Travelling with his 1989 Toyota Hilux jalopy, Grahame Mcleod fell in love with the Makgadikgadi Pans. He describes the pans as a "timeless place of peace, solitude and intense silence".
From his sojourns in the pans, Mcleod has now published a book titled ‘Makgadikgadi Pans – A traveller’s guide to the salt flats of Botswana’. Mcleod, 68, was born in Malaysia. He worked as an exploration geologist in Botswana before completing his MSc degree in Agricultural Economics at the University College of Wales.
He has taught agriculture at secondary schools and colleges of education in Botswana. Mcleod has also authored a number of textbooks and resources on geography, agriculture and environment.
He is currently living near Francistown where he works as a freelance travel writer and editor.
During his stay in Botswana, Mcleod said he travelled extensively through the country and trips to the Makgadikgadi Pans were special.
He acknowledges his excursions in the pans as the inspiration that led him to produce a first guidebook of the area.
The guidebook is 136-page with fully illustrated 10 chapters exploring the whole region of Makgadikgadi covering the landscapes, geology, wildlife, vegetation and climate.
The author says he was inspired to write the guide after realising the renewed interest on the pans. He cites Makgadikgadi Epic, Y Care Walks, Race For Rhinos, and Muddy Face as some of the big events that have awakened the keen interests on the pans.
The book, published by Penguin Random House South Africa, reads and feels, especially the layout, like a textbooks with old and new photographs and detailed maps.
The challenge, like any guidebook, comes with advice on where to stay, travel details contacts and activities, as some of the information has already changed.
In this digital age when physical guidebooks are being replaced by interactive web applications, Mcleod is keeping the old tradition of old travellers going through book pages and it is a great contribution to Botswana’s travel literature.