Mokala National Park lies approximately 80 km south-southwest of Kimberley, and west of the N12 freeway to Cape Town. You’ll find it just off the N12 en route to Hopetown, set in amongst koppieveld (isolated dolerite hills) and expansive, sandy plains to the north and west of the park.
Mokala National Park is one of South Africa’s newest National Parks, proclaimed only in 2007. It is also informally known as the park where endangered species roam, because of its breeding and re-allocation of animals for use in other national parks and game reserves.
The landscapes are a gentle mix of both the Karoo and the Kalahari landscapes, whilst from the hills drain small tributaries that merge into the Riet River.
Mokala comes from ‘kameeldoring’ or camel thorn tree (Acacia erioloba), a tree common to this semi-desert region. You will find it throughout the Northern Cape – where it grows in a variety of guises – anything from a rather insignificant two-metre shrub to a sixteen-meter high tree.
Local people have used the bark and gum to treat coughs and colds, and even the seeds have been roasted and used as a coffee substitute, whilst giraffe is often seen feeding on the thorn-covered branches and leaves.
There are not any predators present in the reserve and visitors report that the black and white rhino, Cape buffalo, tsessebe, roan, giraffe, eland, kudu, gemsbok and black wildebeest are a lot more relaxed as result. The odd leopard has been spotted, although they’re infrequent visitors, there are a jackal, caracal, aardwolf and bat-eared foxes, as well as aardvark.
Major Attraction: Mokala is home to some of South Africa’s most unusual antelope species, such as tsessebe, sable and roan antelope. The sandy environment is prime habitat for brown hyena, suricate, bat-eared fox, aardwolf and the very elusive aardvark.
Wildlife: Mokala is not a prime wildlife destination. There is a good variety of animals, but numbers are still increasing, and wildlife is still settling into the new environment since they have been relocated from Vaalbos National Park. Some of the species you might encounter are both rhino species, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and black wildebeest.
Getting There: To get to Mokala, you will most likely enter South Africa by flying into O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg or Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town. You can hire a car and drive from there or take a connecting flight to Kimberley Airport (KIM).
The park is a convenient stopover 84km/7mi outside the town of Kimberley en route between Johannesburg and Cape Town. The distance from Johannesburg is approximately 500km/310mi and from Cape Town 1,000km/620mi. Visitors to Mokala generally drive there on their own, and the park is accessible with an ordinary 2WD car. However, a 4WD might be best if you plan on visiting during the rainy season.
Where To Stay: SANParks Motswedi Camp Site is situated in the Mokala National Park. Mokala is SANParks
SANParks Haak-en-Steek Rest Camp is situated in the Mokala National Park. Mokala is SANParks