Botswana is perhaps best known for its extensive game parks in the lush Okavango Delta, and for the rich biodiversity of Chobe National Park in the north of the country.
For those seeking a somewhat more challenging photographic adventure, however, the Nxai and Makgadikgadi Pans National Parks offer desolate, big-sky landscapes. Nxai Pan is home to the ancient Baines Baobabs that tower above the surrounding flats. During the dry season, these salt pan environments appear to be little more than vast, dry lake beds where only the hardiest wildlife can be glimpsed. When foreboding storm clouds gather during the wet season, however, the region transforms into a shallow wetland teeming with life: flamingos, elephants, zebra, wildebeest, elusive rhinos, and countless other species congregate here. Following the herds, of course, are great cats such as lions and cheetahs.
Given the region’s harsh conditions and seasonal variations, visiting the salt pan parks of Botswana requires a great deal of planning and patience. However, the haunting landscape and surprising ecological diversity offer countless subjects for the dedicated photo-safari traveler.