02-Sep-2002 -- As I was going to Cape Town for a visit, I realised that I would be relatively close to an unvisited confluence point, 130 km north of Cape Town.
I travelled north along the West Coast on the R27 from Cape Town through an area known as the Swartland. The Swartland is well known for its unspoilt seashores, the quality of its Shiraz and Pinotage wines and its wildflower splendour, which covers the veld and dunes during spring in August and September. On the way to Saldanha from the R27, my GPS guided me left on a dirt road at Saldanha Steel. I found the point at the end of the 861 km long Sishen-Saldanha railway system.
The Sishen-Saldanha project was launched in 1976 to export 35 million tons of iron ore, mined at Sishen to the north-east of Saldanha Bay, being the closest port to the mine. The bay is 10 km wide. It is ideally suited for loading freight ships from all over the world, as it is larger and safer than Table Bay at Cape Town. Joris van Spilbergen named the bay after a Portuguese explorer, Antonio de Saldanha, who was wounded there in 1503 by Hottentots.
The bay is also one of the few localities where a certain type of seaweed, which is used during the production of chocolate, grows in abundance.
The exact point is located next to the perimeter fence on the outside of the ore-loading depot, as shown on the picture of me standing next to the fence. To the east of the point is a large sand dune. The pictures showing the landscape north, south and west of the point were taken from the sand dune to give a better view of the area. The picture to the west has a circle showing the actual position of the confluence point.