17-Jul-2004 -- We left Walvis Bay at 05:30, final destination for the day being Ongwediva. This roughly 900 km long trip would have seen us reaching Ongwediva by lunchtime, perhaps early afternoon. But being the crazy guys that we are, we looked for an "easy" Confluence and decided on 18S 18E.
Leaving Tsumeb in a northern direction, past the small settlement called Tsintsabis, we reached the "Mangetti block" - this being the end of the good gravel road. After consulting the 1:250,000 map, we easily found the track going straight north on the 18ºE longitude. This track forms the regional border between Kavango and Oshikoto regions and continues north until it reaches the big C45. All we had to do now was to head straight north until we reached the 18ºE latitude. According to the GPS this Confluence was still 80 km north. A "piece of cake", but then we encountered the thick sand...
We stopped the Isuzu to lock the free-wheel hubs, engaged 4-wheel drive and continued. Robert was driving at this stage and found the sand to be extremely difficult. The GPS gave us an estimated travelling time of almost three hours to the Confluence; we were going real slowly! It was quite a laugh when we realised that the hand brake was still engaged...
At 15:00, after two hours of heavy sand, we reached the Confluence. We found the exact coordinates a few metres to the east of the track, therefore in the Kavango region, at an altitude of 1155m. The bushveld scenery, very typical for the Kavango, Baikiaea plurijuga - Pterocarpus antunesii woodland.
We continued north towards the C45, not exactly sure how far to go and how the track would continue. It was also obvious that this track is seldom travelled. It is for sure a track that should preferably be travelled by at least two vehicles. Great care needs to be taken not to puncture the vehicles' tyres by driving over sharp roots, left because of the recent clearing operation. Another hazard we encountered were endless amounts of steel wire, lining the track.
The beautiful woodland continued, with indigenous trees such as the Zambezi teak, Sand corkwood, Carrot tree, Marula, and Wild teak. After another 42.3 km we eventually reached the C45. The condition of the track along the 18ºE longitude reminded me somewhat of the famous 55 km between Khaudum and Katere, only that this track had been a total of 120 km long!
Our "supposed to be lunchtime" destination in Ongwediva was finally reached at 19h30, but we had visited another Confluence, Robert's first.