Visit the Arend Dieperink Museum in Mokopane
Located in a quaint red-roofed stone building which once served as a school, the Arend Dieperink Museum in Mokopane documents the ancient history of human habitation of this fascinating region of South Africa, which goes back more than three million years. The museum also displays a host of interesting items relating to the history and culture of the town, its surroundings and the people of the region. Set in beautifully maintained gardens, the museum also includes an outdoor exhibit area with wagons, old tractors and farm implements which give insight into the lives of the pioneers who settled and cultivated the land.
There is also a replica of the typical type of dwelling in which pioneering white farmers lived. Going back even further in history, the ‘Caves Through the Ages’ exhibition details daily life as would have been experienced by early hominids in Makapan’s Valley nearby. It is worth taking the guided tour from the Arend Dieperink Museum to the Makapan’s Valley, which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as is the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in Sterkfontein, which also provides a window into the origins of man. It was in Makapan’s Valley that Professor Raymond Dart discovered an Australopithecus africanus fossil, confirming that hominids had been living in the area some 3.5 million years ago. Similar fossils have been found at Sterkfontein, Taung and Gladysvale.
Named in honor of Mr Arend Dieperink, who was the owner of many of the items on display, the museum also displays San rock art, as well as items relating to the local Sotho culture and the era of the Voortrekkers, including the conflict between the Voortrekkers and Chief Makapan’s tribe. There is also an extensive range of memorabilia relating to the Anglo Boer War. The collection is estimated to consist of up to 15,000 items, of which around 4,000 are documents, books and photographs.
Mokopane was previously known as Potgietersrus (the resting place of Potgieter), in honor of Voortrekker leader Piet Potgieter, whose grave is located in the town. Mokopane is a convenient base from which to explore the Waterberg region, with birding, bush walks, hiking, game viewing and climbing, allowing visitors to enjoy the great outdoors, as well as the culture and history provided by the Arend Dieperink Museum.