the Degree Confluence Project

Indonesia : Sumatera Utara

7.6 km (4.7 miles) NNE of Rumbiya, Sumatera Utara, Indonesia
Approx. altitude: 73 m (239 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreetMap ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 2°S 80°W

Accuracy: 10 m (32 ft)
Quality: good

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: north #3: south #4: Katharina and Philipp at the confluence #5: Tolan estate main road #6: Villagers in Menanti #7: GPS #8: Rantauprapat

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#1: general view

(visited by Philipp Funovits and Katharina Gugerell)

02-Apr-2010 -- This was the first visit to this confluence. It lies around 25 kilometers southeast of Rantau Prapat near a small village called Menti. After studying some satellite imagery we debated two approaches, one from the northwest through what looked like woods via clearly visible dirt tracks leading south, or through the orderly grid of a palm plantation from the southeast. The second approach looked more viable because the palm plantation has a grid of decent roads and is generally easy terrain.

We took the bus to Kotapinang and got of at the main gate of the Tolan Estate (that's what the plantation is called). We were held up by the guard, and failed to explain our plans because of the language barrier. After an unsuccessful attempt at calling his superiors and a lot of hand waving and pointing at the map he let us go anyway. We followed the main road through the plantation for for eight kilometers, occasionally meeting some of the workers.

After 40 minutes the guard came after us, asking if we intended to camp somewhere on the estate, which we readily and truthfully denied. He asked us to visit the main administration, which was along the route to the confluence anyway. We were surprised to find a sizable village for the plantation workers complete with schools, clinic and church next to the administration and storage facilities. Things got a little strange at this point.

We said hello to the manager who insisted on calling his bosses in Medan who in turn told us in fluent English that they were not happy about our visit that they in turn would inform their bosses in Jakarta of our presence, and ordered us to stick to the main road until they had organized someone to drive us back. We feared that they would simply kick us out, but they didn't. We hung up, said goodbye to the manager and left the village on the road leading north followed by one worker on a scooter who was presumably told to babysit us. We soon left the premises of the Tolan estate and found ourselves in a village called Menti where we were met with great curiosity. After a few hundred meters we left the road and found ourselves once again in the middle of endless rows of young palm trees for the last two kilometers. We found the confluence between the soft hills without any difficulty. Near the confluence was a dirt road leading north, and we decided to follow it north rather than returning to Menti. A friendly guy who passed us in his 4wd vehicle stopped and asked us where we were going. We told him we wanted to Rantau Prapat, he turned around and drove us all the way right to the doorstep of our hotel. On the way back we saw that we made the right decision. Approaching the confluence from the north would have meant to find a route through the maze of dirt tracks leading through the plantation, which would have been a time consuming endeavor.

 All pictures
#1: general view
#2: north
#3: south
#4: Katharina and Philipp at the confluence
#5: Tolan estate main road
#6: Villagers in Menanti
#7: GPS
#8: Rantauprapat
ALL: All pictures on one page