Semi-desert wilderness in the dry heart of Botswana is the setting for remote Kwando Nxai Pan lodge. This fossil salt pan is now a National park adjoining the larger Makgadikgadi Pans National Park and part of the Kalahari, conserving a fascinating variety of desert adapted wildlife and birds. The eco-friendly lodge overlooks one of the two permanent waterholes in the park, attracting elephants, big cats and plains game to drink. While the green season from December to May is the best time to view larger herds of migrating animals, the dryer months are also rewarding in this unique landscape with vast skies.
Nine very spacious thatched suites look out over the waterhole, where guests can see plenty of wildlife action from the comfort of their private verandah. Enormous beds and a comfortable sitting area are decorated in simple natural colours and textures with solar powered electricity for lighting. There are charging facilities in the main lodge. The spacious en-suite bathroom also looks out to the view, with both indoor and outdoor shower with solar heated water, and in this water scarce area the water is then purified and re-used in the waterhole.
Game drives at Nxai Pan explore this unusual landscape, where the experienced guides track predators such as lion, cheetah and wild dogs making each drive an adventure. While game isn’t as abundant as in the Okavango Delta, there are elephant, springbok, wildebeest, bat-eared foxes and more, and guides provide a fascinating insight into the wildlife that survives in such harsh terrain, and into the migrating herds in the green season.
Excursions to the famous Baines Baobabs reveal the stark landscape in all its beauty, then nature walks with Bushman trackers add educational perspective, as does star-gazing in the vast Southern hemisphere desert skies. Within the National Park the game drives stay on the roads to preserve the sensitive eco-system and no night drives are permitted, leaving time for drinks around the fire before dinner and a leisurely communal meal with the guides sharing stories.
An excellent addition to a Botswana safari itinerary, Nxai Pan continues the Kwando tradition of friendly hospitality and excellent guides.