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the Degree Confluence Project
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Namibia : Oshikoto

21.6 km (13.4 miles) NNE of Okaukuejo (Kunene), Oshikoto, Namibia
Approx. altitude: 1085 m (3559 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 19°N 164°W

Accuracy: 11 m (36 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: South #3: North #4: East #5: GPS #6: Our crazy group #7: The scouts #8: Second section #9: Lion Track #10: Sunrise #11: Prehistoric riverbed #12: The suffering

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  19°S 16°E (visit #2)  

#1: West

(visited by Matthias Braune, Modestus Nampolo, Gerson Kamule, Corrie Blazic, Esteban Blazic, Eamon Roberts, Renate Roberts, Brian Roberts, Nadia Braune and Efraim Absalom)

03-Jul-2004 -- The Etosha National Park in Namibia covers an area of 22,912 square kilometres. It is home to large numbers of wild animals including lion, elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, cheetah, hyena, zebra, giraffe, ostrich, various antelope, and many bird species. The main feature of the park is the Etosha pan, site of a prehistoric lake and covering an area of some 4,731 square kilometres. The word "etosha" has many meanings but probably the most descriptive is "the place of dry water" and this is exactly what the pan is - a vast flat expanse of white sand extending as far as the eye can see. A vast inland sea of dry clay, a bowl-like depression set in a National Park the size of Switzerland. Even in the context of Namibia, the scale of the pan and the park is overwhelming.

Imagine our surprise late one Friday afternoon when we sat in the office of Mr Ben Beytel, the Director of Parks, Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Windhoek, and actually received permission to visit the three Confluences in Etosha! These must be the most "desirable" Confluences in Namibia. As the pan is classified as a Grade 1A conservation area, we would have to walk to Confluence 19S 16E, which is deep within the pan, approximately 13.2 km from the nearest access point, a water hole called "Wolfsnes", situated on the edge of the pan. The following week we made contact with Shayne Kötting, park warden at Okaukuejo, to discuss the logistics of "a walk in the Park". Due to the fact that daytime temperatures on the pan can reach 40 degrees centigrade even in winter, it was decided to begin the walk very early in the morning and on a night of the full moon. July 2nd, 2004 was duly selected.

On our arrival in Etosha on July 1st, 2004, we were informed that nine lions had been sighted during an aerial survey in the vicinity of "Wolfsnes". We therefore decided to start our walk from "Pan", a more southerly lookout point on the edge of the pan and approximately 14 km from the Confluence. We camped in the researchers camp at Okaukuejo and were joined the following day by the rest of our group. Our "team" consisted of: Brian, Renate and Eamon Roberts, Matthias and Nadia Braune with their children Laura and Sebastian, Esteban and Corrie Blazic and Soenet van Biljon, who would act as "baby-sitter".

We woke up at 3 am on July the 3rd, to the deep voices of the so familiar lion roar, had a quick bite and left the camp a while later to meet the three armed scouts who would accompany us – Gerson Kamule, Modestus Nampolo, and Efraim Absalom. Shayne was committed to a rhino monitoring program (also done at full moon) and therefore couldn't join us. At the parking area "Pan" we left our vehicles - both with signs attached to side and rear windows reading "Official/Research". At 4.15 am we began our walk past the sign reading, "Stay in your car"!

Data captured during walk:

Temp at "Pan" (car park): 18 ºC
Altitude: 1089 m
Time we left vehicles: 04:15
Direction: just off North, GPS distance to confluence: 14.2 km

First section of 4.3 km: Soft white dust
Tracks: Hyena, Rhino, Ostrich, and buck
Pressure: 1053 mbar
Temp dropped to 15 ºC shortly after leaving car park
2 km from car park: Only slight rise during entire walk: 1094 m
At 5:30 (one hour before sunrise): Lowest temp recorded: 11 ºC

Second section: grass, ground firm.
Highlight after 5.6 km walk: Lion tracks, two heavy individuals, heading east, tracks about a week old; a few metres further another lion track, also heading east.
6:10: More rhino tracks, after having walked for 7 km.
We leave water supplies 6.77 km from vehicles for the return walk.
06:29: Sunrise
Temp: 15 ºC

Third section: After 10.2 km walk grass disappears, ground becomes hard, no tracks visible. This continues for 2.8 km
At 11.2 km we find broken ostrich egg
Dried-out grasshoppers (2 different species) lie around
Altitude: 1087 m
07:32: Moon sets

Last section, following 13 km walking: Start of a prehistoric riverbed, 1.3 km from Confluence
Altitude: 1085 m

8:22: We reach the Confluence following a total walking distance of 14.97 km. Altitude: 1085 m, Temperature: 18 ºC, pleasant cool breeze coming from the Northeast.

9:00: Start of return walk.
9:30: Temperature soars up to 27 ºC, still 11 km to car park.
10:30: 31 ºC
11:00: 34ºC (mid-winter!!)
11:30: 33 ºC, Pressure: 1054 mbar, 4 km to go, it's brutal... - the pan apparently has the second highest UV reflection on earth.
12:00: Temperature stays at 33 ºC
12:45: We somehow reach vehicles, total distance walked: 29.4 km. The group is exhausted...

Epilogue:

We as Namibians who have had the privilege of so much freedom and who have already discovered so much of the beauty of this country, wish to say: "THANK YOU" to following individuals:
Mr Ben Beytel, Director of Parks & Wildlife Management, Ministry of Environment and Tourism
Mr Shayne Kötting, Game Warden, Okaukuejo Camp, Etosha National Park
Mr Gerson Kamule, Mr Modestus Nampolo, and Mr Efraim Absalom, the scouts who accompanied us on this "killing" walk ("in the Park")
...for an awesome, once in a lifetime experience!


 All pictures
#1: West
#2: South
#3: North
#4: East
#5: GPS
#6: Our crazy group
#7: The scouts
#8: Second section
#9: Lion Track
#10: Sunrise
#11: Prehistoric riverbed
#12: The suffering
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)
  Notes
On the salt flat of the Etosha pan in the Etosha National Park.