Nata <br />Botswana, Botswana
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Southern Africa Travel Tip - Makgadikgadi Salt PansWhen you think about salt pans, think of a giant area of land that is full of salt and water. The amount of water depends on the season, in Africa there's generally a dry and wet season. When it's wet it's a kind of lake, when it's dry it's more like a crusty salt desert. The Makgadikgadi salt pans located just outside of Nata are one of the largest salt pans in the world. This is a place where life is harsh, however still plentiful. Because of this it's a very fascinating place to visit.
If you plan on visiting the Makgadikgadi salt pans, it's best if you take a safari. There is a campsite near the entrance, and it's a fine place to stay, however if you plan on exploring deeper into the pans it's best if you have a guide. While the ground seems hard and durable, particularly during the dry season, this isn't always the case. Sometimes the ground may look thick, but it's not, and if you drive on this ground you're like to break through the hard layer and get stuck in the soft wet salty earth below. Getting out of this mess isn't impossible, but may require a tow. Safari guides are very good at reading the ground, and also have the proper vehicles to get through the difficult sections. These drivers also know where it's safe to walk and where it's not.
The animals in the Makgadikgadi salt pans are much more sparse than you might find on other safaris, but maybe more interesting. With the high salt content of the water when it is there, only certain animals can survive, and those that do can sometimes thrive. Most of the animals on the salt planes are birds, most abundant are flamingos. Wherever there's water you'll find these beautiful pink birds, and thousands of them. There are so many that the horizon appears to have a pink glow to it. You'll also find some ostriches, and antelopes in the area, and apparently there are sometimes lions as well.