25-Sep-2004 -- Having visited the Confluences 19S 16E and 19S 15E during July 2004, it was necessary to visit the third and final Confluence situated in the Etosha National Park, Namibia, and this was done on September 25, 2004.
Our group travelled up to the Park on September 24, 2004, and spent the night at a lodge just outside the easterly gate to the Park. The following morning we entered the Park and proceeded to the Namutoni restcamp, where we were to meet our guides, Warden Immanuel Kapofi and Scout Malagia Kuiseb. According to the booklet "Origin and Meaning of Place Names in the Etosha National Park", Namutoni was historically known as "Namitoni", "Amutoni" or "Onamotoni". This eastern tourist camp's final name appears closest to the Oshindonga spelling of "Onamutune". It means "An Elevated Place" or "Place we can see from far away", because of its noticeable elevation due to the accumulated mineral deposits borne to the surface by artesian water.
We left the camp and travelled in a westerly direction towards the water point "Kalkheuwel" (meaning "Limestone Hill"). We then left the road and proceeded down a firebreak track in a south-easterly direction until we reached the water point "Auib" where lions were drinking. We were allowed to leave our vehicles and walk to the water point, but by then, the lions had retreated into the bushes. However, it was exciting to stand there and hear them growling at us from approximately 100 metres away. We continued in a southerly direction until we met the next firebreak, which took us in a north-easterly direction. We encountered fresh lion and rhino tracks on route.
Once we had reached latitude 19S, we left our vehicles and proceeded in an easterly direction through the bush on foot. Immanuel discussed with the group the possible risk of encountering a sleeping rhino in the bush. If disturbed, it would pick up our scent and charge. He said that if this should happen one should remain still and jump to one side at the last minute. Due to the fact that the rhino has poor vision it would continue running in the same direction, thus giving one time to escape. Fortunately, we did not encounter a rhino!
The distance to the Confluence was approximately 3,5 km. We reached the Confluence at 13h00. It was extremely hot and very dry. Vegetation type: Mopane savannah and woodland. The mopane, Colophospermum mopane, is the dominant species of this veld type and also the most common tree/shrub in the Etosha National Park. It has been estimated that 80% of Etosha's trees are mopane. Once we had taken the necessary photographs we had a hot but otherwise uneventful walk back to our vehicles.
We thank the following individuals:
Mr Ben Beytel, Director of Parks & Wildlife Management, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, for giving us permission to "walk in the Park"
Mr Immanuel Kapofi, Warden at Namutoni, and Malagia Kuiseb, Scout at Namutoni, who accompanied us for another awesome experience!