- Makgadikgadi Epic attracts multitudes
The sheer epicness of Makgadikgadi Epic was this past weekend laid bare, as 42 skydivers from across the world conquered the Makgadikgadi Salt pans skies over the weekend, much to the excitement of thousands who thronged the Sua Pan edge outside Sowa Town.
The Makgadikgadi Epic has over the years positioned itself as the best adventure tourism event in the country, and despite its absence for 2 years, the eighth edition this past weekend proved to any doubters that it still stands tops. As most revellers attested to this publication over the weekend, Makgadikgadi Epic has provided a perfect start to promoting for domestic travel.
This event is pioneered by Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) in partnership with Parachute Association Botswana and hosted by Botash.
As BTO’s Marketing Executive Thabang Segaetsho puts it, the sport and adventure tourism event promotes destination Makgadikgadi and ultimately destination Botswana, hence the participation of international skydivers. This year in particular were from Europe, Zambia, Zimbabwe as well as local skydivers.
But, what is it that the event offers which makes it a crowd puller? Well, its anchored on skydiving- which also brings with it tandem jumps for the public. So, whether you are a skydiver or not, you still get the opportunity to go up to skies and drop with the parachutes. For those on the crowd, there is nothing like watching skydivers falling from the sky, and reach the landing zone safely.
For skydivers, its Epic up there and for the many adrenaline junkies and daredevils – the boogie event has become their favourite. But why? The Epic fact is that it is one of the few such events around the world where the government provides resources for use by skydivers.
Among these, is provision by government of military aircraft, in the case of Makgadikgadi Epic, the Casa and the skydivers’ all-time favourite, the Lockheed C130 Hercules. As with previous editions of the event, skydivers had at their disposal the small fixed wing, helicopters, the Casa and the C130 to jump from.
So with these equipment, it becomes epic up there in the sky, far off from the ordinary eye of the spectator on the ground.
It is up here, where our men and women jump from the aircraft at the altitudes of up to 18 000 feet, leaving a perfectly functional craft to do what they love the most – skydiving. Depending on the group sizes, they make beautiful formations up there, with the beautiful views of the pans beneath, …then breaking up and deploy their chutes to make stunning landings much to the delight of the spectators – Sheer epic that can only be described by one who makes time to be part of the spectacle like non other.
Those who are fortunate enough to do tandem jumps with these skydivers also get to experience the breathtaking dives.
By its very nature, the event attracts the young and the old alike, and makes it a family event, proving a perfect outing for all.
Meanwhile other events laced to the main activity are helicopter flips, quad bike, hovercraft and horse rides and entertainment provided by Djs and artists throughout the course of the event.
Further to this, stalls were in full action, with various organisations showcasing their products and services. In the same vein foodlovers had the opportunity to sample different menus on sale. All these, answered to the call for an economic impact the event should leave behind for local business and CBOs.
Over the years, one of the major highlights has and remains the presence and participation at the event by the head of state, ministers and local leaders. This year was no different, as President Mokgweetsi Masisi even had to opportunity to walk over to the entertainment stage set among the multitudes area for a dumelang moment, before showcasing his dance moves.