02-Sep-2002 -- On our recent visit to the Etosha National Park we investigated the possibility of visiting the three confluence points in the park. These all lie along latitude 19S. 19S 15E lies in the western section, which is not open to the general public. It is close to an existing road, so maybe accessible if you have the right vehicle. 19S 16E lies right in the pan. This may be accessible during the dry season, but we did not have time to assess it. 19S 17E is fairly close to Namutoni camp.
Anyone attempting these Confluences should be aware that it is strictly against regulations for anyone to travel anywhere but on the existing roads. Also, being in a "Big 5" game reserve, it would be foolhardy (and illegal!) to try to walk through the bush. We made enquiries at the Park Ranger’s office at Namutoni, and were told that there was an additional problem: The bush can be extremely dense, and travel through undeveloped areas is almost impossible. Obviously, travelling in a sensitive ecological area would also cause serious damage.
So we had to be satisfied with approaching the Confluence as closely as possible while keeping to the existing roads. The closest road was labelled "Dik-dik" drive, and makes a circular trip in the direction of 19S 17E. The Damara Dik-dik is a small buck, weighing up to 5 kg, and with a shoulder height up to 38cm. They live to an age of 10 years, and are protected game in Namibia. The circular drive was well-named: Picture 6 shows a Dik-dik quietly sitting right next to the road a few hundred metres from the closest approach to the confluence point.
Using our GPS we determined that the closest point to the Confluence on this drive was still 17.2 km away (Picture 5). Pictures 1-4 show views in all directions from this point. As can be seen, the bush is quite dense, and it would be difficult to walk through this bush, never mind drive through it in a vehicle. The large anthill in Picture 3 is typical of this area. The holes in the ground at the base were probably made by an ant-bear.