28-Apr-2012 -- A few quiet years have gone by since our previous confluence point visit in 2007. Having visited 8 confluence points before, when the opportunity knocked again, it did not take us long to agree that we need to visit this point. Our plan was to travel the old Hunters road which follows the border between Zimbabwe and Botswana. 19S 26E was not far off the track although the available maps did not agree and therefore we were not sure exactly where to find this point. The night before was spent at Elephant Sands, where we were woken up at 03h00 by elephants breaking branches right next to our tent. Although there were elephant footprints inside the camp as well, this time they were grazing just on the edge of the unfenced campsite. What an exiting start to our journey!
Ben, the owner of the lodge suggested that the southern part of the Hunters road should rather be avoided due to hunting taking place in the concession areas. On his recommendation we aimed for the southern border of the Sibuyu Forest Reserve. Apart from cattle fences which run across the whole width of Botswana to control foot and mouth disease, there are little other fencings around. The southern border of the forest reserve was no exception. It consisted of a cut line through the Mopane bush and it pretty much following the 19S latitude. This cut line was followed from the tarred road eastwards towards the Zimbabwean border. On the way we passed a huge dead Leadwood tree as well as the carcass of a giraffe. The cut line ended when joining another north-south cut line which is known as the Hunters road.
At this point, we were still 1.2 km away from our destination and the last bit had to be done on foot as there was just no way the vehicles would have made it through the bush to the confluence point without being damaged unnecessarily. We were also not sure whether we had to cross over into Zimbabwe and a vehicle can easily be confiscated if found illegally in Zimbabwe. 9 of us walked the last 1.2 km to the point and although it wasn’t too difficult, lots of bristle-grass made it rather unpleasant in the heat. Even though winter was on its way, the temperature was about 35 degrees Celsius and enough water had to be carried with. A few hundred meters to the east of the hunters road cut line was another north-south cut line, the width of a foot path, which we believed was the actual Botswana/Zimbabwean border. However, with no fences or other indication that this was the border, we carried on walking until we reached the spot. We took our pictures and returned shortly after. On the way back to the vehicles, we walked past an elephant carcass.
We continued north on the Hunters road to Kazungula, where the Chobe river joins the mighty Zambezi river. On the way we experienced the African wilderness very close to the way it was 100 years ago.
Even though this confluence point was visited before, it was still a very exiting experience, walking through the African bush for no other reason than to visit this confluence point.