11-Aug-2006 -- This Confluence was visited by Brian and Renate Roberts on 11-August-2006. For that particular weekend we had once again planned a "5-confluence weekend" - an attempt to access five confluences on 11, 12, and 13 August 2006, namely 21S 17E, 22S 17E, 23S 17E, 23S 16E and 23S 15E.
We left Walvis Bay on the morning of 11 August 2006 and proceeded eastwards on the B2 to Okahandja and the northwards on the B1 towards Otjiwarongo. About 45 km from Otjiwarongo, we reached the turn-off to the farm "Sukses". We then travelled in an easterly direction across "Sukses" and the neighbouring farm "Doornkom", until we reached the farm "Steenbokvlakte" where the Confluence was situated. It was a cattle farm with well-maintained fenced enclosures and gates, good roads and well-fed, healthy-looking cattle.
We stopped at the farm house to greet the owner and ask permission to visit the Confluence. Unfortunately, both the farm owner and his wife were not home as they had gone into town and would only be back late in the afternoon. We spoke to the farmworkers who were happy for us to drive through the farm.
We decided to continue in an attempt to get as near to the Confluence as possible using the existing farm roads. Amazingly, we were able to drive to within 80 meters of the Confluence using the farm roads. From there it was a short walk through a grassy field to reach the Confluence.
The vegetation in this area is described as Acacia Tree-and-shrub Savanna, characterised by large, open expanses of grasslands dotted with Acacia trees. Another interesting feature of this landscape are the "ant" hills or termite mounds (termitaries). These are characteristic of the northern half of Namibia and are constructed by the fungus-grower termite Macrotermes mossambicus. Fungus "gardens" are situated near the base of the termitary. The excreta of workers is moulded into elaborate spongy combs on which edible fungi are cultivated. These subterranean gardens help to maintain a constant interior temperature in the termitary (about 30°C), by absorbing and releasing moisture. The termite mound extends underground to a point where the humidity is 100%. This is needed for the termites fungus gardens to grow. In sandy soils, such humidities are reached deeper down, and therefore the mounds are taller to accomodate the sand removed from below ground. It is also interesting to note that the mounds tend to point or angle northwards. This helps to keep the mound cool, as the bulk of the shade falls on the mound. It is also possible that the termites respond to the magnetic field of the earth and that this may also influence the direction in which the mound points.
Once we had taken our photographs we returned the way we had come, crossing the farms back to the main road (B1) and then southwards towards our next confluence 22S 17E, situated near the Von Bach dam, outside the town of Okahandja.