No water, bring the dust
A SPECTACLE: Hercules C130 in action

Hundreds turn up to play in the endless dry Makgadikgadi

Stretching a staggering 12, 000 square kilometres, the Makgadikgadi salt flats are the perfect playground for fun lovers.

The annual Makgadikgadi Epic once again proved that with a little bit of imagination and a stunning setting, not much is needed for a world class experience.

For four days, starting on the 12th July, Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) hosted skydivers from across the world in Sowa Town.

Skydivers came from as far as the United States of America, China, Germany and Holland to take to the skies above one of the most unique landscapes on the planet.

READY TO LAND: A skydiver in action

In front of an admiring audience, the daredevils took turns, dropping from a diving altitude of more than 4, 000m (4km).

From such a distance the jumper will free fall for about 60 seconds at an immediate, eye-watering speed of 240 km/h.

They then glide serenely towards the white sea of salt before pulling their parachutes and soaring back into the sky

While there were other activities such as quad biking and horse riding, skydiving seemed to be the crowd’s favourite.

It could probably be because there wasn’t much variety in terms of activities.

Lack of water in the pans denied revellers a chance to experience exciting water sports such as boat cruising, hovering, jet skiing and many others that thrilled at last year’s event.

Although disappointed, most who attended nonetheless rolled in the dust and soaked in the beauty of Makgadikgadi.

A dry Makgadikgadi Pan is an endless white of nothingness.

It is an area that instinctively brings out the child in you.

An infinite playground made for lovers and friends.

FOUR WHEELERS: Ready on the quad bikes

Being one of the many who was looking forward to playing in the water, I had to quickly find alternative ways of having fun in the dry pan.

While skydiving is exhilarating, it can be a bit of a bore if consumed in copious amounts.

My favorite pastime was staring into the vast openness of the pan and letting my mind wander.

Occasional dust would slowly rise up from the beat-up ground, leisurely moving into the air, while slow-dancing across the windy open plane.

An identical wisp of dust would then rise to join its mate on the dance floor.

The two would merge and waltz together across the pan before disappearing into the horizon, hopefully to rise up and dance one more time.

The pans have a calming effect, and opportunities are bountiful.

In the absence of water, I kept thinking beach volleyball would be perfect in the dry pans.

Women playing ball in their bikinis have never hurt anyone (unless their spikes go awry!) and buff, topless men are rarely a sore sight.

Lack of water should never be a deterrent but viewed as an opportunity for adults to have fun and get dirty in the dust.

My wish is for more activities to be introduced to mitigate the lack of water.

A dry Makgadikgadi, however, still offers value for money.

I’ll definitely be back again soon, to watch the dancing dust if nothing else!

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