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The desert is alive – Botswana

When I think of Africa, my heart beats a few beats faster. In the past 28 years I have spent more than 200 nights in fantastic lodges and watched the wild animals breathless with happiness during the day.


Unique are the Makgadikgadi Pans, the second largest salt desert in the world in southern Botswana! And this is what a normal, wonderful day looks like there: At sunrise we drive in a jeep to the meerkats. A team of biologists works here on behalf of the lodge. Ever since a scientist saved a baby meerkat from the claws of a hungry bird of prey, the normally shy mongooses have built trust in us humans. That's also the reason why I've sat here several times in the morning at 6:00 am in front of a cave in the sand. The little meerkats like to use my knees and shoulders as sighting posts to spot any dangers from the air. You can't and shouldn't pet them, these cute rodents, but they're so cute that I really have to control myself!


We continue. On the way we meet a couple of lions in love lying in the middle of the path. They perform the act about every 30 minutes, up to 50 times a day. The split-second ritual is always the same: he bites her neck, she bites back, a short joint howl, then both fall exhausted back into the sand of the lane, directly in front of our jeep. They don't care. You just lie in front of the car and relax. We will see them for days, their rut has only just begun.


In the afternoon we go deeper into the salt desert by quad. After a wild ride further and further into this unreal, endless lunar landscape, we stop and everyone looks for a spot 20 meters away, lies down on the warm, gray crust of salt and looks out into space. A first pale star appears, then other small stars. At some point the sky lights up as if a gigantic strobe light had been switched on in a disco. I have never experienced such a star spectacle. But what is most extraordinary: There is no sound, I only hear my own heartbeat. A small tear rolls from the corner of my eye, this moment is just incredibly touching. Quiet can be pretty loud.

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