Day 233… Sunday 12th November
More salt pans south following tracks others had left before us. OSM mapping has worked well for this terrain where google maps does not always work. Incredible sandy pans that stretch for miles with no animals or people around. In 3 hours we past 4 vehicles. Stopped to help a young couple with a toddler whose vehicle had broken down. They had a live goat sitting in the boot next to large racks of raw meat. Managed to jump start their car and we followed behind but they broke down again and the second jump start failed. Incredibly lucky that a vehicle coming the other way was able to stop and help otherwise they may have been stuck for hours in this wilderness. Arrived at Karma Rhino Sanctuary, a community based wildlife project covering 8,500 hectares with camping available. Treated ourselves to lunch at the restaurant. Had a self-guided drive around and saw Rhino and Dik-dik (the smallest of the antelope species). Our campsite had a water tap and showers/wc. Parked under a large shady Baobab tree. 39 Degree Celsius today – far too hot for me.
All the time while camping I would usually wake early, since it begins to get light from 4:30/5am. On this day I was awake from 4:15/4:30. Restless I saw the sun rising and knowing what a special place we were in I decided to get up, grab a chair, and my water bottle and march out into the pan. There, amongst cattle poo and sitting on my own I slowly watched the sun rise. For over an hour there was complete silence, with only a warm gentle breeze blowing across the pans. The sky slowly changed colour, with orange and pink hues appearing, stretching across the vastness of Sua Pan. After a while I noticed in the distance one of the other campers set up to see the sun come over the horizon. My positioning meant I didn’t quite see that, but something far better. The sun rose from behind the island itself, right behind one of the giant baobab trees. It framed the island perfectly, making it look much more stunning. I had purposefully left my phone behind so I could enjoy the moment, and as such have no photos, but it was an amazing experience.
On our trip south we had the chance to drive over the vast pans all the while trying to follow impressions, tracks left from other vehicles in the muddy crust. Further along we had more a lot sand to battle, and then as Rachael mentions, a first for me in helping a stranded car which required a jump start.
We must definitely come back here one day.