Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 1 of 18
 [ 265 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 18  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Mokala NP: advice, etc
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:16 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 7:55 pm
Posts: 303
Location: Schoenmakerskop (near Port Elizabeth)
Found on the SA Birdnet Archives

Quote:
Subject: TR: Short visit to the new Mokala National Park (long and chatty)


Hi folks!

While visiting our folks near Hartswater, northern Cape, we quickly dashed off for a day visit (4 July 2007) to the latest addition to our national parks list, Mokala NP. What a pleasant surprise!! We predict that this park will become a birding hotspot in the Northern Cape .....

Mokala NP (Mokala is the Setswana for Camel thorn/Kameeldoring) has just recently been opened and is the "replacement" for the de-proclaimed Vaalbos NP, which never really got going due to prospecting rights in the park, a successful land claim and monotonous habitat (from a birding perspective). We visited Vaalbos about 8 years ago and were hugely disappointed, so it was with a sense of anticipation that we set of for Mokala NP, which is about 70km due south of where Vaalbos used to be. According to SANParks, they have done their homework on Mokala and the same fate as Vaalbos would not befall this gem of 20 000 ha.

Mokala is about 80 km south-west of Kimberley, but be warned: at this stage there is no signposting from the N12 and this resulted in us overshooting the turnoff to the park by more than 50km's! Even the Tourist Information desk in Kimberley initially gave us wrong directions. After Mokala we still had to show our teenage daughter the Big Hole in Kimberley and this 100km+ "detour" seriously impacted on our time in the park.

Directions: from Kimberley, take the N12 towards Hopetown for 58 km until you reach the Hayfield turnoff to the right. Take this gravel road (some stretches badly corrugated) for about 20km to reach the entrance to the park on your right. Ironically, after 3km on the Hayfield road, we started getting minute signposts indicating the remaining distance to the park! Hopefully the authorities would soon be putting up the necessary roadsigns on the N12.

The entrance gate is remotely controlled from the main office, which is 7km into the park in an easterly direction. One has to contact the office by means of an intercom at the gate.

The friendly and helpful staff provided some answers to our questions at reception. Apparently the park used to be a hunting/game farm and therefore there are some lovely infrastructure/facilities at the main reception in the form of two camps with semi- to luxury chalets, restaurant, swimming pool, conference centre, bar, etc. The chalets of Mosu Lodge overlook a waterhole where some excellent birding and game-viewing should be had. We did not have time to visit the other lodge, called Mofele.

The rest of the park is still in the process of being developed and road-markers have just been erected (the typical stone markers like in the KNP), but no names/directions have been attached to them yet, so one has to follow numbered beacons for the time being. All the routes are clearly indicated on a fairly detailed park map, with about 70km of accessible roads. As there are dangerous game in the park, one is not allowed to leave your vehicle, except in designated spots. The camps and campsite are not fenced, adding to the wild ambience.

The "Haak en Steek" campsite (referring to the scrubs) is rustic (no power) and has 5 shady campsites with a small ablution: toilet, basin, shower with gas geyser. There is a single chalet at the campsite. We met the park manager, mr Joubert, at the campsite and he feels that this campsite has huge potential, because it overlooks a waterhole and has a lovely, remote setting. We fully agree and are already salivating about something like a viewing hide on the waterhole.

The good diversity of habitats (e.g. thornveld, rocky koppies, arid scrubland, karoo grassland/plains, dry watercourses) in the park will surely add to its appeal and its birdlist. There are also some nice red sandveld, smacking of the kalahari.

We could not nearly cover all the roads and tracks in the 3 hours at our disposal, having reached Mokala only at 11:30 after all the searching for the park. The time of day, cool to cold weather and breezy conditions were not optimal for birding, but we still had a good time, recording 65 species in the park. We have no doubt that a list of 100 species is possible on an extended visit and the park should eventually boast a list of close to 200 species. The high endemicity of the species recorded should also add to the attraction. We saw 68 species and could easily have reached 80+ if we had more time and better conditions. So much more reason to return ...

A very southern Purple Roller on the access road set the tone for some nice avian highlights for us NFS/Gauteng highvelders. Soon after that we were delighted to find a confiding female Pygmy Falcon near one of the few Sociable Weaver Nests in the vicinity of the main office. Short-toed Rock-thrush were wall-to-wall, as were Kalahari Scrub Robin. One of these delightful little blighters foraged less than 2m away in the campsite. Karoo Scrub-Robin were also present in good numbers and we saw a single Rufous-eared Warbler in scrubland near the campsite. The ubiquitous Cape Wagtail was joined at the main camp waterhole by African Quailfinch and Red-headed Finch.

Grey Hornbills were plentiful and we were lucky to first hear and then see a single male Red-crested Korhaan. A brilliant crimson flash and then good views had us agape for the umpteenth time on seeing a Crimson-breasted Shrike. Can you ever get enough of these beauties? The somewhat melancholy call of Pririt Batis was in direct contrast to its lively foraging in the mid stratum, sharing foraging trees with the delightful Fairy Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Ashy Tit, Chested-vented Tit-babbler and Long-billed Crombec in a nice mixed party. Acacia Pied Barbet chose to do their own thing outside the bird parties. The fluttery and somewhat lopsided flight of Chat Flycatcher drew attention to this giant of the flycatcher family.

Larks were represented by Sabota, Bradfield's and Fawn-coloured. To the ornithologists out there: c'mon guys, surely Bradfield's Lark is an obviously different bird from Sabota, let's have them split again, please...

A large flock of Pied Starlings were just another addition to the endemic list. Only Buffy and African Pipits were seen, but there is nice habitat for Kimberley and Long-tailed as well and we would not be surprised if these will also feature on the park list as more birders visit.

The chilly conditions prevented big raptor sightings and in addition to the rather shrike-like Pygmy Falcon, the raptors were represented by Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk, an immature Black-shouldered Kite and a single Greater Kestrel. Mountain Wheatear were common around the many rocky outcrops and a pair of Capped Wheatear was seen just before we took our reluctant leave of the park.

As you leave the park, you once again contact the office by intercom to get the gate opened. The box containing the intercom is locked, but there is an inconspicuous silver button (looking more like a big pop-rivet or a self-taping screw than a button) on the box cover that you need to press to activate the intercom. The last addition to the list before we left was Pied Crow.

Mammalian sightings included Warthog, Roan Antelope, Gemsbok, Kudu, Hartbees, Springbok, Impala and buffalo, but we dipped in giraffe and the 2 rhino species.
Currently buffalo and rhino are the only big 5 species in the park.

We did not have internet access at the time of writing, so we could not check on other vital pieces of info on the SANParks website, like central booking etc. The park can be contacted at 053-2040158, 053-2040164 or 053-2040168 and faxed at 053-2040176.

All indications are that Mokala is on the right track and would become a world-class facility. Birders should not miss this park on a visit to the arid western interior. We will definitely be back.....

Regards and good birding.

Dawie and Sarieta Kleynhans


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: New park? Mokala National Park?
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:55 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat May 12, 2007 8:22 pm
Posts: 4
Mokala National Park is listed as a new park but from the list Vaalbos is gone is this the same park? If i look at the location I should say yes!

Can someone help me out?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 4:17 pm 
Offline
Honorary Virtual Ranger
Honorary Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:42 pm
Posts: 17943
Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?
Mokala is indeed the new Vaalbos.
A few links: official announcement, The general pages, and the announcement

_________________
Arriving currently: The photos from our trip! Overhere! :yaya:

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 4:18 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 7:37 am
Posts: 3591
Location: SANParks' HO, Pretoria
Hi wmi,

Yes, Mokala NP is the new Vaalbos.

Read here about Mokala NP:
http://www.sanparks.org/parks/mokala/

Read here about what happened to Vaalbos:
http://www.sanparks.org/about/news/2007/jan/mokala.php

_________________
Nedret Saidova
Senior Manager: E-Business, SANParks


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Mokala National Park
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:50 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:55 am
Posts: 2351
Location: Centurion
Hi Bosbeer! Very nice to have news from Mokala. Any pictures to share? We would like to visit Mokala early next year but need to know if it is possible with a conventional caravan. How far is the camping site from the gate? In what condition was the piece of gravel road and the roads inside the Park when you were there? You mention that the sites are close to each other - we very much like our space when camping. Any information/advice would be appreciated.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Mokala
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:13 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:52 am
Posts: 1
Here are just a few pictures from Mokala which I could manage to take on a trip to the park on 26 December 2007. The roads were washed away due to heavy rain, and we could only use the road between the gate and reception

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 5:13 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 4:51 pm
Posts: 515
Location: Kleinmond, Western Cape
I had the opportunity to visit Mokala for a short visit (2 hours 40 minutes) yesterday. Unfortunately I was very unprepared (no camera or binoculars) as I had to perform some work at Modderrivier - south of Kimberley. I finished my obligations by 12:00 and as my flight back to Cape Town only left Kimberley at 18:10, I decided to dash off to Mokala.

The first 10 km of the gravel road to the park's entrance was quite badly corrugated. But the last 11 km was in good shape as the grader was busy scraping the road.

The roads in the park itself were in reasonable condition for a sedan car (I drove an Avis VW Polo) - but if I was there with my pick-up truck I would have said that the roads were in good condition.

On the 6 km stretch between the gate and Reception I only saw a few gemsbok. Mosu (where reception is situated) looks quite nice, but I was not impressed with Mofele. The latter gave me the impression of a modern-like farmstead and in my opinion lacks the atmosphere of a typical "camp/lodge" in a National Park.

I was advised by the very friendly personnel at Reception to do the Matopi- and Tsessebe Loops. This was a good recommendation. I saw one of the biggest herds of red hartebeest (with young ones) that I have ever seen in any park. Quite a few warthog were seen, as well as kudu, impala and springbok. I found the springbok in the park to be extremely wild. A single blesbok was seen (very far away), but the highlight of my short visit was to see roan antelope on two occasions and a lot of tsessebe (with calves). I also saw duiker and steenbok.

Unfortunately the buffaloes eluded me again (I have never seen them in Vaalbos during my two visits there either). The same applies for rhino.

I thought that Vaalbos was beautiful, but in my opinion Mokala beats it by far regarding topography, type of vegetation (although somewhat similar) and the feeling of vastness.

Haak-en-Steek rustic camp should be an exceptional experience to stay at - especially if you have it for yourself. When I was there yesterday, only one little tent, with two chairs outside, was pitched under the camel thorns. I made a resolution yesterday that I would like to experience Haak-en-Steek for myself.

_________________
Chris Boucher


Last edited by Stoffel on Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:56 pm 
Offline
Honorary Virtual Ranger
Honorary Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:42 pm
Posts: 17943
Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?
A newsarticle was posted on the frontpage.

_________________
Arriving currently: The photos from our trip! Overhere! :yaya:

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:14 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:52 am
Posts: 3
Location: Johannesburg
We have just visited Mokala, and what a pleasant surprise. The staff at reception were very friendly, even offering us juice when we arrived after a long day on the road. The bush, vegetation, birdlife, etc is beautiful. This is one place I will most certainly visit again in the near future. Thank you SANParks, please keep it this way.

_________________
SandyB :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:10 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:55 am
Posts: 2351
Location: Centurion
Hi SandyB and welcome to the Forum!

Where did you stay in Mokala? If you stayed in Haak-en-Steek, could you please tell us some more about the camp. And if you have photo's to share, please post them on the Forum.

There is still not very much posted on Mokala - anything new will be most welcome. If you have the time for it, why not do a trip report?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:31 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:52 am
Posts: 3
Location: Johannesburg
Hi there,

Yes, we stayed at Haak-en Steek and if you like rustic it is great. They have 1 rustic chalet there that can sleep 4 comfortable wich has it's own enclosed lapa...very nice and a bathroom. We stayed in the chalet. It is fully equiped for self-catering.
Then there are 5 camp sites under beautiful thorn trees (Haak-en Steek). There are ablutions with the basics, 1 shower, a toilet and a basin - one for men and one for women.
The camp is situated right next to a waterhole, so set up your tri-pod, get out your binocs, grab a cold beer and relax. The animals come to you!!
The camp is not enclosed (fenced), so it is best to stay close to the camp after dark. There is electricity.

I do have pics, but am still sorting through them to post some of the best ones (2400 pics for the entire trip). Mokala was our last stop over of an 18 day trip that started in the Richtersveld. I will try and do a full trip report with pics, once I am settled and have some more time on my hands.

_________________
SandyB :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:49 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:55 am
Posts: 2351
Location: Centurion
Thanx for replying SandyB!

We have to decide between Mokala and Marakele for a camping trip in September. Have been to Marakele quite a few times and it is one of our favourites.

We love rustic, but as I have mentioned in a previous post, like our space. Somebody mentioned that the stands are a bit crowded. We also have quite a big caravan - when we visited Mapungubwe in January only four of the stands were big enough for our setup and fortunately for us one of the four was available!

You mentioned electricity - does every stand has an electric point?

The gravel access road is another concern - is it possible to do with a conventional caravan?

Sounds like you had an amazing trip - a trip report and photo's will be great!!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:11 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:52 am
Posts: 3
Location: Johannesburg
Hi Naomi,

I would be a little cautious taking a conventional caravan, as the gravel road (21km) is quite corrugated, not that bad but not too sure if you are towing a caravan. The roads inside the park are good. The camp sites are quite close together and do not have their own electricity points. The electricity seems to be generated by solar power at this stage.

I will get some pics on here as soon as possible so that you can see the camp sites. [/list]

_________________
SandyB :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 4:53 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 4:51 pm
Posts: 515
Location: Kleinmond, Western Cape
Naomi

I will surely not consider visiting Mokala with my conventional caravan. Except for the poor condition of the road leading to the park's entrance, the road to Haak-en-Steek is also not meant for conventional caravans.

But Haak-en-Steek looks like a great little camp where you can experience glorious tranquility. Mokala is surely on my "to do" list.

_________________
Chris Boucher


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 265 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 18  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: anne-marie and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by bosboytjie at 11:07:52 Submitted by himba at 18:45:13 Submitted by BevAnn at 11:49:27 Submitted by Karin Mitton at 08:52:42