18-Mar-2006 -- On Saturday, 18 March 2006 Dave Ringwood and John Wightman left Johannesburg at 6:00 a.m. and headed west through Lichtenburg and Mafeking in NW province. Our objective was to knock out the last three Confluences in this province. We turned off the main tar road to Vryburg along the R375, a nice gravel road which took us to within 10 km of the point. We stopped outside the farm "West End" and reckoned it must be in there.
At the main house we met Mrs Swanepoel who welcomed us warmly and introduced us to her father-in-law who pulled out a 1917 map of the area and immediately pinpointed the spot, just in Thornwood, the adjacent farm. Tienie Swanepoel then arrived and offered to drive us to the spot. Great, because the road was very sandy and we were riding a BMW R80GS and 1150GS, rather heavy bikes for this type of work. Along the way we passed two tortoises and opened numerous cattle gates. This area is undoubtedly cattle country, with several fattened Brahmans grazing nearby.
Then we were driving north along the perimeter fence of Wilton where we were told Thomas Baines was attacked by the rampant Ndebele King Mzilikazi in 1836. Nearby the first shots of the Anglo-Boer War were fired. Soon we arrived at the fence of Thornwood and an old Tswana man (just like the third bloke from the boet and swaer ads) stood up and flattened the fence. We drove another 2 km and parked within 120 m of the Confluence. A two minute walk took us there to where a defiant sickle bush stands on the site.
Tienie showed us his whole farm, which could be seen from this quite high point, the only signs of human habitation being the jojo tank sticking up above the treeline and the distant Kalgold gold mine tailings dump. He explained that we were on the eastern rim of the Kalahari Desert (not a true desert because it has quite wet Januaries) and the ground is overlain by a couple of metres of sand. Despite the excellent rains this year, the Molopo river (international border with Botswana) is still not flowing. The Swanepoels wanted to invite us for lunch but we explained that we still had to visit 26S 24E.