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.
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.)