MAKGADIKGADI NATIONAL PARK Lodge
The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park stretches away from the banks of the Boteti River, through its interior of scrubland and grasslands. The western boundary provides for mineral rich grass lands and the Boteti River which supplies the much needed sustenance for the herds which inhabit the park.
The Lodge is situated on the western bank of the Boteti River, north west of Khumaga village, about 90 miles south east of Maun. The river's eastern bank forms the boundary of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.The lodge cliffs over 30 feet high above this changing riverbed environment.
The Boteti river is the main outflow of the Okavango Delta, collecting the water that flows past Maun, and stretches about 250 km southeast finally ending at Lake Xau on the extreme south western edge of the great Makgadikgadi salt pans. There was permanent water in the river since long before Livingstone first explored the area in the late 1840s and brought the existence of Lake Ngami to the attention of the outside world. The river provided water for the great herds of wildlife that seasonally utilized the short grass plains on the north-west side of the Makgadikgadi, and latterly provided water for the Setswana cattle herders who moved onto the western bank. The river was thus a natural barrier between the wildlife and the cattle – and was a natural boundary for the National park.
The Kakgadikgadi pans are the remains of a great lake that once occupied a significant portion of Northern Botswana, covering approximately 14,826,323 sq acres. After dramatic climate change caused the drying up of this once majestic lake, there was a considerable amount of salt residue left behind. After the start of the rainy season the desert area teems with wildlife as herds of zebra and wildebeest graze on the wide open green grassland plains. During the wet season there is an influx of migratory bird species, while resident desert species welcome their visitors by showing off their breeding plumage.
At the onset of the dry season as the pans dry out again, there is a mini migration as all the animals start looking for water again. This migration moves up along the Boteti River, searching for water holes providing the only water for thousands of square kilometers. The migration can bring up to 30 000 zebra and wildebeest into the area and with it an increase in levels of predator activity. One may even experience the exhilaration of being caught in a stampede zone as predators hunt around the lodge.
The lodge offers 12 luxury thatched and glass fronted suites with en-suite bathrooms, each one a raised wooden platform.The main reception and lounge area is located on top of these cliffs; this raised vantage point ensures unsurpassed views of the river and the Makgadikgadi to the east. The main lounge area with its inviting wooden and thatch finishes, offers guests the opportunity to sit back and relax at the bar while listening to the wide variety of night sounds so characteristic of the African bush. Alternatively you can lounge around the pool or enjoy the river view vistas from the game viewing hide built into the bank of the river.
The lodge offers both scheduled guided day and night game drives. Depending on water levels of the Boteti River, boat activities are also on offer. Optional cultural excursions can also be arranged to visit Khumaga Village. Guided nature walks in the area surrounding the lodge can also be arranged.
The zebra and wildebeest herds continued to use the rich grass plains and migrating to the river at the end of winter to access the water in the seeps. The Makgadikgadi National Park is a harsh dry environment, suited to Gemsbok and Kudu, but the river provided a life-giving source of water for the zebra and wildebeest utilizing the eastern grass plains.