Leroo La Tau
Makgadikgadi National Park, Botswana
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LEROO LA TAU
- MAKGADIKGADI PANS, BOTSWANA
Leroo La Tau Lodge is situated near the village of Khumaga on the western border of the Makgadikgadi Pans National park, which stretches away from the banks of the Boteti River, through the park's interior of scrubland and grasslands, where it ends at the extraordinary salt pans in the east. The pans are the remains of a great lake that once occupied a significant portion of Northern Botswana, covering approximately 60 000 square kilometers. After dramatic climate change caused the drying up of this once majestic lake, there was a considerable amount of salt residue left behind. After the start of the rainy season the desert area teems with wildlife as herds of zebra and wildebeest graze on the wide open green grassland plains. During the wet season there is an influx of migratory bird species, while resident desert species welcome their visitors by showing off their breeding plumage.
At the onset of the dry season as the pans dry out again, there is a mini migration as all the animals start looking for water again. This migration moves up along the Boteti River, searching for water holes providing the only water for thousands of square kilometers. The migration can bring up to 30 000 zebra and wildebeest into the area and with it an increase in levels of predator activity. One may even experience the exhilaration of being caught in a stampede zone as predators hunt around the lodge.
Leroo La Tau is owned and operated by Desert & Delta Safaris.
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Leroo La Tau is built on cliffs over 10m high above this changing riverbed environment. The main reception and lounge area of Leroo La-Tau is located on top of these cliffs; this raised vantage point ensures unsurpassed views of the river and the Makgadikgadi to the east.
The lodge offers 12 luxury thatched and glass fronted suites with en-suite bathrooms, each one a raised wooden platform. The main lounge and dining area, with its inviting wooden and thatch finishes, offers guests the opportunity to sit back and relax at the bar while listening to the wide variety of night sounds so characteristic of the African bush. Alternatively you can lounge around the pool or enjoy the river view vistas from the game viewing hide built into the bank of the river.
No children under 12 years are accepted. No childcare/baby-sitters are provided for at any of our properties. Children must be under the care of their parents at all times. Children aged 16 yrs and younger to share with a parent at all times.
The lodge offers both scheduled guided day and night game drives. Depending on water levels of the Boteti River, boat activities are also on offer. Optional cultural excursions can also be arranged to visit Khumaga Village. Guided nature walks in the area surrounding the lodge can also be arranged. (Please note: Due to their location in the park, the physical Makgadikgadi Pans are not visited on daily scheduled activities from Leroo La Tau).
The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park stretches away from the banks of the Boteti River, through its interior of scrubland and grasslands. The western boundary provides for mineral rich grass lands and the Boteti River which supplies the much needed sustenance for the herds which inhabit the park.
Leroo La Tau is situated on the western bank of the Boteti River, north west of Khumaga village, about 140 kilometers south east of Maun. The river's eastern bank forms the boundary of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.
The Boteti river is the main outflow of the Okavango Delta, collecting the water that flows past Maun, and stretches about 250 km southeast finally ending at Lake Xau on the extreme south western edge of the great Makgadikgadi salt pans. There was permanent water in the river since long before Livingstone first explored the area in the late 1840s and brought the existence of Lake Ngami to the attention of the outside world. The river provided water for the great herds of wildlife that seasonally utilized the short grass plains on the north-west side of the Makgadikgadi, and latterly provided water for the Setswana cattle herders who moved onto the western bank. The river was thus a natural barrier between the wildlife and the cattle – and was a natural boundary for the National park.
In the mid 1980s the flood waters of the Okavango started to decline as the region entered a cycle of low rainfall in the catchment – and the Boteti River, receiving far less water, began to dry back progressively. It finally started drying up completely in the mid 1990s. The water stopped reaching Leroo La Tau by about 1987/88 – leaving a few waterholes in the riverbed fed by underground seeps, and trapping a small pod of hippo who stayed in a deep pool near Leroo La Tau, together with crocodiles who became completely terrestrial and denned in caves in the eastern river bank opposite Leroo La Tau.
The zebra and wildebeest herds continued to use the rich grass plains and migrating to the river at the end of winter to access the water in the seeps. The Makgadikgadi National Park is a harsh dry environment, suited to Gemsbok and Kudu, but the river provided a life-giving source of water for the zebra and wildebeest utilising the eastern grass plains.
2009 saw the highest floods in the Okavango in the past 25 years, and the Boteti River has started flowing strongly again with the water reaching and flowing past Leroo La Tau. After the start of the rainy season, this desert area teems with wildlife as herds of zebra and wildebeest graze to their heart's content on the wide open green grassland plains of the Makgadikgadi. During the wet season there is an influx of migratory bird species, while resident desert species welcome their visitors by showing off their breeding plumage.
Leroo La Tau is not only about lion, zebra and wildebeest but also boasts Chobe bushbuck, leopard, cheetah, brown and spotted hyena, impala, kudu, jackal, porcupine, genet and caracal, to name but a few. In addition, there is also the possibility of seeing the rare white rhinoceros.
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