01-Aug-2004 -- Abuja, August 1st 2004, Sunday morning 6:30 am, and it was just a perfect day to visit another confluence point. This time we set off to the Confluence 10N 7E. Yes, dear friends, it's Helmut once again who is behind it all and his fan club is growing. Participants this time were Helmut, Jimmy, Armin, and Babsi.
Preparations, more or less, already began on Saturday. Motor(dirt)bikes and one quad had to be loaded, food and drinks got packed, minds set. Jimmy had to borrow equipment since he will be leaving Abuja Monday evening and his belongings were already packed. Nevertheless, he did not want to miss this trip.
At 6:30 am we started in two cars with a slight detour from Abuja to the Gurara Waterfalls (09°20'01"N 7°00'14"E) to have a breakfast picnic there. This time of the year (rainy season), the river carries a lot of water and it is very impressive. An excellent beginning of such a day. We carried on towards Minna taking the Minna eastern by-pass onto the Minna-Kaduna road, which has only been built as far as Sarkin Pawa. We off-loaded the bikes outside of the village which always attracts a lot of people, and in no time we were surrounded by locals watching these "oyinbo" curiously.
Babsi was all excited because she was pointed out and made responsible for the GPS navigation. But there was nothing to be worried about, since Helmut only trusts himself and was prepared with maps and a route set in his mind already. Despite that, he will always find his way in the African bush.
So, and off we went. We left Sarkin Pawa and its so-called streets behind us following now laterite tracks and winding beaten paths through bush and maize fields connecting the small villages. On the way we had to cross a stream, which luckily was no more than 30 cm deep. Nevertheless, Babsi did her favourite trick and nearly landed into the water. Just before Dan Gunu we stopped at a place where the villagers are prospecting for tourmalines. What a job and what a warm welcome we received from the miners. They informed us that they had been prospecting at this spot for nine months. The next stop was at a Fulani kraal where they were celebrating the birth of a child. Unfortunately, we had to decline their offer of eating with them and carried onto our destination. The journey is even more interesting than the destination.
By 12:30 we closed in on our destination. The GPS showed we were within a 400-meter range of the Confluence - at this point something unexpected and funny happened. Up to this moment Babsi had the GPS and had been giving the general directions, but Armin decided to pull out his own GPS and disappeared into the bush. The rest of us carried on as before, and in the 30-meter range we had to get off the bikes because a maize field was right in front of us. Off we walked, watching the GPS display hopefully showing soon all these little zeros. Not before long we managed to arrive at the point of confluence. It was a lot of fun and we had lots of laughs. Armin arrived some 20 minutes later, with a nasty scratch on his face after encountering a friendly thorn bush and a bruised ego! After the congratulations and photos were taken, we prepared to head back to the parking place of the cars.
On the way to Sarkin Pawa Helmut had to deal with a flat back tyre - but nothing to worry about, this was just a minor problem that he managed easily. After a fantastic day we were back in Abuja by 6 pm.