15-Apr-2006 -- Having been bitten by the confluence bug (actually bugs, see 25S 30E), I decided I needed another one under my belt. Confluences in South Africa were disappearing thick and fast, so I did a quick search to see which ones were still unexplored. Using the new Google Earth feature, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw one of them was less than 40 km away from my new in-laws' farm.
Upon reaching the farm on Good Friday, my father-in-law tried contacting farmers and border police in the area to find whose farm the Confluence lay on. We were met with bad luck at every turn, however, as people were either away for the long weekend, or their telephones were out of order. We decided to try our luck anyway, and head out, trying to find someone along the way to get permission.
So the next morning, my new wife, father-in-law, brother-in-law and I embarked on our adventure. Our luck turned once we got under way, because when we approached our planned deviation from the 'road', we spotted a bakkie (us. truck) just within the borders of the farm. It turned out to be the farmer's son, and after explaining our mission to him, he said we were welcome to carry on.
Unfortunately our map resolution was quite poor, so we had no idea of the mountainous terrain up ahead – quite out of character for the Kalahari! Thankfully, we had a solid farm vehicle – a mid-90's Land Rover Defender with about 10% original parts, which took the slopes in its stride. Blindly following the GPS, we took turns on the farm roads as appropriate and I couldn't believe my luck as the distance to go crept ever closer to zero.
As we passed the 1 km threshold, luck departed us again, and we got a flat. No problem though – three men can change a tyre very quickly when the scorching heat is urging you to get going again as soon as possible! Before long we were off again, and within another twenty minutes or so we were there.
It was a bit hard to drive and navigate to the Confluence, so my wife and I hopped out at 100 m to go and finished the trek on foot. Once we found our target we called the Defender over, so I could take photos from the back of it, without it spoiling the landscape. Hardly as scenic as my first Confluence, but that's not what the Project is about.
My biggest frustration came when trying to take a photo of the GPS coordinates. Try as I might, I couldn't get my camera to record the position. Eventually, I asked Kobus to take a still shot with his video camera, which thankfully turned out perfectly. I only realised later on the way back that it was probably the UV filter on my camera that was preventing the polarised LCD from showing up properly.
Shortly after taking our photos and heading back, we came across the farmer, who told us an easier way out was to continue south. So we followed him back to the farmhouse – no treacherous ravines involved - and before long we were heading home. Five and a half hours and more than 140 km (remember the confluence was only 35 km away in a straight line!) we were back at the farm, sunburnt to a crisp, but very satisfied.
Three more left in SA, and all within range of the farm...
Thanks to Nic Milne for lending me his GPS for the weekend.