Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
Maun - Makgadikgadi Pans
This morning there is not much to do. The biggest part of the morning
we use for doing our groceries. Afterwards we break down our tents and
leave for Makgadikgadi Pans. Reason that we are not in too much hurry is
that it is too hot to arrive at the Makgadikgadi Pans before the day draws
to a close. Just when we arrive we have bad luck with the truck.
On the Makgadikgadi Pans you may not put down your tents so we have
to sleep under the stars that are there with millions.
It is difficult to describe the atmosphere that enfolds this vast expanse
of nothingness or to describe the subtle hues at sunset that changes the
landscape into a wonderland of surrealistic beauty. The Makgadikgadi Pans
consist of two main pans, namely Ntwetwe and Sua Pan, both of which are
surrounded by a myriad of smaller pans. One can only visit the pans if
they are completely dry, that normally is from May to September. So we
are in luck.
Elizabeth and Thomas prepare the diner. The spatzler and crepes are
taste very well.
It is a beautiful sunset and afterwards de heaven is indeed full of
stars and you can see the Milky Way (galaxy) very clear. In spite of sleeping
under this magnificent heaven of stars we catch sleep quickly.
Makgadikgadi Pans - Nata
We hardly are awake and we see an enormous spider nearby our sleeping
backs. We feel lucky that we did not see the spider just before we went
to sleep. I know for sure that otherwise we would not sleep for a second.
After we have load the truck and pushed it to get started we leave. Martina
and Ellen are too late to help because they still feel not comfortable
with the spider nearby.
After a long drive we arrive at Nata-lodge. I do not feel very well
(fever and heavy headache). I am glad that there is a possibility to rent
a lodge. Here I spend the rest of the day. The others go at about 16.00
p.m. to a nearby park. Here is one of the smaller Pans. In contrast with
the other this one is not dry. Here it can be full with flamingos. However
this period of the year there is not one flamingo to see. When the group
is back at Nata-lodge I still lay in bed with fever and I am very sweaty.
Haiko comes to have a look. He recommends a regularly check of the temperature.
The thought of malaria crosses our minds. Gladly the temperature goes down
at the end of the evening so I can join the group a view minutes at our
last evening in Botswana.
Nata Lodge - Johannesburg
At 05.15 a.m. Haiko is coming to wake us. We spend the night in the
lodge. The whole tour we did not sleep under a mosquito net. This night
we did and guess, we have dozens of mosquito-bites. Just after breakfast
we leave for our returning back to Johannesburg. After a while a flat tire
surprises us. The chauffeur that is driving us to Johannesburg is panicking,
while Haiko is in his element (there is some work to do). Luckily there
is not too much damage.
At the Botswana/South African border we have to say farewell to Haiko.
Form Ryan we already did say farewell at Nata-lodge. Haiko is getting back
to Victoria Falls. The rest of the way we have to do it with this driver
in witch we have little trust. This last trip is the most dangerous one
from the whole tour. We feel sleepy but we don not dare to take a nape.
After some palpitation of the heart we arrive at 18.00 p.m. (and without
accidents) in Johannesburg. After we unload the truck we take a nice bath
and together with Elizabeth, Martina, Betina and Rainer we go for a diner
in a nearby restaurant.
Johannesburg - Amsterdam
At 05.15 we wake up to make a start with our preparations for our return
journey. This morning before the breakfast we decide the try to fly back
today (the rest of our group is also flying back today). The feeling is
strange of staying behind without the others. Luckily there is enough place
in the plane so tomorrow we are back in Holland. The last hours we have
in Johannesburg we spend in a shopping centre nearby. At 16.15 p.m. we
leave from DRIFTERS-INN to the airport. Here Holger and Thomas are hearing
that their plane will leave the next morning. So now is the time to say
goodbye. Together with Elizabeth and Martina we fly to Amsterdam. After
a good flight the plane is arriving in Amsterdam at 05.25 a.m. and together
we take a last cup of coffee. Saying goodbye is difficult so it is a fast
goodbye. In about three months we see each other again in other circumstances.
We will meet them in Gerlos (Austria) when we have our ski holiday.
Our first experiences with Africa are unforgettable. The need to see
more is crossing our minds. We could not know that one year later we would
do the Johannesburg to Nairobi tour.