06-Jan-2004 -- My wife's best friend Surona recently moved from the city to the Karoo (South Africa's semi-desert interior) to join her husband Charl on their sheep farm. The farm is approximately 400 km from Cape Town and really remote, i.e. there is no electricity (generator runs in the evening) and the telephone is by manual exchange on a shared farm line. No e-mail/internet and no cell phone coverage. Of course we had to go and visit.
On consulting the map, I noticed that there was an unvisited Confluence nearby. Charl had just purchased his GPS and needed little encouragement to go out and play with his toy.
We arrived on the farm in the afternoon and after tea Charl suggested that we set out in search of the Confluence, which was on a neighbouring farm. After a courtesy call at the farm foreman, we followed a track, which lead in the direction of the Confluence up to where it stopped at a wind pump. The GPS reported that it was 2.5 km to the Confluence. Although it was getting late, we guessed that there should be just enough time to walk to the Confluence and make it back to the vehicle before dark.
The Karoo vegetation is adapted to the harsh climate, which means that most are hard and/or thorny. The sheep pick their windy paths round these. Had they known of Confluences they could have made a path there! We followed their tracks until we were too far off course and then crossed over to the next set of tracks etc. until we were quite close. The sunset was beautiful and much too late Surona suggested that we should have camped the night at the Confluence.
A small ridge was near where we guessed the point to be and we hoped that it would be on the higher ground so that the view would be better, but of course it was just over the ridge. Just before the light was too low for photographs, both our GPSes showed zeros!
We took a few shots, but because of the fading light justice could not be done to the scenery - the Karoo beauty is a different kind and we wanted to show some of it, so we decided to come back the next morning to take better photographs. Fortunately it was full moon and getting back to the vehicle was not a problem.
The next morning, we managed to drive much closer to the Confluence approaching from the opposite side, using a different track on another farm. This time we got good photographs of ourselves and the area and built a cairn at the Confluence.
Two of the adjacent Confluences are also unvisited at present; something to do on our next visit!