The Nxai Pan National Park is part of the Makgadikgadi region, lying north of the salt pans and covering an area of 2,600 km2. Although the Nxai Pan National Park comprises several larger pans which were once ancient salt lakes, it is not part of the region people generally refer to when talking about the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. This area consists of Nxai Pan, Kgama-Kgama Pan and Kudiakam Pan which are now covered in grass and islands scattered about with acacia trees. The smaller surrounding pans fill with water during the rainy season, providing a rich resource for wildlife. There is only one lodge in the Nxai Pan National Park, Nxai Pan Camp; otherwise the area is accessible only by mobile safari or self-drive.
The highlights of the park are its waterholes, which provide some of the most dramatic predator-prey interactions in Africa during dry season. Thirsty animals have to come down to drink with the lions in full sight and the air is often sprayed with the dust of an attempted kill during the day. These interactions are so dramatic that the legendary IMAX-movie “Roar: Lions of the Kalahari” was filmed at the main waterhole of the park.
Approximately 20 km south-east of Nxai Pan is the beautiful Kudiakam Pan complex. Apart from its abundance of wildlife, Kudiakam Pan is famous for Baines’ Baobabs, a clump of seven huge, gnarled baobab trees also known as the Seven Sisters or the Sleeping Sisters, immortalised on canvas by painter and explorer Thomas Baines in May 1862. Baines and fellow explorer James Chapman travelled through this area during their two-year journey from Namibia to Victoria Falls.