Makgadikgadi Pans: a must-have travellers’ guidebook
Grahame McLeod

Makgadikgadi Pans is one of the largest salt complexes in the world.

It lies between the perennial waterways of the Okavango Delta to the northwest and the arid Kalahari to the south, covering 12,000 square kilometres in extent.

Until now, very little had been written about this region.

However, the newly published, fully illustrated guidebook by Grahame McLeod ‘Makgadikgadi Pans’, explores this fascinating stretch of land in minute detail.

With every stroke of the pen, the reader realises just how special Makgadikgadiis.

McLeod’s captivating book zooms in on the pans’ varied landscapes, geology, wildlife, vegetation and climate.

He also unpacks the natural attractions in the area, and takes the reader with him through this spellbinding Makgadikgadi scenery.

The ten chapters of the book gives insight on Lekhubu Island, Nxai Pan National Park, Boteti River, Mosu Escarpment, Nata Bird Sanctuary and the small towns and villages along the pans’ fringes.

Makgadikgadi Pans: a must-have travellers’ guidebook
Makgadikgadi Pans, a travellers guide

It is an inspiring read filled with over 200 colourful pictures, travel details (including contacts), list of activities and events throughout the year, detailedcolour maps and advice on lodging facilities in the area.

McLeod strips Makgadikgadi bare with an in-depth panorama of one of the country’s best-kept secrets.

He gives vital advice on the best times to visit the area.

While many believe any season is good for exploring the pans’ many moods, McLeod reckons the dry season (May to October) is ideal as game viewing is at its best.

He points out that it is easier to get around during this time, as the tracks are likely to have dried out after the rains.

He further states that despite September and October being uncomfortably hot and dusty, they also bring unexpected gifts.

It is at this time when many trees, particularly the acacias, burst into flower, parading their white and yellow flowers at the most inhospitable time of the year.

The author also explores the Makgadikgadi geology and dispels the myth that the area is just a stretch of salt and sand.

He points out that there are special rocks which date back 2, 000 million years.

Some of the rocks include the Karoo System(named after a semiarid region in South Africa where these rocks are best preserved).

There’s also the Mea arkose, the whitish, coarse-grained rock consisting of quartz and small pebbles.

They are mainly found in the areas along the eastern margin of Sowa Pan, especially around Mea Pan.

The book discusses rocks such as Tlapama mudstones, Mosu, Ntane sand stones found in Southern Sowa Pan and Mosu village.

This travel guide is a complete package for tourists planning to visit the region and learn more about ancient places such as Lekhubu Island and Kaitshe Escarpment.

It is a travellers’ guide and so much more and will soon be available in local bookshops.

Get yourself a copy and see if you’ll be able to stop turning the pages.

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