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Botswana :: Makgadikgadi
Category: Places :: Travel Region
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This region is famous for its salt pans - some of the largest on the planet. Collectively, they’re known as the Makgadikgadi Pans and are the remnants of one of Africa’s largest lakes, Lake Makgadikgadi, whose shoreline ridges are still apparent in the southwest of the basin. While some of the pans fall within the Nxai- and Makgadikgadi Pans National Parks, the largest parts fall outside the parks.
You will not be the first visitors to these pans - there’s much archaeological evidence that mankind has been drawn here since the stone age; continuing to the present day with the permanent residents who live in villages on the pans’ fringes.
The contrast between the dry and the wet seasons is dramatic. In the dry months game is scarce but when the rains come, the two largest pans food, bringing massive herds of animals - zebra and wildebeest particularly - to the surrounding green, grassy plains. Flamingos also visit in their hundreds of thousands so the overall scene can be quite spectacular. It should be noted that during this time, the roads can become very challenging and some areas are almost impossible to visit.
Sua or Sowa Pan is probably the most famous pan here and both Lekhubu (also known as Kubu) and Kukonje Island are situated within its huge embrace. These rock islands are home to numerous baobab trees and are a surreal sight in the vast expanse of nothingness; so much so that Lekhubu Island has become an attraction in its own right. At sunrise and sunset the islands have an undeniable spiritual quality; local people often visit to honour their ancestors at a shrine. No matter what you make of it, you’re bound to be moved by this place. Can you capture the specialness of this place
with a photograph or video recording? Well, you might as well try!
Nearby Nata Bird Sanctuary at the mouth of the Nata river offers a refuge to the wildlife, pelicans, flamingos and other water birds of Sua Pan. This is a community project which offers camping facilities.
The Orapa Game Park near Letlhakane was developed in 1985 from a badly degraded cattle-grazing and recreational area surrounding the mine. Today the park includes wildlife like springbok, blue wildebeest, eland, zebra, waterbuck and giraffe. Sadly, entrance is restricted to mine employees and their guests.
The Boteti River lies on the western side of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. There are a few places down the western side of the river that are quite popular among overlanders.
ANCIENT PEBBLE BEACHES
As you drive towards the pans on certain tracks, you’ll come across the occasional stony section where the track dips downwards. If you look carefully at the rocks here, you’ll find they’re rounded, like pebbles on a beach. And that’s exactly what they once were. As you near the pan, you’ll come across a number of these ancient shorelines which mark the great lake’s gradual retraction.
At Lekhubu Island itself, you’ll find smoothed rocks on one side and small, rounded pebbles on the other.
Chapman’s Baobab, one of the three largest trees in Africa and a national monument of Botswana, fell to the ground on 7 January 2016. It was named after John Chapman, one of the first explorers to camp here - he was accompanied by Thomas Baines who painted Baines Baobabs.The tree was thought to be over 1 000 years old. The tree measured 25 metres in circumference with six main trunks, but thanks to its new seventh trunk it is sometimes known locally as the ‘Seven Sisters’
The tree was said to be the campsite of early European explorers like Livingstone and Selous when they first travelled the area. It was visited by many a tourist and was originally even used as a landmark for travellers.
|Address :||Makgadikgadi, Botswana|
|Main Cellular Network :||Mascom. Orange.|
|Police Station :||Yes||Police Telephone :||+267 621 2204|
|Hospital :||Yes||Hospital Telephone :||+267 621 2333|
|Petrol :||Yes||Petrol Price Index :||BWP6.05 per litre (Jul-16)|
|Diesel :||Yes||Diesel Price Index :||BWP6.30 per litre (Jul-16)|
|Facilities :||Shops, General Dealer, Tour Services, Lodging, Camping, Butchery, Liquor, Restaurant, Pharmacy, Airstrip, Airfield|
|Game Viewing, Game Drives, Night Drives, Quad Bikes, 4WD Trails, Tours and Excursions, Picnics, Guided Walks, Horse Trails, Donkey Cart Drives, Golf, Fishing, Swimming, Bird Watching, Scenic Flights, Stargazing|
Police contact added is for Gweta Police station. (Jul-16).
Hospital contact added is for Gweta Hospital. (Jul-16).
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