25-Mar-2007 -- This Confluence was visited by Brian and Renate Roberts on Sunday, 25 March 2007. Having read the description of the first visit to this Confluence in November 2003 by Chris and Karin Weight, "the most fun Confluence", we decided to visit it ourselves.
We drove northwards up the west coast of Namibia from Walvis Bay to Henties Bay and then followed the C35 towards Uis. We then took the D2342 until we reached its intersection with the D2303 (coming up from Mile 105 on the coast). We located the side track leading to the canyon, but as it was late afternoon, we decided to defer our confluence visit until the following day.
We followed the D2303 northwards for about 15 km until we reached the Rhino camp of the Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), where we would camp for the night. This ethnic camp consists of the SRT's Training Camp, a basic facility designed to provide training in eco-tourism to rural people, and a tourist camp with basic, but very adequate facilities. Much of the camp has been built using the ruins and debris left by the Brandberg West mine that closed down in the late 1980s. At the camp we were informed that there were no elephants at this time of the year as they were more to the east where good rains had fallen. However, lion had been spotted in the Ugab River.
The following morning we started off towards the Confluence, once again locating the mouth of the canyon as described by the previous visitors. This was a dry riverbed, which twisted and turned in a north-westerly direction towards the Confluence. The GPS indicated that the Confluence was about 14 km in a straight line from this point. The track was sandy in places and very rocky in others, requiring low-range 4-wheel drive. The geological formations were stunning. After about two hours of slow driving we reached the Ugab River. At this point we found water, game (springbok and gemsbok), reeds, and bushes - an ideal spot for lion. The Confluence was about 1.1 km from this point downriver. We felt it too risky to walk so we drove cautiously into the riverbed. Had we got stuck in mud at this point we would have been in serious trouble as we were alone with no back-up vehicle and an outside temperature of 45°C! We drove through pools of water but fortunately the surface was firm. The going got more difficult as we went along due to thicker and thicker undergrowth. We reached a point about 360 m from the Confluence where we could drive no further. We decided to risk the lions and walk from there, realizing that it was unlikely that the lions would leave the shade in that heat.
We climbed up out of the riverbed, around a stony hill and up into a side canyon where the Confluence was situated on the side of a gully. We located the cairn built by the previous visitors and added our own contribution of stones to it. We had difficulty in zeroing the GPS in the north/south direction over the cairn and eventually located the 21° South about 2 m to the North of the cairn. The east/west location was unchanged. It took about 20 minutes of manoeuvring on loose layers of sedimentary rock on the side of this gully to obtain the photograph of the GPS. By the time we had taken all the photographs we were really feeling the effects of the heat. The stones were hot enough to fry an egg! We made our way back to our vehicle, keeping a wary eye out for lions but fortunately it was too hot for them as well!