Easy camping at the Nxai Pans south camp

After my short stay in Khumaga I moved onto the Nxai Pan National Park for an easy 3 nights camping at the Nxai Pans South camp. The Nxai Pan is situated across the road from Khumaga. It takes a bit of work to get there.

First, you’ll have to overcome the 35km of deep sandy road to the Phuduhudu gate, then 10km of tar road to the Nxai Pan main gate, and finally another 35km of deep sandy road to the South camp.

The alternative is leaving Khumaga via the ferry and village and taking the longer route via tar road. Turn right at the A3 after the village of Motopi. But, this is obviously the less adventurous route.

Booking and Costs

The Xomae group operates the south camp in the Nxai Pan. In Botswana, the government does not operate all campsites. They tender sites out to private operators. This is a unique set-up that I’ve only ever experienced in Botswana. You can book camping directly on the Xomae website (click here).

However, you will pay park fees separately to the Botswana Government department of wildlife and national parks. You can do this at their office in Gaborone or directly at the gate upon arrival.

Botswana park fees
Park fees for the Nxai pan national park

After registering and making your payment at the gate it is a difficult, but possible, 35km drive to South camp. At this point you will have to engage 4×4. The access road to the park consist almost exclusively of heavy thick sand.

The Nxai Pans South camp

The south camp sites are basic, but their location is pretty special. The camp is nestled amongst a patch of lofty shade trees which gives it an oasis like feel amongst the regular dry grassy plains. Add to this the elephant visitors and you have one of the best locations in Botswana.

Camp site #6 at the Nxai Pans South camp

Each site has a place to make a fire, a bin and the ablutions have hot showers. That is about it. There is a small shop at the Xomae office which sells the basics including wood. Wifi is available upon request.

Easy camping at the Nxai Pans South camp

The park only has one permanent waterhole during the winter which makes for spectacular game viewing. Every afternoon large numbers of wildlife make their way to this waterhole to rehydrate and take playful mud baths. I was lucky to see multiple herds of elephant on all of the days I was there.

You must visit the Baines Baobabs in the southern part of the park. The turn off is located about 10km into park from the Nxai Pan main gate. From there it is another 20km to the actual Baobabs. The giant Baobabs are the perfect location to stop for a cup of coffee or a quick bite to eat.

The Nxai Pan

The next stop

After several nights of successful camping it was time to move on. From the Nxai Pan main gate you can go to Nata 160km to the east or Maun 140km to the west. Halfway to Nata you’ll find the small village of Gweta where they have fuel, small shops and the Gweta Lodge. From Gweta it is very easy to cross the Ntwetwe pan and go to Kubu island during the dry season. The road after Gweta towards Nata are badly damaged, with potholes and two sections where the road is completely washed away.

Heading to Maun you’ll reach the town Motopi after about 60km. Turn here for the villages of Khumaga and Rakops. The turn off for entry to the Central Kalahari game reserve is at Rakops.

And that was easy camping at the Nxai Pans South camp!

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