26-Aug-2002 -- The border between Botswana and Namibia was defined entirely by international agreement, and does not follow any geographical feature. Instead, working south from the Caprivi strip, the border follows longitude 21E until it reaches 22S. It then does a dog-leg to the west until it reaches longitude 20E, and continues south along this line until it reaches the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. On our recent trip to Namibia we determined to visit these two rather special confluence points. (See also 22S 21E)
According to the Confluence FAQ, "Confluences exactly on the northern and eastern borders of a state, province or country will be included in that state, province or country. Confluences on the southern and western borders will be included in the bordering state, province or country." 22S 20E has been allocated to Namibia, so we visited it from that side. It would be difficult to visit it from the Botswana side, as this point is at the apex of a right angle formed by the border fences, and there are no roads which even come close to it. Why would anyone want to visit a point which leads nowhere? We did notice that there were tracks which followed the fences, sometimes on one side, and sometimes on the other. Presumably these are used for patrolling the fences, but they are not proper roads and would be slow travelling.
After a night in a tent at Zelda’s Game Ranch and an adequate breakfast we set out to find 22S 20E. According to our map, there was a road which promised to approach the Confluence fairly closely. In the event, the road passes a few metres away from the border fence at the turning point (Picture 5), so we did not have to do any serious off-road driving!
Picture 6 shows a view of the point at which the border takes a right angle turn. The actual border is the higher fence, with a second fence a few metres away on the Namibia side, providing a sort of no-man’s-land along the border. You can just see the concrete plinth near to the turning point, which appeared to be an old survey marker. This is seen in more detail in Picture 7.
According to my GPS, set up on WGS84, the Confluence was about 60 metres away, unfortunately on the Botswana side of the fence. I did not want to climb over the border fence as it may have been difficult to explain if anyone turned up with questions, so I contented myself with taking photos at the closest point within the no-man’s-land strip along the fence. Picture 1 looks south through the border fence right at the WGS84 Confluence; Picture 2 looks west, back to the corner; Picture 3 shows the view to the north; and Picture 4 shows the view to the east.