Top Ten Southern Africa Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Bike the Botswana Pans
  |  Gorp.com

Why would anyone want to bike through the Makgadigadi Pans—two vast, shallow expanses of mud? In the scorching Botswana summer, they fill with rain, releasing millions of tiny brine shrimp which in turn attract breeding flocks of pink flamingos. In the dry winter they bake to a hard white crust—a perfect surface across which to go roaring on a quad bike. So wide are the pans that when out in the middle of them you can't see the "shore." And the stars in this part of the Kalahari are unrivaled. From Jack's Camp, a luxurious place at the edge of the pans, you take quad bikes out to a table set out in the middle of the emptiness to find dinner laid and ready. By day you go walking, looking at game and picking wild foods, with a Bushman guide called Cobra. If you go during the sweltering summer months, you can't quad-bike the pans (too glutinous), but you do see the flamingos and—if you're lucky—you might see the eastern Kalahari's summer zebra migration.


Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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