The Nxai Pan National Park is situated on the northern fringes of the ancient Makgadikgadi Lake basin. The park covers a vast area, comprising Nxai Pan itself, Kgama-Kgama Pan to the northeast, and the Kudiakam Pan to the south.
The pans themselves are ancient salt lakes, ringed to the south and west with thick fossil dunes of wind-blown Kalahari sand. The park itself is very flat, huge open grasslands with the famous Baines Baobabs being the most striking landmarks.
Wildlife of Nxai Pan National Park
After good rains in the area, Nxai Pan is covered in lush green grass. This attracts huge concentrations of Burchell's zebra, blue wildebeest and springbok, while healthy numbers of other grazers include gemsbok, eland and red hartebeest. Large giraffe herds move across the pans between the acacia islands, which they prune into characteristic hourglass shapes.
The mopane woodland shelters browsers such as impala and kudu, which often venture out onto the pans for the permanent waterholes and rich mineral salts.
In summer, small herds of breeding elephant can sometimes be seen as well as the occasional tsessebe. In winter the great herds disperse from the pans, leaving few grazers except the hardy springbok, and a few timid steenbok that find shelter in the thickets.
Predators are well represented with lion, cheetah, hyena and wild dogs at sporadic intervals. A particular delight are all the smaller animals such as honey badgers, bat-eared foxes, African wildcats, banded mongoose, spring hare and porcupines.
Suggested itinerary featuring Nxai Pan National Park
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Nxai Pan National Park, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Nxai Pan National Park
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Nxai Pan National Park
- Makgadikgadi Pans, Kalahari 43 miles away
- Chitabe Concession 84 miles away
- Chobe National Park 89 miles away
- Maun 93 miles away
- Stanley's Concession 93 miles away
- Khwai Concession 94 miles away
- Kwara Concession 99 miles away
- Gunn's Concession 107 miles away
- Shinde Concession 107 miles away
- Xudum Concession 114 miles away
- Savuti Area 114 miles away
- Linyanti Concession 116 miles away
- Nxabega Concession 117 miles away
- Moremi Wildlife Reserve 122 miles away
- Chief's Island 123 miles away
- Linyanti Wetlands 123 miles away
- Xigera Concession 126 miles away
- Selinda Concession 129 miles away
- Vumbura Concession 130 miles away
- Abu Concession 133 miles away
- Jao Concession 138 miles away
- Kwando Concession 140 miles away
- The Okavango Delta 147 miles away
- Duba Concession 165 miles away
- Central Kalahari 175 miles away
- The Panhandle 202 miles away
- Ghanzi 243 miles away
Photos of Nxai Pan National Park
Accommodation choices for Nxai Pan National Park
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Nxai Pan National Park. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Nxai Pan National Park