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Friday, August 16, 2019


If you have been to Botswana, intend going, or just wish to find out more about its alluring salt sea, Makgadikgadi Pans is a must for you. (Review by Keith Millar)

Published in paperback by Struik Travel & Heritage (Random House Struik), Makgadikgadi Pans: A Traveller’s Guide To The Salt Flats Of Botswana is written by Grahame McLeod.

Those who have been fortunate enough to visit this captivating part of the world will, I am sure, concur that it is an area of almost mystical qualities. To quote from the book “It is a timeless place of peace, solitude and intense silence. In this vast expanse of salt, savanna and big open sky, you can truly gain another perspective on life."

I am also quite sure that many amongst those who enjoy travelling to places that are bit different and a bit off the beaten track - and have not yet had the opportunity to visit the Makgadikgadi Pans - will have this location firmly on their bucket lists.

Well, this splendid book will serve both categories of traveller very well indeed.

Those who have had the pleasure of visiting the Pans will revel in the well-written text and the plethora of superb photographs in the book which will, I am sure, evoke many fond memories - and probably ignite thoughts of a return trip.

Those who are yet to go will find it an invaluable aid, not only in planning their trip, but also while on the road.

Author Grahame McLeod has spent many years in Botswana as a geologist, educator, travel writer, author and editor. He has written a number of textbooks and resources on geography, agriculture and the environment.

He has travelled the Makgadikgadi Pans and their surrounds extensively and researched all aspects of the area thoroughly to produce a superb book which is jam-packed with facts and information.

The Makgadikgadi Pans, which were once a vast inland sea, are tucked away between the perennial waterways of the Okavango Delta and the arid Kalahari to the south. Some 12,000 square kilometres in extent, these salt flats, consisting of two large salt pans, Sowa and Ntwetwe, and a myriad smaller ones are one of the largest in the world.

McLeod writes about the varied landscapes, the geology, wildlife, vegetation, climate and local economy of the pans, as well as bringing to life the key destinations such as Nata Bird Sanctuary, Lekhubu Island, the Boteti River, Mosu Escarpment and the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan National Park. He also includes advice on where to stay, information on activities and events which take place in the area as well as travel details and contact information.

McLeod’s writes with reverence and passion, none more so than in his Preface where he describes a visit the spiritual Lekhubu Island, which has to be the number one attraction in the area. The book is illustrated with detailed a maps and over 200 excellent photographs. It is a fully glossy publication and would serve perfectly as a coffee table book although intended as a travel guide.

If you have been to Botswana, intend going, or just wish to find out more about its alluring salt sea, Makgadikgadi Pans is a must for you.

Makgadikgadi Pans is published by Struik Travel and Heritage. ISBN Number 978177584557. The recommended retail price is R230.00. – Keith Millar