As we descend into the air strip for San Camp the unending beige of the Kalahari grassland suddenly changes to a white and grey expanse that seems to stretch flat and unendingly to the horizon. These are the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans that cover a big part of central Botswana.
During the bushmens’s walk we get to know the happy indigenous people that still uphold the knowledge, traditions and skills of survival in this very harsh and adverse climate. They catch beetles that make a good meal, unearth edible roots, show how they make fire with two wooden sticks, present a scorpion one of them has dug up with his bare hands and play one of their lively games for us.
For sunset we go walking with the meerkats. These cute creatures are either busy digging up bugs and beetles to feed themselves or standing guard on their hind legs. You can get close to them and if you have the right set of mind to stay calm, they might even climb you for a better view. When the sun starts to set, they all congregate at their burrows, have a family get together – great opportunity for photos – and then retire for the night.
One of the great migration routes of Botswana passes by the Magkadikgadi pans. We travel along the jeep roads that crisscross the national park for several hours and stop counting the zebras and wildebeests just after a few minutes. By a conservative estimate, we agree that we see several thousand migrating animals on this drive. There is a constant coming and going at the waterholes. Zebras are generally more restrained in their behavior than the wildebeest who constantly run around and splash through the water.
In this beautiful shot, I catch 17 zebras with their heads in the water at the same time. Can you count the wildebeest in the background?