Nxai Pan National Park
Nxai Pan offers the expanse of the salt pans, but there are also grassy plains with large tree line forests and a few man made waterholes around the pan. Nxai pan is a hidden gem for Botswana – for the client looking to get away from the crowds it is perfect. The area is a little eden during the rainy season where springbok, Kalahari black mained lion, elephant and giraffe to name a few descend on the park.
Nxai Pan National Park indepth
Nxai Pan National Park Which borders and is the sister park to the Makgadikgadi Pans was also established in 1970. Originally only 1,700km2 this was extended to 2,570km2 in 1992.
This extension included the famed Baines Baobabs and took the boundary adjacent to the Makgadikgadi ensuring a safe/protected route for the zebra and wildebeest migrations.
It is one of the very few places where impala and springbok ranges overlap and the focal point of the park – a pumped water hole – is incredibly rewarding for those visitors who park nearby and watch the goings on. In the winter months this waterhole is literally the only water for hundreds of kilometres and it teems with animals.
Like the Central Kalahari, Nxai pan becomes a Garden of Eden in the summer rains with thousands of young animals and inspired scenery .
Nxai Pan, the name of which is claimed by some to be that of a hooked metal rod used to remove springhares from their holes, and by others to simply mean a pan, is open to visitors throughout the year, although road conditions can become difficult during times of heavy rain.
Within the park there are points of interest worthy of mention. One is the “old trek route”, a trail pioneered in the 1950s and used until 1963, as a short cut through Ngamiland to Kazungula via Pandamatenga, along which cattle were driven before the advent of the modern veterinary control fences.
A number of boreholes, used to provide water for the cattle and men on their long trek, were capped when this trail had to be abandoned, but are said to be still capable of supplying copious water supplies if re-equipped. Another point of interest, which pre-dates that of the trek route, is known as “bushman pits”.
Here, near the edge of a small pan area, small pits were dug by the Bushmen in which they could hide whilst hunting wild animals that came to drink, giving closer range for the use of their bows and arrows. Today there are the remains in the area of an old cattle post, connected with the trek route, but the bushman pits can still be seen.