​User Reviews – Nxai Pan NP

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Anouk de Sloovere   –  
Belgium BE
Visited: January 2023 Reviewed: Jan 23, 2023

Email Anouk de Sloovere  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

The review below is the personal opinion of Anouk de Sloovere and not that of SafariBookings.
Overall rating

Lodge was not so spectacular.
Drivers can not go of road so you don't get to see much wildlife (we didn't)

Eunice Horne   –  
Australia AU
Visited: April 2019 Reviewed: May 16, 2019

Email Eunice Horne  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

Overall rating

Contrast and extraordinary landscape amazing! amazing birds

Michael Nissen   –  
United States US
Visited: November 2017 Reviewed: Jan 11, 2019

Email Michael Nissen  |  65+ years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Overall rating

Amazing up close encounters with elephants.

Remsberg.com   –  
United States US
Visited: January 2018 Reviewed: Dec 6, 2018

Email Remsberg.com  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

Overall rating

timing matters

Ian   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: February 2017 Reviewed: Apr 4, 2017

Email Ian  |  65+ years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

The review below is the personal opinion of Ian and not that of SafariBookings.
Overall rating

Arriving at the Nxai Pan gate, we were greeted by another track masquerading as a river and informed that we could only be admitted at our own risk. This was a no-brainer as our camp was already set up in there and there was no alternative. As it was getting fairly late, we did a short game drive and repaired to camp for dinner and bed.

Next morning all was well and we set off to see what Nxai Pan had to offer. It was to turn out to be a day mainly consisting of bird sightings, apart from hundreds of Zebras, which was the reason we were there anyway. They were even more plentiful than the Oryx had been in Central Kalahari and our guide estimated we saw between three and five thousand in Nxai Pan. However, the vast amount of rain and the affect it had on the vegetation meant the Zebras didn’t need to migrate so far as in most years. Had it been a normal year he estimated we would have seen three to four times that number.

My first impression of Nxai Pan was how big and open the area is, although only a fraction of the area covered by Central Kalahari. It is classic Cheetah territory and that was what I was hoping to see. I didn’t have to wait long on our second day and we found a female with two young cubs, probably about nine months old. We spent best part of an hour with them as they slowly moved around their range and the cubs played happily with each other, before they moved into cover and we left them.

Next up was another herd (dazzle) of Zebras, and another brief Cheetah sighting, but much of the day was spent looking for Lions. After lunch, we were successful, even witnessing a (distant) mating session. There was a torrential thunderstorm later on in the afternoon, but once this moved through we had another Cheetah sighting, which turned out to be the brother of the female we had seen in the morning.

That brought us to the end of our two full days in Nxai Pan and just left us with a game drive to the gate next morning. We had been trying, unsuccessfully, to photograph a European Bee-eater since we arrived, but every time our guide killed the engine, the bird would fly. Finally we were successful as we found one in an Acacia bush and it didn’t move. Also added a Bradfield’s Hornbill to our list as it posed beautifully beside the track.

My overall impression of Nxai Pan is somewhat mixed. Certainly we saw exactly what we went there for, so we have no complaints on that score. But there are vast areas of the reserve that are inaccessible due to the no off-roading policy. I understand the reasons for this policy and agree with it, but it only works if there are adequate roads to use and that is where Nxai Pan suffers.

Mary   –  
United States US
Visited: June 2016 Reviewed: Aug 22, 2016

Email Mary

Our safari (our first!) was more than we expected it be. Once in a lifetime adventure!
Overall rating

Nxai Pan was our first stop on our two week mobile tent safari. Took the better part of a day to drive from Maun with our first stop being Thomas Baines Baobas. Wow! Breathtaking. When we were told the legend that the trees were thrown to Earth below, we could understand why! Since we were there in winter, the leaves were gone and the branches look like the roots. We stayed 2 nights in Nxai Pan and we were treated to our very first view of 2 magnificent male lions lounging in the sun. Still my very favorite memory of the trip. Of course, other wildlife is abundant and hundreds of bird species. Our weather was perfect; cold in the mornings but beautiful and comfortably warm by 10am. Our guide was Alwyn Myburgh of Yambo Safaris. Very knowledgable guide & tracker. His crew was outstanding! The food was out of this world.......better than anything I could ever cook at home and they were cooking on a open fire. Seriously.....fresh bread daily and chocolate mousse? Alwyn had arranged for everything we would ever need during our two weeks in Botswana. I would love to go back and take the family some day. What a special trip!

Ross   –  
United States US
Visited: July 2015 Reviewed: Dec 7, 2015

Email Ross  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Nxai Pan National Park Is Well Off the Beaten Path...Which Is Why You Want to Go There
Overall rating

There are two great reasons to visit Botswana’s Nxai Pan National Park east of the city of Maun.

First of all, you’ll see wildlife here on this baobab-dotted salt pan that you may not see elsewhere in Botswana. First on my list is the Oryx or Gemsbok. These shy, stocky antelope, incredibly well adapted to life with limited water, roam this sandy wilderness where their long, sharp horns and striking black-and-white faces signal their presence in the tall grass. Two other “boks” of note are the small and light-footed springbok, with facial markings reminiscent of kabuki dancers, that graze the dry pan in significant numbers, and the even smaller Steenbok, a Bambi-like creature with markedly oversized ears that lives a more solitary life. I also saw hartebeest here, as well as bat-eared fox, honey badger and brown hyena – these in addition to the more familiar attractions: giraffe, elephant, kudu, lion, cheetah, wildebeest, zebra, jackal, et al. And for those more keyed into the feathered set, you’ll be wearing out your binoculars for sure. You won’t need them to see the many ostriches, but you will want a closer look at all the eagles (including brown snake, booted, tawny, martial and bateleur) and the pale chanting goshawk, lanner falcon and Dickinson’s kestrel. I can drop plenty more names – kori bustard, red-billed quelea, ant-eating chat, northern black korhaan, double-banded courser, swallow-tailed bee eater, African hoopoe – but need I go on? And one side note – park management keeps the Nxai Pan waterhole supplied with water all year round, so you can always find wildlife there taking advantage of this government handout.

And second of all, though in the high season (Botswana’s winter) you may not see as many animals here as in a park like Chobe, for instance, there is one species you’ll be happy to see less of, and that’s people. In Nxai Pan, you’ll often feel like you’re the only one who thought of taking a safari in Africa. Part of the reason for this is Nxai Pan’s relative inaccessibility – once you drive through the gate, expect at least a two-hour drive along a treacherously sandy “road” to get to the campgrounds (I say at least two hours since you may spend a third hour or so helping some unfortunate fellow visitor get their mired vehicle moving again). But don’t let this scare you off – after all, this is why you came to Africa instead of some safari park in Florida.

All told, if you’re in northern Botswana and feel like getting off the well-beaten path to Chobe and the Okavango, visit Nxai Pan – it’s well worth it.

Horst M. Vogel   –  
Saint Lucia LC
Visited: April 2000 Reviewed: Dec 6, 2015

Email Horst M. Vogel  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

Overall rating

Gosh, we enjoyed this park too with elephants at the campsite and a leopard sitting on top of a termite mound. It's remote and that's what makes it very beautiful indeed ... provided you love solitude. Nxai Pan was also once our springboard for an adventureous trip along the historic cattle trail all the way up north to Pandamatenga. Afterwards, our radiator needed a thorough cleaning from seeds though.

Beverly Houwing   –  
United States US
Visited: May 2014 Reviewed: May 11, 2015

50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

Overall rating

Day trip to Baine's Baobabs was great - wonderful scenery on route and lots of wildlife.

bobbybradley   –  
United States US
Visited: November 2014 Reviewed: May 3, 2015

20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

Overall rating

We went in November and the wildlife was mostly gone from the park. The scenic beauty and solitude of the park are unmatched though.

Average User Rating

  • 4.4/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Rating Breakdown

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  • 4 star 8
  • 3 star 3
  • 2 star 0
  • 1 star 0
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