03-Dec-2002 -- Our trip north to the Limpopo Province to view the 2002 eclipse was a good opportunity to try and visit 23S 28E, which lies far out of the way almost on the Botswana border. It would mean an additional few hours drive, but we didn't have much else to see and do until the eclipse the following day.
We left Pretoria at about 6h30 on Tuesday morning 3 December and made good time on the N1 high way to Potgietersrus (now Mokopane), from where we took the N11 towards Botswana. On the way we first visited 24S 29E. Leaving here at about 9h00 we continued right to the Groblersbrug border post, where we turned north on the dirt road to Swartwater. After about 5 km we were about 2 km west of the Confluence, but the way was blocked by game fencing. At this point I was under great pressure from my family to give up and settle for an attempt, as it was extremely hot, and it really seemed a bit hopeless.
We turned back to Groblersbrug and drove back along the N11 towards the turn-off to Alldays, when I decided to drive in on a small track which I had noticed on the way in. A sign indicated that the track led to a bakery, but it seemed to be heading in the direction of the Confluence. I had a vague hope of somehow learning who the game farm belonged to for a later attempt.
After a few twists and turns we reached the bakery at the back of a farm house. We were now about 2 km east of the Confluence. After buying two fresh breads and a few cold drinks, I enquired about the game farm to the west. It turned out that the man who was running the bakery, George Bloxham, was also the owner of the game farm, Rhenosterfontein. He was immediately interested in the project and volunteered to unlock the gates to the farm for us. We left my dad behind at the gate to make space for George in the bakkie so that he could accompany us to the Confluence.
We drove around along game viewing tracks trying to get as close to the point as possible, while George told us about himself and his game business. They offer safaris and bow hunting, and also have one or two chalets on watering holes where one can spend a few nights in total seclusion at very reasonable rates (about $15 a day). Visiting the Confluence would be an added bonus. Anybody interested can contact George at +27 14 767-1498.
We eventually got to within 400 m of the Confluence. We parked the bakkie and George and I left the wife and kids behind to hike to the Confluence through typical bushveld, reaching it at about 11h30.
After returning to the bakery and dropping George off, we continued through Alldays (where we had a cold beer) and Musina to Tshipise, which we reached 11 hours after leaving Pretoria. The next day was cloudy, but a hole in the clouds opened at the right moment to give us a glimpse of the full eclipse.