It is through the summer months that we spend our days on horseback, roaming with the vast herds of zebra and wildebeest as they feast on the expansive grass covered islands within the vast Makgadikgadi salt pans. The rain soaked pans have temporarily transformed into an alluring inland sea with limited access to what has become a treacherous mud-filled expanse.
But as the winter draws near, these pans slowly dry out and our anticipation and excitement builds as we begin to dream of a Makgadikgadi moonlit ride across its salt encrusted surface. Wrapped up at night in their cosy safari blankets, the horses too have an impending sense of what is to come – the chance to fly across the largest racetrack on earth!
From our remote mobile fly camp set on a high ridge overlooking the Pans, we observe a spectacular Kalahari sunrise. It is easy to imagine what was once a vast paleo lake in the heart of this continent.
The day draws to a close. The sun begins to set and the moon begins to rise as we ride out to the edge of pans, eyes straining at the horizon searching for an end in the nothing.
And as the night creeps in, we are guided merely by the Southern Cross towards the flicker of a distant camp fire. Followed by our moon shadows we break into a canter. Your heart seems to join the rhythm of the horses hooves as you glide over the white surface.
We are about to spend one of the most extraordinary nights of our lives sleeping out under nothing but the stars.
As dawn light breaks over the horse picket line, you’re able to fully comprehend the isolation. Like walking up on the surface of the moon.