An amazing experience in the Makgadikgadi Pans

The Makgadikgadi Pan, a salt pan situated in the middle of the dry savanna of north-eastern Botswana. It is one of the largest salt flats in the world. The pan is all that remains of the formerly enormous Lake Makgadikgadi, which once covered an area larger than Switzerland, but dried up several thousand years ago. (Extract from Wikipedia)

Have you ever been to the Makgadikgadi Pans?

Deep in the Makgadikgadi Pans, my happy place

For me, my ultimate goal is to just travel around Botswana and identify amazing locations and experiences that I can share with my guests. I believe my beautiful country has a lot of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. My recent trip to the magical Makgadikgadi Pans was the first trip I ever did at my own personal capacity ever since I left my 9-5. This was a very empowering trip and experience for me because all the ideas that I had in mind and been planning eventually took shape and it was very much fun and liberating.

  1. I have always wanted to experience the train (Never been on one here at home) and also wanted to see if I can’t do a day trip from the capital city Gaborone all the way to the pans which is close to 800km if you are going to drive.

    The train ride from Gaborone to Francistown

  2. I wanted to stay in a caravan and host guests in there as well and the plan was to pull it with my car (which I only realized 3 days before I left that I didn’t have a tow bar)

    How cool is this? Girls who ride Jeeps are the coolest!

Firstly, I need to experience the Pans by train because I wanted to take my guests on a train experience. So one Friday evening instead of doing my usual Mojemo with friends (go out and drink), I decided, fuck it, I’m taking a train and the ultimate destination is the Makgadikgadi Pans. Took the 9pm train (which is the only one and runs on that time schedule everyday without fail) and arrived in Francistown at 6am. It was still dark when I arrived and asked a local taxi driver to take me to a local guest house cos I needed a hot shower before I could do anything.

The Magical Blue Train!

After the shower, off I went to Wimpy restaurant to have breakfast and plan on how I will get to my final destination. Made a couple of calls, and it was kinda annoying in the beginning cos I couldn’t find a car to rent and there were no locker rooms where I could leave my bags (our cities need to seriously cater for budget travelers on the go, that convenience would go a long way).  I then rented a car from friends of friends and drove with them to the pans and I had to be the one driving cos their bodies were reeking of alcohol from a crazy night out and honestly, I don’t think they actually had any sleep when we met.

Breakfast at Wimpy before I hit the road!

Made it to the pans and it was fun and very liberating. We arrived at noon and stayed there until 5pm then we drove back to Francistown where I was to catch the night train which I did and by 6am the next day I was inside my house and in bed. I have always been a dreamer and most of the things I plan to do I disengage along the way. I have made a pact to myself that, whatever it is I want to do, budget permitting I will do and give it my all.

Hello Sowa Town!

With my two travel companions!

At the Race for Rhinos annual charity event in Sowa Town.

 

Immediately when I got back from my day trip to the pans, I then started planning an experience that I would then sell to my clients. After a radio interview that I did in one of our local radio stations, a couple reached out to me and told me that they have caravans that they would like me to use in some of my experiences. At the time we spoke, I was busy with another event (which I will post about very soon, a 4×4 car challenge which I absolutely love). I went to see the caravan and me being the creative that I am, ideas started popping and that night I couldn’t sleep. My creativity and way of thinking is very much influenced by the 60’s era, people in those years knew how to be free and lived their best lives. I truly believe in living in the now and being your authentic self no matter what, never apologize for who you are but always respect the people around you.

Welcome to the Happy Soul Adventures Mobile Airbnb…

 

Living la vida loca with my spirit animal Ma Brrrr (May her beautiful soul rest in eternal peace)

A week after seeing the caravan, I invited my best friend to join me to create a nice set up and take some pictures which we would use to market the experience and voila!!!

The caravan had a lounge that turns into a huge bed at night

Has a little kitchenette with a fridge, microwave and a stove

Own private shower and toilet

Incentives that I provided:

  • Food for you to cook (well I did most of the cooking)
  • Bluetooth speaker, wifi and a disco light (what a party!)
  • Binoculars and an instant camera
  • Books to read (but there was no time to read)
  • Bicycles to use to cycle around and explore the area

The pictures are clearly doing this post some much needed justice and you can see how amazing the caravan looked!

 

I hosted three (3) guests on separate occasions, one was a sole adventurer and two were best friends. The solo adventurer I went to pick her up from Francistown which was 3hrs from our camp and it proved to be quite a challenge (time and financially) and with the second guests who arrived two days later, I tried a different route and it became a logistical nightmare and the clients were not happy at all. That experience ended up almost ruining their trip but they were kind enough to accept the apology but their experience with me was very awkward I must admit.

Everything seemed very awkward and I learnt a lot from that experience and moving forward I now know the type of guests I want to host. Happy Soul Adventures is not about making money only but its mainly about making some lasting human connections and I want to engage with clients who are on that level too. All in all, it was an amazing experience and would certainly do it again. And to think I drove close to 800km by myself pulling a caravan, it really brought out a very fearless human being in me that I have always wanted to meet. I am very proud of myself for having done such an excellent job and arrived home safe. Set yourself goals and make sure you achieve atleast 70% of them, well I always strive for 100% and for this trip I can certainly give myself 90%. WELL DONE CYNTHIA!

 

The Makgadikgadi Skydive event takes places every year in July and it is such a fun event to experience. Skydiving, quad bikes, boat ride, cycling or just stay in a shade, listen to music and drink your favorite beverage whatever it may be. Definitely Happy Soul Adventures will be taking more people there and make sure you are part of our fun!

She bad!

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR IN MAKGADIKGADI!

Happy Soul Adventures

2 comments so far

PriscillaPosted on 9:11 am - Aug 17, 2018

You were born for this!!!

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