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Natural & Cultural History

The journey from Vaalbos National Park to Mokala National Park:

November 1997 & December 1998

Reports were received regarding the land claim lodged against Vaalbos National Park by the Sidney on Vaal claimants.

July 1998

SANParks decided to investigate five (5) alternative areas to replace Vaalbos, and reports indicated a piece of land in Wintershoek in the Plooyburg area, south west of Kimberley, as the best option.

May 1999

The University of Pretoria also did a similar exercise and their report indicated the same area.

November 2002

The land claim was officially gazetted and SANParks accepted the validity of the claim.

November 2004

Negotiations with the Wintershoek land owners were officially launched.

November 2005

The Wintershoek land owners accepted the offer to purchase and the plans for the exit strategy and wildlife translocation started.

March 2006

15 March 2006 – Phase I of the animal translocation started and the first 33 animals (19 Zebra; 8 Gemsbok and 6 Red Haartebeest) were translocated to Addo Elephant- and Tankwa Karoo National Parks.

17 March 2006 – The first animals were born at the new park (2 giraffe).

May 2006

29 May 2006 – SANParks took over management of the Wintershoek property.

30 May 2006 – The submission report for the purchase of the Wintershoek property was approved by the minister of Land Affairs, Thoko Didiza

June 2006

15 June 2006 – The sale agreement between SANParks and the Wintershoek land owners was signed.

22 June 2006 – The first animals (5 giraffe) were offloaded at Wintershoek from Vaalbos.

July 2006

10 July 2006 – Announcement for stakeholder participation in the naming of the new park was launched.

October 2006

26 October 2006 – The final phase (Phase III) of the translocation saw the last animals from Vaalbos offloaded at iNyathi-AENP (14 Plains Zebra).

December 2006

The name “Mokala”- which is a Tswana name for the Camel Thorn tree (Acacia Erioloba) which grows in the area – was accepted by the SANParks Board and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism as the official name of the new park.

June 2007

19 June 2007 – The official proclamation, naming and launch of Mokala National Park by Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.