Meerkats and salt pans

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May 14th 2008
Published: May 30th 2008
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Planet Baobab

From Vic Falls we did a big 6 hour drive to a place called Gweta in Botswana. We had to go back along the previously ill fated pot holed road, but a little less bravado on my part meant that we got there without crashing into any 4ft holes!

We were staying at a place called Planet Baobab for a couple of nights to do a trip out to the Magkadikadi salt pans. This place was really cool and we stayed in a mud hut surrounded by the massive Baobab trees, which are thousands of years old. It is also a sister place to Jacks Camp, where Giff used to work, so they all knew him which was a bit strange.

We ended up doing the trip out to the pans with an old couple from Denmark. They turned out to be real characters. He had worked for the UN all over the place and she had been a professor of Mandarin at Copenhagen University. They also liked a drink, so they were pretty entertaining!

The trip to get out to the pans involved a very bumpy 2 hour drive along sand roads, so it was another early start. On the way we stopped off to see a colony (don't know if that's the right word) of Meerkats. They're alot smaller than we imagined, but didn't bother at all that we were there. You could get incredibly close to them and they just carried on foraging in the bush for insects while two at either end of their territory kept an eye out for predators. It was great to get so close to them, although we weren't brave enough to let them climb over us.

From there we continued on to the pan. The salt pan is a really disorientating landscape. Everywhere you look there is a mirage on the horizon and distances are really deceptive, so if you ended up on there yourself you could be there for days going in circles. The pan itself is just a thin hard crust and then below that it is mud like, so lots of people get their 4x4s stuck. It was worth the arse pain of the 2 hour bumpy ride to experience something so different.

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