• Bushtracks

Makgadikgadi Flamingo Season and Zebra Migration


November to February is a time where the salt pans of Botswana transform into verdant seas, thanks to the December to January rainy season, just in time for the Makgadikgadi Zebra Migration. It is a heavily underrated migration. The predominantly plains zebras are in search of greener pastures, creating an epic experience on safari. Just like the Great Migration, not all are successful in completing the quest for better grazing.


The zebras are not the only ones on a migratory quest. The flamingos also fill these infamous salt pans. An impressive 70,000 flamingos gather in search of shrimp larvae that lay beneath the salt pans. What used to be a temporary desert of sorts, is now a lake.

Back to the zebras, this migration was undiscovered by scientists for a long time. The zebras actually cover a longer distance between the point of origin, the Okavango, and the destination, Makgadikgadi, since they walk directly to Makgadikgadi. The phenomenon is that there are closer idealistic grazing locations during the wet season, and it is still unknown why they chose Makgadikgadi. They will travel approximately 160 miles one way.

Like the Great Migration, the movement of large quantities of plains game attracts predators. The young zebras become vulnerable. Unlike the Great Migration, zebras tend to travel in much smaller groups. It is a treat when a large number gathers in the same location. The zebras have migratory partners following in the sky. Flamingos are not the only migratory partners. Additional species that migrate with them include ducks, geese, and pelicans.