the Degree Confluence Project

Botswana : Ghanzi

87.6 km (54.4 miles) NW of Kkhoutsa, Ghanzi, Botswana
Approx. altitude: 1086 m (3562 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreeMap ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 21°N 159°W

Accuracy: 10 m (32 ft)
Quality: good

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

#2: Looking South #3: Looking East #4: Looking North #5: GPS #6: Road and fence #7: The Confluence is about 150 m behind the people in the photograph, across the border

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#1: Looking West

(visited by Johannes Haarhoff and Dorsland 4x4 Group)

21-Aug-2003 -- From August 20 to August 30, a convoy of nine 4x4 vehicles followed the route of the so-called "Dorsland" (thirst land) trekkers, a group of Afrikaners who wandered from approximately 1875 to 1879 by ox-wagon, amidst much hardship, from northern South Africa to eventually end up in Angola. Once in Angola, this Afrikaner community existed up to 1928, when they moved back in their entirety to what is now Namibia. This is a long and fascinating history well worth pursuing elsewhere. Anyway, part of the route follows very close to what today is the dead straight border on the 21st degree longitude, which defines the border between Namibia and Botswana. On Thursday, August 21, we joined with this border from the Namibian side about 17 km north of the confluence point. Four vehicles decided to make a dash for the Confluence, using the well defined tracks (very difficult to negotiate, however, due to thick sand trampled by cattle) directly parallel to the fence (see photo of road).

This border is physically defined by two fences, a standard practice in areas where the spread of cattle diseases is a priority. (Further north along the same border, there are actually four fences as a double precaution due to a cattle disease incident a few years ago.) It is commonly accepted that the lower westernmost fence is the "backup" fence and that the taller eastern fence is the actual border. A photograph shows where some of our party are at this fence at the 21st parallel.

This however is not the confluence point. To get to the actual point, we had to sneak through the border (we did take our passports!) to find the Confluence a short distance into Botswana. On the top right of the photograph looking south, the fences and road can be seen to get a sense of the distance between the border fence and the Confluence.

Why these points do not correspond, is unclear. This is an awfully long border and a 200 m error amounts to the areal equivalent of a small European country! This same discrepancy had been recorded for the Confluence immediately south and had been consistently noted at about 10 random points further north along the same border.

 All pictures
#1: Looking West
#2: Looking South
#3: Looking East
#4: Looking North
#5: GPS
#6: Road and fence
#7: The Confluence is about 150 m behind the people in the photograph, across the border
ALL: All pictures on one page
The border with Namibia is running approx. 130 m west of the Confluence.