When most people think about traveling to Africa, their minds immediately jump to safari trips where they can see giraffes and lions in their natural habitat – and while we certainly don’t want to throw any shade at a fun safari trip (giraffes and lions, after all!), there is so much more to Africa than what can be seen from a Jeep. For example, the salt pans of Botswana!
The salt pans of Botswana, more officially known as the Makgadikgadi Pan, is located at the center of the savanna and is all that remains of what once was the Makgadikgadi lake, which at its biggest, was so enormous it could have covered all of Switzerland – that’s more than 10,000 square miles.
You might be wondering what’s so interesting about 10,000 square miles of dried up lake, and we get that, but hear us out. While Botswana’s salt pans might not have neon-lit nightclubs or amazing restaurants, it still has a lot to offer.
The curvature of the Earth
Yes. Makgadikgadi is so vast and so flat when you look out at the horizon, you can see the curve of our planet.
Although this area is a salty desert, grasslands surround it and the summer rains tend to briefly flood the salt pans with water, which attracts a vast array of wildlife and plant life. In fact, Makgadikgadi is home to one of two breeding grounds for flamingoes, so if you’re lucky and you time your trip right, you might find yourself observing more than just the land!
There may not be museums here, but this area is rich with history. If you choose to take a guided tour, ask about the impact this salt pan had on missionaries, or how early homo sapiens resided in this inhospitable region, as archeologists have found evidence to support this theory.
Traveling to the salt pans of Botswana is certainly not for the faint of heart, but if you’re looking to experience nature in a unique way and you’re up for an adventure, it’s certainly worth the trip. Guided tours are available or you can rent a 4×4 and explore the salt pans on your own. Either way, we at Must Do Travels know you’ll have a great time!