01-Mar-2003 -- It started with an article in a Swedish newspaper (Ny Teknik), which found its way down to Botswana. The article described the Degree Confluence Project and showed the (few) remaining unvisited Confluences in Sweden. The web page showed, however, that only 5 of 49 Confluences had been visited in Botswana.
The 4x4 Club of Botswana is always looking for new excuses to go out in the Kalahari Desert and get stuck in the mud, so the project was presented to them including a couple of proposed weekend outings to visit Confluences. One unclaimed Confluence on the way to Khutse Game Reserve near Letlhakeng seemed particularly convenient, so we decided to start with 24S 25E as part of a camping weekend in Khutse beginning of March. All the 4x4 Club was invited to join but the notice was too short and in the end only one Landcruiser with two persons, Lars Halldin (Swedish) and Cecilia Bodenstein (South African) took off to Khutse.
Bought large-scale maps (1:50,000). Since the Confluence is in the corner of four maps and the two northern maps are not yet issued, we decided to attempt the visit from the South. Letlhakeng is situated 110 km north-west of Gaborone and the Confluence is located about 11 km NNW of Letlhakeng near the road to Khudumelapye and Khutse. The gravel road is reasonable these days having been improved by a diamond prospecting company – it used to be a sand track with d-e-e-p sand – and it took us to a point 3 km west of the Confluence and we started looking for a track that could take us east through the dense bush. When the distance increased we turned back and found a track which took us to a point 2 km SW of the Confluence before it veered off the wrong way. We locked the wheels and from here it was a fight in moderate to deep sand finding the way between trees and bushes while trying to approach the Confluence.
It was steaming hot, well over 40 degrees, and the sun relentless right in zenith. Very slow speed and frequent reversing to find a way around obstacles. More than once we had to stop because sweat was pouring into our eyes, preventing Cecilia from reading the GPS and Lars from avoiding trees. The truck got seriously scratched and even the Landcruiser sign got ripped off by an unusually stubborn bush. The last two kilometres took us about an hour and a half until we finally hit a sand track that took us within 50 m of the Confluence. Drove through more dense bush to within reach of the point and walked the last 5 metres until the GPS showed 24˚00.000S 025˚00.000E, altitude 1115 m at 14:19 on 1 March 2003. Took photos in the 4 cardinal directions and two of each other and we both had a feeling of achievement.
Then we got a puncture after 50 m on the way out from the Confluence and without a wheel spanner it took us 1½ hours to change wheels and then we found that the new sand track took us back straight to the gravel road – had we carried on another 500 m on the gravel road before turning back we would have had a walk in the garden. And in Khutse the jackals stole all our braai meat but that is another story.