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Dirt Bikes on the Moon!

We’re all fascinated by the moon and imagine you had the opportunity to actually visit the moon, even more so, taking your dirt bike for a ride on the moon! Sounds very far fetched, but we have something that is damn near close to riding a bike on the moon, the Makgadikgadi Moonlight Adventure.

Located in the north-east if the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and south-east of the Okavango Delta lies the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, spanning over 30 000km2 and identified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the home of the Makgadikgadi Moonlight Adventure.

An adventure for all outdoor enthusiasts and dirt bike lovers. The event was created around the concept of being able to safely ride your dirt bike at night, never did we imagine the beauty we would see when the full moon is out. The pans turn a crystal blue with the reflection of the moon and we’re sure Neil Armstrong would have a bit of de ja vu should he visit the pans whilst the moon is full and bright! Now that you have a picture in your mind, imagine taking your bike for a ride around a 20-25km loop that takes you into the pans so that you can experience the view without any artificial lights…you have a SHADOW, and that’s at 12am in the morning, not something you’ll find on your average trip or holiday! For most it is the best full moon experience you’ll have, where you can view the spectacular Milky Way from horizon to horizon with a blue undertone of the salt pans.

In 2019 we created several new aspects to the event, the JAM IN THE PAN and DAY TREKS.

JAM IN THE PAN

The Jam in the Pan is an acoustic jam in the middle of the pan, away from the festival lights, so that everyone can experience the mystic moon at its best alongside fabulous music and a full on fire dance show to capture your eyes! Jordan MoOzy was the highlight of this year's Jam in the Pan alongside the brilliant fire dancing performance put on by The Magic Bean Theatre Company from Maun.

DAY TREKS

We had two Day Treks, one to Kaitshe Escarpment on the first day and one to Kubu Island on the second day. Kaitshe offers an aerial view of the salt pans like no other, it also has various ancient archeology artefacts dating back to the Stone Age including a stone wall and pottery pieces. The route up to Kaitshe is rocky and quite technical and should only be done by a 4x4 or with bikes, but once you reach the top the view is breath-taking and well worth the trek.

Another highlight of 2019 was the tour to Kubu Island. It was a long tour taking a good 2-3 hours to get there and a further 2-3 hours to get back to the camp. The route followed the edge of the pans to avoid too many people getting stuck in what is known as “Botswana’s Cement”, it then cut across the vet fence line and finally to the island. Some riders took a chance and actually crossed the pans, they came home, not just with muddy faces, but rather “MUDDY EVERYWHERE!” Kubu Island is a tourism site that is covered with unique Baobabs and a rocky outcrop in the middle of nowhere. The pans are not normally dry enough for us to offer this adventure, but due to low rainfall this year, we were able to offer the tour. Those who trekked to Kubu Island had a pretty long day in the saddle, but loved the adventure that came with it.
To add to the day time activities, we host a simple oval track race for bikes and quads, during this race we raise money for a local non-profit organisation ELEPHANTS FOR AFRICA - riders are auctioned off and all the proceeds given to EfA. In 2019 we raised just over P4000.00 and will again run this event in 2020. Great Plains Conservation came on board as a sponsor of this event in 2018 and again in 2019 with an amazing prize of 2 nights stay for 2 people at any of their exploration camps, FULLY INCLUSIVE! This year the prize was won by Duane Nel from Maun, riding his quad. We also had a junior version of this race, which had a new Muddy Face sticker kit along with WKD apparel as prizes for the winner.

AFTER DARK ACTIVITIES

Opening the night-time activities is the House of the Rising Sun - Night Enduro-Cross event, here riders go ahead to ahead to win a 7 day holiday for 8 people in Mozambique at the House of the Rising Sun! The course is for two-wheelers only and is very technical, fast, short and loved by the spectators and riders. It an ALL OR NOTHING RACE! The race was won by Mike Wilkinson, also from Maun and his KTM 250 2 stroke. It was a close contention between him and Francistown’s rider, Cole Millman, providing the crowds with high adrenaline entertainment.

The dance floor was opened by the Upsidowns, a local band followed by another local band, Jordan MoOzy Live, who was loved by the 400+ crowd in attendance to the event. Whilst the dance floor opened, the moonlight loops also opened. These took riders on a 20km loop on the fabulous pan to experience the freedom of the pans and brightness of the full moon. Riders can ride these loops for as long as they want, as many times as they want, we just ask that they RIDE SAFE, without alcohol.
House of the Rising Sun Mozambique
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WHAT TO EXPECT AT THIS EVENT

The logistics of this event are intense as there is absolutely nothing out there and our team literally have to build the entire “mini city” from scratch. Trucking in water for showers, food and drinks for whole weekend, tents for people to hire as well as tents for the main arena. Electricity is provided from generators and this runs the entire main arena with lights, sound and refrigeration. Other facilities available at the event are:

WHAT PEOPLE LOVE ABOUT MOONLIGHT

• It is an event for the adventurous, with wild open spaces and where dust turns to slick.
• The event is family orientated and we loved the bonding and interacting with fellow campers and riders, making friends for life.
• We loved that we could ride all day long and all night long, without any race pressure.
• The adventure treks were character building and fun.
• Our kids were able to ride in a safe environment, they were free to build their own turn tracks and they too spent hours and hours riding and sharing their creations with their family and friends.
• We came to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere away from racing pressures and LOVED every moment.

Thank You to All Our Partners of This Event