This time we chose to experience more remoteness in Botswana than on our trip 2 years before. This is why we decided to make a trip to Kubu Island, and soon after also to the Kalahari Desert. (More about this you will find here: Central Kalahari a Rough Piece of Nature)
The Road Leading to Kubu Island
In the middle of Botswana in the Makgadikgadi Pans lays Kubu Island – far from any civilization. Thousands of years ago the pans used to be an inland lake, today there is just sand and dust left, a bit of grass now and then, and very little sign of life.
To reach Kubu Island the sandy drive is about 45 kms, first leading through Mopane bushland downwards to the former lake. From the “coastline” it is kind of an exaggeration to talk about a road: a better definition would be endless sandy and dusty tracks through the plain – sometimes difficult to guess which track is the right one. To get to the island you do need a 4×4 vehicle, but the road from the South is not difficult to drive – at least not now, in the dry season. However, the road from the North, which we tried in 2016 is much more challenging.
Kubu Island, although not surrounded by water anymore, is still obviously an island. It elevates in the middle of the lifeless pan as a small oasis and memory of past times. Hundreds of Baobab trees scattered through the rocky landscape, rocks which had been rounded by water thousands of years ago.
Our Stay on Kubu Island
We choose our camp site below 3 majestic baobab trees, set up the roof tent, have a light lunch, drink a good espresso – thanks to Wacaco, our travel coffee machine and wait in the shade for the biggest heat to pass. At 16h we collect our photo gear, put on our hiking shoes and start our discovery around Kubu Island. It is the perfect timing for seeing the landscape in the golden light of the afternoon sun. The baobab trees and rocks give a wonderful foreground to the endless sand pan. We climb to one of the highest points on the island to see the setting sun over the pan.
The night is just amazing: complete silence, millions of stars on the black sky, the Milky Way crossing directly above our heads. Grilling our own dinner on open fire is also a great experience of self-sufficiency. We enjoy every second of the evening.
We wake up in our roof tent to the sound of birds right before sunrise. A lazy breakfast, comfortably getting ready, packing up our camp – by the time we are finished the thermometer shows 32 C. We drive 2 slow rounds around the island by car, take some more pictures, say our goodbyes to the place and start our journey back to civilization.
If you want to experience loneliness and eternity in Botswana, Kubu Island is for sure one of the places to go. We enjoyed this peaceful spot and would return any time…