Imagine if you will an area the size of Portugal, largely uninhabited by humans.
Its stark, flat, featureless terrain stretches it would seem to eternity, meeting and fusing with a milky-blue horizon. This is the Makgadikgadi – an area of 12 000 sq km, part of the Kalahari Basin, yet unique to it – one of the largest salt pans in the world.
The Makgadikgadi Pans are a desolate yet awe-inspiring area of nothingness and everything. The harsh environment of the pans changes from wet to dry season, and although only accessible by helicopter during the wet season, the dry season brings the opportunity to explore the pans in their full beauty.
To the north, the pans have a wonderful array of desert life, and their grasslands mark the point where the Kalahari meets their emptiness. Wildlife that can be seen here includes the reclusive brown hyena, the fascinating meerkat and the occasional cheetah.
The Makgadikgadi Pans can be explored by vehicle, on foot, or by quad bike, the latter being one of the best ways to investigate.
Groups go out and stay on one track, to avoid damaging the sensitive, crusty salt layer. There is the opportunity to sleep out in the pans, where one can see one of the only places on earth where the stars meet the horizon. This area is best explored between June and October.