NXAI PAN NA­TIONAL PARK

It is easy to com­bine a visit to Kubu Is­land with a de­tour into Nxai Pan Na­tional Park, home of the fa­mous Baines’ baob­abs.

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How to get there: From Kubu drive north to­wards Gweta or the A3 tar road, from which you ac­cess the en­trance gate to Nxai Pan Na­tional Park. If you’re com­ing from Maun or Nata it’s easy to get to Nxai Pan. What’s so spe­cial about Nxai? The park was pro­claimed in 1970 and in­cludes three ma­jor pans (Ku­di­akam, Nxai and Khama Khama), which used to form part of the an­cient Mak­gadik­gadi lake sys­tem. You’ll see more game here than around Kubu. Re­mem­ber that game fol­lows good graz­ing – Nxai also has a few per­ma­nent wa­ter­holes.

Most peo­ple come to see the well-known Baines’ baob­abs, a prom­i­nent clump of baob­abs named af­ter English ex­plorer Thomas Baines, who vis­ited here in the 1860s and whose paint­ing of the trees was widely pub­lished. What about the road? This is a 4x4 des­ti­na­tion due to the thick sand you’ll have to ne­go­ti­ate. You get a good taste of it im­me­di­ately af­ter en­ter­ing the park. Re­mem­ber to de­crease your tyre pres­sure to make sand driv­ing eas­ier. Dur­ing the rainy sea­son you might en­counter mud. Fuel: There’s no fuel avail­able in the park and nearby Gweta is an un­re­li­able source of fuel. Fill up in Maun or Nata, and top up your jerry cans too. Can I stay over? Yes, there are camp­sites. Nxai South Camp has 10 stands: P200 (R266) per per­son per night. Baines’ Baobab Camp has three stands: P270 (R360) per per­son per night. Kids un­der 16 pay half­price. Fa­cil­i­ties are ba­sic (show­ers and pit toi­lets).

Bring your own drink­ing wa­ter and take all your rub­bish out with you when you leave. Con­tact: 00 267 686 2221;

xo­mae­sites.com Park fees: It costs P120 (R160) per per­son per day, and P60 (R80) per child aged 8 – 17, free for chil­dren un­der 8. Ve­hi­cle: P50 (R67) per day, payable at the en­trance gate. (See page 10 to find out how to book at Botswana’s na­tional parks.)

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