The thing I love most about travelling through Botswana is that it’s still an adventure. Recently I travelled to Kubu Island to photograph the magical landscapes made up of a granite rock outcrop surrounded by the white sea of salt of the Makgadikgadi Pans, one of the largest salt flat complexes in the world.
The rocky island, which is roughly a kilometer long, is interspersed with magnificent baobab trees, making for striking landscape and night photography.
Getting there is definitely an adventure. A 4×4 is essential, a GPS highly recommended and you will need to be self-sufficient as camping is basic. This is a good thing as the lack of electricity ensures dark unpolluted night skies, although be warned, the dust from the dessert sands can cause a glow in the sky.
Night Photography tips for Kubu Island:
- Plan you photo ahead. You’ll need at least one night and day ahead of shooting. See exactly where the Milky Way lies and then with that knowledge head out on foot during the day and scout for your location.
- For best results find a spot on the opposite side to the campsite to avoid frustrations of other campers shining torches, particularly if you are wanting to do star trails.
A note on etiquette – At 1 km long the island is not that big. Take the time to walk around and truly experience the vastness of the surrounds. It can be very frustrating during golden hour as vehicles drive around from one spot to the next to take photographs, obscuring the view and photographic possibilities for others, not to mention the unsightly tracks in the salt.
And a final tip from me – Remember to put the camera down at some point and simply take in the magical beauty of this place first hand.