Today the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk officially proclaimed the new Mokala National Park near Plooysberg south west of Kimberley.
The establishment of this new park came as a result of a successful land claim made on a section of the old Vaalbos National Park by the Sidney on Vaal claimants.
The official proclamation follows months of preparation involving de-proclamation of Vaalbos National Park, translocation of 863 wildlife, a stakeholder participation process to name the new park as well as the establishment of facilities.
“We take pride in this new park that will not only replace Vaalbos, but will add to the treasured national park system of our country. We are also pleased that the local community was involved in the establishment of the new park, and also take ownership in its development”, says Minister van Schalkwyk.
Mokala National Park boasts 19 611 ha and is home to endangered species such as Black Rhino, Tsessebe, Roan antelope, White Rhino, Black Wildebeest.
Current facilities include two lodges; a restaurant, conferencing, a camping area which is 10km from the main lodge as well as a private landing strip. All units at the two lodges do not have self catering and have bed capacity for 60 guests.
Activities in the park will include guided game drives; bush braais, Bushman rock art painting and engraving excursions, team building workshops; wildlife documentary DVD shows and southern night sky edutainment with large telescope viewing. Guided horse trails will also be introduced soon.
Dr David Mabunda, Chief Executive of SANParks said, “Future growth prospects through contractual land acquisitions will see the park growing to some 50 000 ha in the next five years. Currently the park is very limited in self catering units and this will be our priority to enable us to cater for the traditional SANParks guest.”
Nestled between important vegetation units which occur in the park are the Kalahari Thornveld and the Vaalbos Rocky Shrubland which forms part of the Savanna biome, as well as the Northern Upper Karoo which is part of the Nama Karoo Biome on the northern border.
“One of the conservation objectives of the park is to conserve the interface of the two biomes. In line with our mandate, the biomes will be preserved and should serve as permanent reference areas for wider exploration surveys in the Northern Cape region,” explained Mabunda.