Experience Makgadikgadi Pans to know it

Heroes the last walkers to arrive on final day completing the walk PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
Heroes the last walkers to arrive on final day completing the walk PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES

“If you don’t know Makgadikgadi Pans, you do not know Makgadikgadi Pans.”

These words by motivational speaker Lets Sithole mean that even if I could wax lyrical here trying to paint an image of Makgadikgadi Pans with all the superlative adjectives in the English language, you may not get it. You need to experience it.

Some say the best way to experience Makgadikgadi Pans is by a quad bike, riding fast, raising dust, and feeling the air hitting the face as one speeds into emptiness.

Others say it is best experienced from the air by jumping from a moving airplane like the daredevils from the annual Makgadikgadi Epic skydiving event.

But many agree that it is only when one walks through it, with no sounds from the roaring engines of quads or airplane, that disturb the peace, that one will really get to know these mighty salt pans.

That is partly why Y-Care Charitable Trust came up with these innovative charity walks to assist those willing to deeply experience this incredible place.

A sponsored walk through the nothingness of this amazing landscape is an idea born 13 years ago.

Every President Holidays, since 2002, walkers from different parts of the world descend on Makgadikgadi to traverse the Pans on foot to raise money for charity.

Before the summer rains pour down and make the Pans impassable, the Trust brings another batch of charity walkers for the exciting Midnight Walk normally held towards the end of August.

The 2015 Pans event saw 68 walkers braving the 106km distance from Mosu village in the south end of the Makgadikgadi to the remarkable Lekhubu Island, then Little Kubu Island and back to Mosu in three days.

The walkers were from different corporate entities including, Botswana Fibre Networks Ltd (BOFINET), Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL), Botswana Investment Trade Centre (BITC), Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB), Botswana Savings Bank (BSB), BancABC, and Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited Trust (BIHL Trust). Other supporting partners were medics from MRI Botswana, Boitekanelo Health Institute and Medswana.

The walk is not just a stroll through the pans. It is a life altering experience.

On the last campfire after completion of the walk, walkers often share stories that are synonymous to battle stories. Walkers, despite their aching muscles and painful blisters, feel content and proud for completing the arduous walk.

Sithole says he uses the Pans walk to “recalibrate”. Former Botswana Ambassador and Trustee at the BIHL Trust Kingsley Sebele was the eldest walker and showed an amazing determination as he pushed his old muscles beyond normal through the gruelling walk.

The former diplomat applauded Y-Care for promoting the country’s Vision 2016 pillar of a Just and Caring Nation with their inventive charity walks.

The new youthful coordinator of Y-Care, Sarona Moabi thanked all the companies and individual walkers, together with supporting teams for their participation in the walk to raise money for charity.

Moabi said their intensive planning paid off as the walk went well. “The event demands intensive planning and coordination, but our team proved up to the challenge to take the charity work forward” said Moabi.

The next charity walk at the Pans will be the Makgadikgadi Pans Midnight Walk on August 28 to 31, 2015.

To be part of the walk, call Moabi at 71784212 or email: [email protected]

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