My Meerkat Experience in the Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana

by Darley Newman

We're editing the Botswana episodes and have found some fun behind the scenes that we'll be sharing with you. One is from my experience getting personal with a meerkat colony in the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana. 

Meerkats are very social animals and this particular colony is used to some human interaction. Though you can't touch the meerkats, you can let them crawl on you. Since they like to be at the highest point possible to keep a look out for danger, if you sit or lie down, there's a good chance that they will walk on you and sometimes stand on your head! 

In the below video, the alpha male of this gang decides to mark me as part of his territory. Meerkats do this by using their anal gland or saliva from their cheek. Yuck! 

Actually, it wasn't that bad, just a little jarring at the time. Well, that, and because of luggage restrictions, I wore these clothes again and again during the rest of my journey. (get Botswana packing tips from my first-hand expereiences)

The end shot in this clip shows a little of what it's like to ride in this area. I felt like I was on an endless beach in some places, as there are plam trees and grassy terrain, but then out of the pans you feel like you're riding on the surface of the moon. Read more about the Makgadikgadi Pans, one of the largest salt pans in the world, and see some photos from my previous Makgadikgadi blog post.

This is an amazing Botswana riding holiday, so check out the Botswana Makgadikgadi Pans Horse Safari, where you can see meerkats, sleep out under the most beautiful sky filled with stars, and perhaps also gallop with a herd of zebra and wildebeest! Quite the adventure.