are raising their young. However, the rains have created pools and waterholes in the bush and thicker vegetation and tall grass makes it trickier to spot larger animals. Further south, the game viewing is beginning to pick up in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Visitor numbers remain low, with attendant rates and availability in camps and lodges.

  • Temperatures still warm with occasional thunderstorms
  • Many animals with young; birdlife at its most spectacular
  • Big game is dispersed
  • Game viewing picking up in the Central Kalahari
  • Visitor numbers are low, so camp availability can be very good

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in February

Botswana in March

March usually sees Botswana’s main rains starting to tail off. Many days will be clear, with a strong sun raising temperatures. On some days clouds will build, and the late-afternoon may see a short thunderstorm. Across the country, the landscape is green and alive. Many birds and animals are finishing raising their young. Much of the migration is now moving north towards the Savute area or Chobe National Park, though thick vegetation still makes it trickier to spot even larger animals. March is one of the best times to be in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, where many of the pans fill up and animals come to drink, closely followed by predators. With few visitors in most areas, rates may still be relatively low.

  • Variable weather: rains tailing off but still hot
  • Occasional small thunderstorms
  • Many animals finish raising their young; birdlife still spectacular
  • The best time to visit the Central Kalahari Game Reserve
  • Few tourists visit during March, so rates often low

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in March

Botswana in April

During April the rains have usually stopped, though there may be still be the odd late downpour. This results in clear skies and a lovely green, lush landscape. Night-time temperatures usually start to drop during April with this being most noticeable in the Central Kalahari and the Makgadikgadi areas. The Central Kalahari is really coming into its own at this point and from April through to May/June the Savute region is a particular favourite of ours, with good predator/prey interaction. In much of northern Botswana, the camps are coming into their “shoulder” season, so rates are on the rise but still relatively low.

  • Evening temperatures cooling with just the odd shower
  • Northern Botswana is green and lush
  • Many animals still with young; good predator/prey interaction
  • Central Kalahari and Savute the best places for wildlife
  • A popular shoulder season time to book. Rates relatively low

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in April

Botswana in May

May is a very popular month to visit Botswana, often the last month of the “shoulder” season before camp rates hit their peak. While there is very little chance of rain, the annual floods from Angola are starting to make their way through the northern part of the Delta, and will eventually reach the majority of the Okavango late June. With cooler temperatures morning and evening, predator activity tends to be higher, although tall grasses can still obstruct game viewing. With cool crisp evenings, and the game viewing really picking up, this is the favourite time to visit for many of our team – and camp bookings throughout Botswana are snapped up quickly.

  • Cool mornings and evenings with little chance of rain
  • Game viewing is beginning to pick up
  • Predator activity increasing, though grasses still quite high
  • Last month of “shoulder” season for most camps
  • Availability goes quickly throughout Botswana

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in May

Botswana in June

June is the real start of the dry season. Temperatures are still cool in the morning and evenings with night-time temperatures sometimes reaching freezing, rising to 25–30 degrees Celsius during the day, with blue skies. Along with this comes a certain clarity to the air, favourable for serious photographers. Surface water and waterholes begin to dry up during this period and many animals begin to congregate around the remaining areas with water. Visibility is improving as the grass is beginning to die back, and game viewing is very good everywhere, with particular improvement in the Kwando–Linyanti areas. Not surprisingly, camp availability is becoming scarce and rates are high.

  • Warm, comfortable days; cold nights, morning & evenings
  • Air clarity favours serious photographers
  • Wildlife is gravitating to waterholes, making game-viewing productive
  • Grasses beginning to die back
  • Most camps are into peak season, with rates correspondingly high

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in June

Botswana in July

Evenings and mornings are still cool in July, and this combined with great game viewing makes it one of the most popular times to visit Botswana. Vegetation is really thinning out now making game easier to spot, with the few remaining waterholes attracting lots of wildlife. The north-eastern side of Chobe National Park, along the Chobe River, is also very rewarding, although this area can become very busy. Game viewing is extremely good in the Khwai areas, too, but again, this is a public area and – unlike in the private concessions of the Delta – vehicle numbers can be high. Camps are now very much into the peak season, and tend to be full.

  • Comfortable days; cold nights, morning & evenings
  • Game viewing very good as vegetation dies back and waterholes dry out
  • Chobe Riverfront and Khwai areas become very busy
  • Private concessions helps to avoid potentially high vehicle numbers
  • Now very much into peak season

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in July

Botswana in August

August is a popular time to visit Botswana, coinciding with the European summer holidays, and camp availability is difficult. Temperatures are generally cool at night, and comfortable during the day, although towards the end of the month they can rise above 35 degrees Celsius (albeit with low humidity). Cloudless skies bring spectacular star-gazing. Wildlife has congregated around the few remaining water sources, and much of the vegetation has now died back, so wildlife viewing tends to be varied and rewarding, particularly in the Okavango Delta. Depending on the rains in Angola this can also be one of the best times to see the delta floods at their peak.

  • Dry, warm days, with mainly cool nights
  • Cloudless skies with spectacular stars at night
  • A fantastic time for wildlife watching, particularly in the Okavango
  • Traditionally one of the best times to see the Delta in full flood
  • Peak season: so high rates and many lodges full

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in August

Botswana in September

September is another favourite month for some of our team members. Daytime temperatures are getting warmer, but nights remain cool. With the drier conditions, most of the greenery has faded from the landscape, and dust or even smoke create hazy conditions that aren’t great for photographers – though this does result in fantastic sunsets. This is another extremely good month for game viewing, with large numbers of elephant and buffalo congregating in the Chobe region and migrant birds begin to return to Botswana. Rates remain high – and availability correspondingly low.

  • Warmer days and cool nights
  • One of the best months for wildlife viewing
  • Large congregations of elephant & buffalo in the Chobe region
  • Hazy conditions less good for photographers, but brilliant sunsets
  • High season rates; many lodges & camps are full

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in September

Botswana in October

October is the one of the hottest months of the year, and usually one of the driest. Towards the end of the month the chances of rain can increase, and along with this can come greater humidity. The air is usually dry and hazy, making photography more challenging, but the lack of water and vegetation result in very good big-game viewing. Water levels are now much lower, so water-based activities such as boating, mokoro trips and fishing cease in many of the camps which are not on major tributaries.

  • Hot temperatures, with the chance of rain towards the end of the month
  • Great big-game viewing
  • Less opportunity for water activities in camps as floods recede
  • Hazy air not great for photographers
  • Final month of the peak season in camps

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in October

Botswana in November

November usually marks the end of the dry season in Botswana, when increasing temperatures drive a rise in humidity, sometimes culminating in the first rains. These are often short but very heavy showers in the late afternoon or during the night, and can be spectacular. The rains lower the temperatures slightly but bring a flush of green back into the dry landscapes. As waterholes in surrounding areas fill, wildlife will gradually begin to disperse as it is not restricted by the availability of water. November is a great time for birdwatching, with the arrival of many migrant birds. The first couple of weeks are very popular with travellers looking for great game viewing at lower rates as Botswana enters the “shoulder” season.

  • Hot in the middle of the day; sometimes humid
  • Heavy showers increasingly likely as the month progresses
  • Wildlife watching still good, but less reliable once it rains
  • Migrant birds start to arrive
  • “Shoulder” season brings mid-range rates in camps

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in November

Botswana in December

The rains in Botswana have now started, bringing some respite to the high temperatures. Game viewing becomes harder as wildlife is more dispersed but great sightings can still be had in the right areas such as Khwai and the Kwara and Mombo concessions. Areas such as the Makgadikgadi Pans change completely with the salt pans becoming covered in a shallow layer of water attracting large numbers of breeding flamingos. Low-season rates at many camps are a draw.

  • Temperatures starting to fall from the highs of October/November
  • Very high chance of rain, usually large heavy storms for short periods
  • Flamingos return to breed at the Makgadikgadi Pans
  • Wildlife more dispersed, so game viewing more challenging
  • Typically low-season rates in the camps

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in December

Botswana fact file

Useful information and advice to help you prepare for a trip including Kalahari's Salt Pans.


Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team

Africa