17-Nov-2005 -- After our successful conquest of 22N 27E we headed northwest past Jabal Kāmil and an old WW-II fuel dump and camp. We then tried to turn west and cut through a belt of dunes but the vehicles were too heavily laded; so after a hour of digging and towing we back-tracked and went round them before continuing onwards to al-`Uwaynāt. We camped overnight in the plains to the West of al-`Uwaynāt before reaching the entrance to Kharkar Talk the following morning. We had a look at the minefield that blocks the entrance to this wādiy before detouring the east to get past it and into the wādiy proper. We spent two nights camped in the wādiy looking at the famous rock art to be found there. We also just missed a hunting party from Libya that had spent our first night camped just a few kilometres from us, and we think we scared off with our military escort. We found their litter-strewn camp with warm ashes and the head of a freshly slaughtered goat the following day along with the graffiti they had spray-painted on the wādiy walls warning of mines in an attempt to dissuade visitors. The rock art is well worth seeing, set in beautiful scenery, but it was soon time to move on.
Then it was on to claim the Confluence that marks the intersection of the borders of Egypt, Sudan and Libya. We drove out of the wādiy around the minefield and headed northwest, where the satellite imagery and the old maps showed there to be a track between jabals that would allow us to get close to the Confluence. Again the gap has minefield markers but there was a well defined recently used track, so we proceeded carefully, sticking to the main track until well clear of the gap. We could see as we passed that a camel had wandered off the track and been killed by the mines. We then headed southwest across the valley which was bisected with drainage channels that got deeper as we progressed. About 2.2 km from the point we came across a deep channel that would require a large detour to get to our intended hiking spot about 1.2 km from the Confluence. We decided to walk and set off for the point.
The satellite imagery showed the point to be well up the jabals but before the cliff behind. It looked promising at 800 m but by 300 m we were staring a cliff in the face and it looked like the point was up on top. Jurriaan and Corine had taken a more easterly approach and they shouted they could get up on top from that angle so we skirted around and climbed up to discover it was actually down the other side. The climb had turned out to be more strenuous than expected and at least one of the sandal climbers had bloodied his big toe on the sharp rocks. However, the view was well worth it from the saddle we crossed before descending towards the point. At this stage it was clear we could get within 100 m but could we get the zeros? In the end, with our noses against cliffs in a gully, we were there, but with limited satellite visibility the zeroes were hard to come by. In the end we got them on three Garmins as we had time while the walking wounded recuperated and we all enjoyed the wonderful view on one side of the Confluence at least, looking into Egypt and Libya. The view of Sudan was a rock face!
All in all it turned out to be a bit more arduous than expected but this made success all the more sweeter. The descent was easier down to the west and then around the low jabals, back to the cars for a well earned brew up. It was then on to Clayton's craters, Kamāl al-Dīn monument, Shaw's cave, and 23N 26E.