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 Post subject: 2 Day trip to MOKALA.....
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:47 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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I have been to Mokala once before after it had just opened, but we were
passing by and never had a chance to drive through the Park.

Having the opportunity this week, my SO and I decided to take a 2 day
trip. Leaving Bloemfontein around lunch time, we arrived at Mokala around
16h00.


Main entrance gate.
Image

The weather being wonderful, lovely blue sky, around 25 degrees celcius
and absolutely no wind. After entering the gate we had to drive about 5km
to Mosu Lodge to the reception. On route we saw a couple of 'Dagga boys' and some
warthog.

Image

Image

The warthog were very shy and ran away as we approached.

After a very friendly welcome from the reception staff, we booked into
our chalet which was overlooking the waterhole in front of the camp.
As it was near gate closing time, we decided to relax and enjoy the
birdlife in the camp.


Image

Image

As the sun set and the moon was rising.
Image

Chestnut-vented Tit-babler
Image

To be continued.....

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 Post subject: Re: 2 Day trip to MOKALA.....
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:32 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Part 2....

The next morning we were up early having breakfast overlooking the
waterhole in front of the chalet, when a warthog came to drink.
Most of the warthog here have really nice tusks, but they are really
shy and difficult to photograph.


Image

After breakfast we decided to take our first drive, deciding on the
'Doornlaagte Loop', which extends into the 'Kameeldoring Loop'. A few
kilometers down the road we came across a Sociable weaver nest, and
were pleased to see a Pygmy Falcon on a branch nearby.

Image

Sociable weaver
Image

Image

Pygmy Falcon (female)
Image

This area of the park is reasonably flat with Acacia trees and thickets,
as well as open grassland areas, and we saw a rich abundance of
antelope.

Impala
Image
Gemsbok (Oryx)
Image
Tsesebe
Image

Image
and a White Rhino with her calf
Image

On this morning drive, we also saw an abundance of birdlife including
of course Sociable weavers, Red headed finches, Scaly feathered finches,
Long billed pipits, Plain-backed pipits, Black chested prinia and many
more...I also realised I need to brush up on my LBJ's as there were many
I could not identify.


To be continued.......

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 Post subject: Re: 2 Day trip to MOKALA.....
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:14 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Hi, thanks Lionspoon. :D

I didn't take inside photo's but this is basically what they looked like. Each
standard chalet sleeps 2, or 4, with an en suite bathroom.
Most of the existing chalets do not have any kitchen or braai facilities,
but they are in the process of building fully equipped chalets....this photo
is one of the only chalets that does have kitchen facilities, however
they do have a very nice dining facility at the camp.


Image

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 Post subject: Re: 2 Day trip to MOKALA.....
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:26 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Snow Zee, there are 2 main routes in the park...traveling at about 20 k's
an hour we did the one route in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
The park is not that big at the moment, but the routes are very scenic
with an abundance of game and bird life which we found very enjoyable.

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He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has. ~Henry Ward Beecher


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Day trip to MOKALA.....
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:42 pm 
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As far as I know Snow Zee, you have to go via Kimberley. The park is
77k's from Kimberly, 57k's south on the main highway to Cape Town,
turning off to the right if coming from Johannesburg and then 21k's in a
westerly direction on a dirt road to the park gate.


2 days were great, but I could easily have stayed longer. :D

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 Post subject: Re: 2 Day trip to MOKALA.....
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:19 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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This chapter I thought I'd add for all my fellow stiffnecks. The bird life
really is wonderful and I did achieve one or two lifers for myself.
I don't have a wonderful camera for these sort of pics, so some of them
are a bit grainy. If I have made any errors with identification, I would
appreciate a correction. :D


Marico Flycatcher
Image
Image

Chat Flycatcher
Image
Image

Ant eating chat
Image
Image
Image

Yellow Billed Hornbill ( much to my surprise for this area)
Image
Image

Short toed rock-thrush
Image

Fork-tailed Drongo
Image

and plenty Northern Black Korhaan
Image

Some of the other birds I managed to identify...Kalahari Robin, Chestnut-
vented titbabbler, Black-chested Prinia, Glossy starling, Pied crow, Black
shouldered kite, Kori Bustard, Swallow-tailed bee-eater, Violet-eared
waxbill, Southern Pale chanting Goshawk, Pygmy Falcon, Acacia Pied
Barbet, White backed vultures, Crimson-breasted Shrike and plenty Pipits
and other LBJ's I could not identify.


To be continued........

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He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has. ~Henry Ward Beecher


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Day trip to MOKALA.....
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 9:22 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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For the afternoon drive we took the more mountainous route with rocky
areas and dense thickets...good area for Black Rhino, which unfortunately
we did not get to see. We did however see evidence of Black Rhino
middens as they do differ from a White Rhino in the texture of the dung
and 2 distinctive grooves in the ground where the Rhino kicks it's feet....
took a photo for evidence. :lol:


Image

We also saw spoor along the road...so know they are there somewhere.

Further along the road we saw Black backed Jackal, Meerkat, Ground
Squirrel, Giraffe, Gemsbok and plenty Ostrich, and once again plenty
birdlife.

Returning to camp we watched the sun set and the moon rise and were
very pleased with all we had the opportunity to see.

The next morning, which was the day we were to leave we decided to
do both routes again and were not disappointed. On leaving camp we
saw a mole snake about 1 and a half meters long. (a beautiful specimen)

Image

5 White Rhino at a waterhole. Once again very nervous, as soon as we
arrived they started to run off.

Image

On the Matopi Loop we saw Giraffe in the distance..a large herd of Buffalo, Red Hatebees
and more Tsessebe.

Red Hartebees
Image

One Red Hartebees with a Kori Bustard
Image

Tsesebe
Image

and the sweetest Zebra and foal
Image

Image

Image

To be continued.....

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He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has. ~Henry Ward Beecher


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Day trip to MOKALA.....
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:39 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Thanks Micetta, Salamanda and Pantera Leo. :D Yes I had heard it was a
hunting lodge previously. I also think they used to allow hunting in the
winter months at the old Vaalbos park where most of the animals were previously.

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 Post subject: Re: 2 Day trip to MOKALA.....
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:00 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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We were only there for 2 days, so this report is coming to an end. One
or two more things of interest...we never got to see the bird, but their
nests are very interesting. The Penduline-tits build a unique enclosed
purse type nest made from felted plant fibers. There is a false entrance
and dummy chamber above the true entrance and nest, we saw several
of these.

Image

Solitary roan antelope
Image
Eland
Image
Ground Squirrel
Image

This park has tremendous potential, and I hope they will develop it to
it's full potential, there is talk of enlarging it as bordering land becomes
available.

My only true criticism is at all the waterholes there is no place for game
viewers to park and relax....waiting for game and perhaps doing a bit of
birding, this is something I truly missed.

I also hope that some time in the future they introduce cheetah into the
park as the habitat is perfect for it.

We had a wonderful stay, and I will definitely return in the summer.
Till next time.......

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He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has. ~Henry Ward Beecher


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Day trip to MOKALA.....
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 11:54 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Johannesburg
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Thanks, Spooky, Micetta, Salamanda, Pantera Leo, iNgisi, DinkyBird,
Pumbaa, TheunsH, Lionspoon, SnowZee, Billyf, PetraJ, DANKBAAR,
Yolande Oelsen, Elzet Curious Canadian and Pam....I really appreciate
all the kind words and encouragement.


Just another thing to note, they have introduced night drives and they do
have, African wild cat, and Caracal which are always a privilage to see.

Other animals I didn't get to see include, Blesbok, Cape hare, porcupine,
Red rock rabbits,Scrub hare,Southern African hedgehog, springhare,
Aardvark (antbear), Aardwolf, Bat-eared fox, Cape fox, Grey Mongoose,
Slender Mongoose, Small spotted genet, Meerkat (Suricate).

With all these animals, I'm sure a night drive could prove fruitful.

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He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has. ~Henry Ward Beecher


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Day trip to MOKALA.....
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:49 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Thanks, Salamanda. :D

Thanks Senyetse, I have no doubt you will have a wonderful stay.
The 'Haak & Steek' camping area is pretty isolated and about 9 k's
from the main lodge, with lovely trees and a tranquil setting.

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He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has. ~Henry Ward Beecher


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Day trip to MOKALA.....
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:14 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Thanks! MG...if you are ever in the area, you really should go to Mokala,
you won't be disappointed.
:thumbs_up:

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