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In the northeastern region of the Kalahari Basin are the Makgadikgadi Pans – a huge expanse of pristine, white landscape bigger than Switzerland. Once a large river-fed lake, the Makgadikgadi Pans now lie saline and empty. The pans are littered with stone tools and artefacts dated from between 2,000 to 500,000 years old.
During the wet season, 35-75,000 zebra and wildebeest migrate into the area with regular sightings of lion, cheetah and other predators who follow in their wake - this is southern Africa's last surviving zebra and wildebeest migration. Hundreds of thousands of flamingo appear from nowhere to feed as long as the water lasts. The area is also a permanent haven for desert species such as the meerkat and the brown hyaena, the third rarest carnivore in the world.
Nxai Pan forms part of the great fossil pan system which includes the vast Makgadikgadi salt pans. These pans were once the bed of a super lake fed by the Okavango, Zambezi and Kwando rivers.