30-Mar-2004 -- We were a party of 21 people in 10 Landcruisers who toured the Richtersveld with the Landcruiser Club of Southern Africa and Virosa Tours from 30 March - 06 April 2004. Our itinerary would include the Pella missionary nearby, camping at Kamgab and Modderdrif next to the Orange river, exploring the Rooiberge on our way to Eksteenfontein, the Richtersveld National Park, a tour of the Sandveld in the Western Richtersveld, and a final night at Tierkloof.
The tour was made all the more of a memorable experience, first of all due to us having to recover a party of four vehicles with trailers who found themselves on the Road to Hell, an extremely difficult pass over the mountains just west of Kamgab down to the Orange river (turn-off at 28° 53.976'S 17° 54.601'E). A navigational error led them onto the pass, which should definitely only be attempted in 4wd vehicles equipped with low-range and suitable tyres. Although 3 of the vehicles were 4wd, they were towing trailers and the 4th vehicle was a 2wd. None of them were going to come up the mountain pass without an assistance. It took us the best part of 24h to recover these vehicles (and ourselves) from the Road to Hell, which meant that we had to sleep in our vehicles, while waiting for daylight to continue with the recovery.
Secondly, the Richtersveld experienced a number of uncharacteristic nightly thunderstorms and flash floods, interspersed over a period of 2 or 3 days in different areas, causing lots of water, mud and deep ruts across the roads. The biggest devastation occurred in the National Park where one of the major roads linking the entrance at Sendelingsdrift to the campsites along the river was washed away and completely impassable. At the De Hoop campsite, where we were to camp for three nights, the wide, sandy riverbank was totally washed away to leave only grey rock exposed like tombstones in a graveyard.
Our visit to the Confluence was a first for all of us. When planning our trip, I submitted a plan to visit the Confluence as it had not been visited before. However, Gordon Jacobsen and Robert Thorne beat us to it and visited the Confluence on 27 Feb 2004. Gordon indicated that he left me a cache as a consolation at the Confluence and e-mailed me a clue.
Finding the Confluence caused for lots of excitement in our group, and with 5 GPSs available, the Confluence was easily confirmed. I also found the cache, a bottle of Two Keys whisky, which I will keep as a souvenir. The Confluence is easy to find, being only about 20 m from the road that we were travelling on. Our obligatory photos show hardly any difference from those taken by Gordon and Robert in February earlier this year.