In the shad­ows of baob­abs

In the vast ex­panse of the great Mak­gadik­gadi salt pans in the north­ern Kala­hari, lies a gran­ite crag known as Kubu Is­land. Its slopes are rich with peb­bles and fos­sils, ev­i­dence that a pre­his­toric lake once cov­ered this re­gion. crowned with gi­gan­tic baob

Land Rover AFRICA Magazine - - FEATURE - Anthon Botha

The moon rose through the baob­abs and the pan be­came a pale mir­ror, a light back­drop for the bod­ies who danced in­side the stone walls in an age- old rit­ual, prac­tised from here to Great Zim­babwe. Thou­sands of years ago, young ini­ti­ates ar­rived as boys and left as sea­soned shamans.

Kubu Is­land ( or Lekhubu Is­land) is a dry gran­ite rock is­land lo­cated in the Mak­gadik­gadi Pan of Botswana. It’s about one kilo­me­tre long and 20 me­tres high. But more than the slight el­e­va­tion or dis­tant mi­rages, it is the trees – baob­abs and African star chest­nuts – and the rock for­ma­tions that catch your eye.

The road to Kubu is easy for a Landy with some sand here and there. How­ever, keep to the slightly darker in­den­ta­tions caused by tyres when driv­ing on the pan. Fol­low the signs up to the edge of the pan, but to add a sense of se­cu­rity, trust the GPS, and make sure that the pan is dry. Kubu Is­land be­comes in­ac­ces­si­ble dur­ing cer­tain pe­ri­ods of the year. It’s the kind of mud that can swal­low a ve­hi­cle.

We camped un­der a large mokakata, or African star chest­nut with its slightly pink bark. The sun­sets at Kubu are spec­tac­u­lar. Colours are painted on the can­vas of the sky and the dusk set­tles fast, bring­ing the chill of the Kala­hari night.

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