04-Sep-2002 -- A modern tarred road was built through the Caprivi Game Reserve some years ago, allowing good communications between the main body of Namibia and the isolated Caprivi region. This road was driven straight through the bush, and links to older roads every few kilometres. (See also 18S 21E)
The bush in this part of the world is dense, with many large trees. In summer the bush will be a dense green forest, but towards the end of the dry season most of the deciduous trees have lost their leaves, and the forest is a dry tinderbox just waiting for a spark to start a fire. And we saw many, many fires, set by the local population to clear land, but always raging out of control. The sandy soil is not very rich and fires are destroying the forests at an alarming rate. Picture 6 shows the old telecommunications carrier route where a wooden pole has been destroyed by fire. The wires are still intact and may still be in use!
As with 18S 21E, we did not have time to search for this Confluence, but hope that the information we provide will assist someone to visit it in the future. The closest approach on the main road was only 4.7 km away (see Picture 5), so some walking through the bush will not be too difficult. (!) Strictly speaking this is a game reserve and could be dangerous. There are many elephants around (see Picture 7) although we did not see any along this road.
Pictures 1-4 show views from the closest approach and will give an idea of the terrain. As can be seen this is not drivable! Picture 3 shows a cleared area on the other side of the road, and the smoke of forest fires in the distance. Picture 4 shows a marker at a track which led off the tarred road to a kraal – this was roughly in the direction of the Confluence, but we did not want to venture onto the extremely sandy track and risk getting stuck.