13-Jun-2010 -- By way of preparation we printed out several ‘maps’ from Google-Earth to show us the details of the tracks to use to arrive near our degree confluence point 20S 24E. We departed from Maun on Sunday, 13 June 2010 at about 10 a.m.
The first 50 km were easy on the tarred road from Maun to Nata. After clearing the veterinary and police check points at the Makalamabedi cordon fence, we branched off the tar onto a track along the eastern side of the Makalamabedi fence. The track was sandy in places but never enough to need 4-wheel-drive. We drove along it for about 18.5 km in a northerly direction with the intention to turn right onto a farm track running due East.
Unfortunately that track was blocked by a fence with a padlocked gate. A nearby sign had a cell-phone number of the owners but we were well out of cell-phone-coverage at this point. We then decided to explore the next easterly track and proceeded further north on the now increasingly overgrown track along the Makalamabedi fence. In places the grass was about a meter tall but worse were the increasing number of thorn bushes (Acacia erubescens, Acacia fleckii, Dichrostachys cinerea) also up to a metre high or higher that we had to drive through. There was also the occasional fallen branch or tree to negotiate. After about 6.5 km and more than an hour we reached the other track to the East. This was even more overgrown with thorn bushes but we decided to give it a tentative try, moving along very slowly. After half an hour and about 3 km we came to an abandoned cattle post and lost the track. It took us a good half hour to find the continuation of the track behind an abandoned concrete water reservoir.
Another 3.5 km of badly overgrown track (thorn bushes, tall grass) finally brought us to another gate. Luckily it was not padlocked although it was ‘closed’ with several wires. We managed to undo these and proceeded further East for another 6 km on a now much improved sandy track. We then reached a turn off South onto a track that would bring us close to our point. We proceeded slowly along it with the GPS in GOTO mode toward our confluence point. We stopped when the remaining distance was at its smallest which turned out to be 780 meters. We moved the vehicle off the track into the thick bush, had a quick coffee and started to walk the remaining meters through very dense and at times thorny bushes.
There was no way we could keep a straight line but – always keeping an eye on the GPS - zigzagged our way to the point, where we used two GPSs to define the exact location of the Confluence. We took time to take photos in all directions and retreated into the shade of a nearby clump of trees to have a celebratory drink. We decided that ‘our’ Confluence must qualify for the world's most boring Confluence and the photos support this, we think. The whole area is characterized by thick bush, mostly at over 2 metres to prevent any clear view. The bush is dominated by the species mentioned above and several Grewia species, Philenoptera nelsii, and Bauhinia petersiana, and interspersed with tall grassy patches. There are occasional small clumps of acacia and mopane trees rising somewhat above the flat landscape. Otherwise, the area is entirely featureless.