20-Dec-2003 -- David, Gina, Jeannine and I (Riël) set out from Cape Town shortly after 8 am in overcast conditions for the 270 km journey to Heidelberg. The weather report did not say anything about rain, and besides, summer is supposed to be the dry season in the Western Cape, right? My (Riël's) large-scale relief map of the area showed exactly where we had to go, but nevertheless we still ended up doing some sightseeing in and around the town of Heidelberg while trying to find the right gravel road. We shall blame this on a road that was closed due to an old bridge over the Duivenhoksrivier (Pigeon's Coop river) that had been washed away, but if we are honest, it was simply because, since we were coming from the west on the N2, we took the main turn-off into Heidelberg in stead of taking the gravel turn-off on the eastern side of the town. This gravel road takes one past the golf course and into the mountains, quite close to the Confluence.
The Confluence is on Ertjiesvlei se Berg (Pea Wetland's mountain), one of the foothills of the Langeberg mountain range. As we were driving towards the mountains, we noticed the dark rain clouds hanging very low. Travelling over Ertjiesvlei se Berg, we noted the closest points to the Confluence from the road (1.2 km), but kept going down the other side of the mountain (more like a hill really) to the farmhouse next to the Duivenhoksrivier. The farmhouse was open, but no one answered our knock, nor the ringing of the large brass bell hanging at the front door, so we decided to forego asking permission and deal with possible consequences later.
As we drove back up the hill, it started to rain – a persistent drizzle. We turned off the road through an open farm gate and came to a cattle-loading area with no sign of cattle, nor people. This was on the edge of a ravine (also mentioned by David Guier in his unsuccessful attempt) separating us from our goal. At this point Jeannine took the smart decision to look after the car, thus avoiding getting wet. The rest of the party decided it was worthwhile to visit an arbitrary point in the veld on a hill in the rain, even though one of them just realized (s)he had brought two left shoes for the hike! It did not take long for us to be soaking wet, not only due to the falling rain, but also because, as one waded through the fynbos, it would deposit its load of water on you, of course.
It was not a difficult hike, just uncomfortable in the wet. At one point we also had to scramble over a barbed wire fence. At first I was convinced someone else had visited the confluence recently, because we saw clear evidence of what looked like other people having gone the same route through the fynbos. It was only when I saw the cattle dung that we realized the source of this evidence. The hike to the Confluence and back took an hour and 45 minutes, but I think it might have been not more than an hour if it had not been for the two left feet, …uhm, shoes.
The rain caused some smudges on the photographs, and in our rush to prevent the camera from getting too wet, we forgot to take a photograph of the general area. However, we did take one of "the spot", which of course we know is a little bit meaningless since it might not even be "the spot", so we shall label it "the vegetation" :)