SA’s Newly Designated Mokala National Park
Mokala is the newest South African National Park to join the SANPark group. The 19,611-hectare park lies in a hilly region situated 80km southwest from Kimberley. Kimberley International is the nearest airport to the Mokala National Park if you are flying. Once you are at the airport you can either hire a car or take a coach to the Park.
The name Mokala means “Camel Thorn” in Setswana and is apt for the area in which the Park is situated. The Camel Thorn is a common tree in arid areas and dry woodlands and is an important tree species in the desert biome of Southern Africa. The conditions found in the Mokala National Park are ideal for the growth of these trees. Mokala’s landscape is varied and ranges from open plains to small hills, commonly called ‘koppieveld’. The Camel Thorn provides the staple food for most of the large animals in the Park. Certain parts of the Camel Thorn have been used for centuries by local tribes for traditional medicines to treat colds, coughs and nosebleeds.
South Africa’s Mokala National Park provides a range of facilities for day and overnight visitors. These facilities include a restaurant, two lodges, conference facilities and a private landing strip. Each of the fully equipped lodges can accommodate thirty over-night visitors at any one time. Ten kilometers away from the lodges there is a camping area with all the necessary amenities needed for comfortable camping.
At the moment, conference groups are the main focus of the newly opened Park, until more rustic self-catering units have been established for use. A lot of effort has been put into networking and ensuring the roads in the Mokala Park are of a high standard.
There is still a long way for Mokala National Park to go before it can run at full capacity. Future developments that are still in the planning stages include a day visitor’s area and, as mentioned before, more self-catering camps. Mokala is also working at providing a number of outdoor activities like day walks, bush braai’s, mountain biking and sunset and night drives for visitors to the park. There will also be guided horse trails, wildlife documentary shows, stargazing and Bushman rock art painting and engraving tours provided.
Mokala National Park has 863 animals that are all originally from old Vaalbos. These species of animals include White and Black Rhino, Buffalo, Giraffe, Eland, Zebra, Blue and Black Wildebeest and Red Hartebeest, Kudu, Steenbok, Springbok, Duiker, Gemsbok, Roan Antelope, Tsessebe, Mountain Reedbuck and Ostrich. There are also seven endemic plant species found at Mokala.
Next time you are in the area of the Makala National Park stop by and support the development of this special conservation center of South Africa.