Having spent three days at Kubu Island reporter OTHUSITSE TLHOBOGANG makes a case for any outdoor loving enthusiast to spare time and resources to enjoy the pristine and refreshing landscape at the island.
Botswana is arguably one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The country prides itself with the different types of vegetation and landscapes from dry lands in the western parts, high lands of the eastern areas as well as and wetlands of the Okavango. All these provide a mind soothing experience. One of such remarkable places is the historical Kubu Island, which is situated in the Makgadikgadi Pan area just a few kilometres from Letlhakane in the Boteti region. The island is accessible through the village of Mmatshumu. From this small village into the pans one enjoys amazing flora in route to Kubu Island. To get to the island one needs a 4 by 4 vehicle to be able to traverse the rough terrain. The sandy bumpy road criss-crossing around the bush forces a slow drive with the 54 km journey lasting for up to more than one hour. It is the slow drive that gives a person an opportunity to enjoy the nice view of vegetation through the wilderness. Kubu Island is surrounded by a vast lake of salt sand providing a great view. Driving into island from Mmatshumu you go through three types of vegetation; first the dense bush then through a vast area covered by tall grass with no trees and finally the sea of white salty sand with some grey clay in the vicinity as you approach Kubu Island.
The island made up of outcrop rocks protruding from the raised surface used to be submerged in water and as the lake dried out, it left a sea of white sand all around. Some of the rocks on the island are as high as about 10m while others are spread flat on the ground. Entering Kubu Island you feel you are in a totally different area from the one you are used to, away from civilisation. Surrounded by nothing else but a sea of white sand, the island is populated by baobab trees that give its unique appearance. Normal baobab trees grow very big while those in Kubu Island are short. Some say this is because the vegetation lacked sufficient supply of water. The view, however, is breath taking. The island, which is managed by the community (Gaing-O community), also boost of cultural remains from many years. There is wall of stones on the southern part of the island believed to have been built by the inhabitants of the place a long time back. There is also a cave in the Kubu Island which is believed to have been used by the former inhabitants of the area. Camping on the Island is an unforgettable experience. The beauty is much visible in the early hours of the morning – sunrise and from sunset to late evening. When the sun is low, its rays hitting at an angle on the island, a remarkable view is produced. The golden rays that hit through the baobab threes and the rocks paint the sky amazingly with a rarely seen sight.
Even though the place is without visible animals in the area mainly because of the type of vegetation, there is still a wonderful guided walk for people visiting the island. When on the walk people are taught the history of the island. Detailed lectures are given about the ruins that are found in the island as well as the taboos while in the Kubu Island. Some of the taboos are that there is no gathering of wild fruits and hunting in the island. People are also not allowed to take away the rocks that are in the island. For all those who wish to escape the noisy city or urban life for some time, this one extraordinary place to visit. One day or two at Kubu Island would restore a peaceful mind because of its quietness and fresh breeze. Its vast area provides a very good camping site.