Pans of thun­der


I say good­bye to the Nieboers and carry on. I want to ex­plore the rest of the Mabuase­hube area.

Mabua feels like an “eas­ier” ver­sion of the Cen­tral Kala­hari Game Re­serve. Some of the stands have run­ning wa­ter and the pans are closer to­gether and more ac­ces­si­ble. But there are also more tourists around, so it’s harder to get that feel­ing of be­ing alone in the wilder­ness.

Stand 1 at Mabuase­hube is the clos­est you’ll get to that feel­ing. It doesn’t have an A-frame awning like most of the other stands, just a con­crete slab for you to braai on.

Mpay­athutlwa is the op­po­site. The camp­site takes its name from the big­gest pan in Mabuase­hube, and it’s very pop­u­lar. Stand 1 has run­ning wa­ter in the shower, a sink, some trees and a view of the pan. But it’s close to the road, so it lacks the pri­vacy of a proper wilder­ness camp.

I re­turn to Khid­ing Pan late in the af­ter­noon. The chee­tahs must be hun­gry by now. The Nieboers are al­ready there. They tell me that the cats started tuck­ing into the car­cass af­ter a nap and they’re

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