When a colleague of Sue’s and a good friend of ours, Paul, told us that his wife, Maggie was coming to Letlhakane for a long weekend, but he had to work on the Friday, I offered to take her to the main attraction here, Lekhubu Island.
Owing to good rains just prior to her visit I decided that the route to Lekhubu might be impassable, so the next best option was to go to Kaitshe.
Kaitshe is a prominent escarpment with an incredible view over the Sowa Pan of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.
So Maggie and I, with our respective partners at work together, headed out into the African bush. The road to the view point was very eroded which made for some very interesting driving and the last part to the summit, very rocky and some rocks we actually had to climb up.
Right at the top there was a massive hole in the center of the road and as the road was narrow, there was no way around. Getting out of the vehicle I judged that we could get a wheel either side. I moved our car closer, then got out and checked again, we had a couple of centimeters spare on each side. So slowly I went across.
The view from Kaitshe is absolutely stunning as you look out over miles and miles of nothing.
Right at the view point are free standing rock walls that used to surround a stone age village dating back to AD 900 – AD 1300. The people here traded salt through a large trade network, from the interior of southern Africa and the outside world through places such as Mapungubwe.
We headed down from the ridge, avoiding the hole, which one could hardly see from this side. Arriving at the edge of the pan it looked dry so I took a gamble and went onto it. Traveling on a pan by oneself is not really a great idea.
I did know of another road on the other side of the pan which would take us out to the tar road via a different route and hopefully a better road than the one we came in on. But I had never done it this way round and I still had to get over the pan.
Further I told Sue that we would just do the viewpoint, in and out on the same road – so if we had problems she wouldn’t find us and with no mobile reception she wouldn’t even be able to phone us.
There were a few damp sections on the pans, which we got through easily. I was still very relieved when we were on firm ground again.
We followed a track and after a while I realised that we were going in the wrong direction and we should have reached a vet fence along time ago. I stopped and turned around, we found a track that was going in the right direction.
Maggie asked me if this looked more familiar – I don’t think she liked my answer of “you are seeing parts of Botswana that I haven’t even seen before”.
We drove and drove – then the track disappeared. Backtracking a bit I found another track that also was heading in the right direction. We weren’t lost, but our global positioning was temporarily unknown.
We drove and drove some more and eventually we came across a kraal – my heart sunk. If the road ended here I didn’t know where to go. Lucky enough there were people there and one could speak english. I was told to narrowly miss the wall of the kraal and a tree as there was another road on the other side.
I was told to just go straight down this road and not to turn right. I did exactly that, well I thought I had. I was totally surprised when we came out at the pans again. The spot we were at about 2 hours ago.
At least I knew where I was again. All I had to do was get back over the pans and onto the road I knew well. It was quite a relieve to hit the tar road again.