The four-seater Cessna drones on for an hour over the flat, featureless terrain of the Kalahari desert. This is the Makgadikgaki, one of the largest saltpans in the world. Suddently the barren eternity is interrupted by an improbable line of fan palm trees. “Jack’s Camp,” my pilot volunteers as he begins his approach toward the oasis’ dusty landing strip.

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