Khawa Dune Challenge 2018May 15, 2019
Looking for the perfect place to host the Makgadikgadi Moonlight Adventure is quite a task and involves exploration and guts to go into the pans and search - with no signal and no knowing what you’ll find! Will they be wet, will they be dry, will we find that ultimate white crust that we know makes this trip one-of-a-lifetime…find out what Lola Berrie, Extreme Events Co-Ordinator of Muddy Face Botswana, had to say about her trip to find the Perfect Place for 2019.
This is the third time Muddy Face is hosting the Makgadikgadi Moonlight Adventure, why don’t you just go back to same site every year?
The first time we hosted this event we went more to the northern side of the pans, and came in from the Gweta area and onto the salt pans, this was the area that was driest at that time and “ticked all the boxes” for hosting the event. The year after that we could not host the Makgadikgadi Moonlight Adventure due to the Hurricane Dineo, which flooded the pans somewhat and left us “hanging out to dry” so to speak! In 2018 we managed to find an amazing site thanks to the help of Andries Kruger from Moriti Wa Selemo. The site was situated to the southern part of the pans which was a lot easier to get to, both for our back-up vehicles along with those visitors who did not have 4x4 vehicles. Ross and myself had our fingers and toes all crossed that we would be able to go back to the same site for 2019…but would it be dry enough, or would the rains and other elements have affected the landscape making it “unsuitable” for the Makgadikgadi Moonlight Adventure?
Which boxes need to be ticked for the site to be suitable?
First and foremost, is the pan area of approximately 30km squared dry enough? Does it have the most desired “white crust” to show the moon’s reflection? These are the two most important factors for us when we look for the site. The other is to make sure that the road to the pan is not too tough, we need to transport equipment to the event and we want our guests to enjoy the experience getting there, it shouldn’t be stressful for those who don’t have a 4x4.
So for 2019’s Adventure, does one need a 4x4?
We are super excited to announce that to get to this years Moonlight site, you DO NOT need a 4x4. However if you want to visit any of the trails, you’ll need a 4x4 to do any of those adventure trails and should be prepared for quite an adventurous trek.
How far is the site from major city centres of Botswana?
The site is 130km from Francistown off the Orapa Road, 660km from Gaborone coming through Serowe and Letlhakane. From Maun is it 450km and from Kasane 470km. Your last fuel stop is at Mokubilo Filling Station and this is where you should fill your jerry cans with fuel and buy any last minute cool drinks and ice for the weekend. There should also be firewood for sale at the station.
What do you love about the 2019 site?
It’s difficult to put into words the true ‘essence’ of the Makgadikgadi Salt pans in the Kalahari, but I think its fundamentally important to include it in the list, because it was one of the substantial factors in making this experience so unique and unforgettable. When I was exploring the pans I couldn’t help but evoke a feeling of release – nothing else matters but the here and now. The vastness engulfs you so that all the small things fade away and you are left with a sense of peace and freedom (even now I can’t help grinning as I cast my mind back to the all the exploration trips I have done looking for each year’s site). Every year we bring people out of the city to experience this freedom, where the only reason for stopping is because you want to, rather than because you’ve hit a road! Being able to trek through the dark across the pans because you know the ground is safe or riding across the vast open pan and plains is so unique and we love being able to give this experience to our guests.