Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Independence Day in September

Botswana became an independent nation on September 30, 1966. To celebrate Botswana Day (and to enjoy a 4 day weekend), I headed out to the Nata pans with a few other volunteers. The Nata Pans are part of a larger salt flat called the Makgadikgadi Pan, which is one of the largest salt flats in the world. To give you some idea of the size, I have heard it are larger than the country of Portugal. They are also very, flat. It made for some interesting pictures.

We drove out a good ways and set up camp (I knew the tent I brought with me would come in handy). I drank a bunch of water and went for a walk out on the pans.

The ground was cracked because of the heat and lack of water but I did find some interesting tracks. They were about 8 inches across and had four toes. I figured they were from lions and followed the tracks for a bit. (Later back at the camp, I found out they were from hippos who were walking between water holes).

The temperature became bearable as the sun set and we started our braai (grill) and a bonfire. It was nice to socialize and just enjoy being outside in such an amazing place.

The sunsets and sunrises here are simply beautiful. I do not think I will get tired of watching them.

Once the sun set, the stars began to come out. I was by no means an expert in stars back home, but the stars in the southern hemisphere totally throw me for a loop. There are so many stars here at night that the sky looks hazy. The only other place I have been that comes close was at the Grand Canyon.

All in all, it was a great trip. There are so many beautiful things to see and do here in Botswana. I just hope I have enough time and money.