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Mokala national Park


Panthera Pardus
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Panthera Pardus

Mokala National Park is the newest National Park in South Africa and opened on 19 June 2007. The Raison d'être for the park is the conservation of rare antelopes, black and white rhino and TB free buffalo. It also has the Quagga Project which was discussed in the Show us your zebra thread.

 

Mokala is situated near the town of Kimberley and is a good stop over place if you driving from Johannesburg to The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

 

Mokala means Camel Thorn in Setswanna

There are 5 camps and we have stayed at Mosu lodge which is the main camp and has only 15 chalets. You can book self catering units and there is a Restuarant at the Mosu overlooking a Pool

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Haak en Steek is for camping and Molefe Lodge has 9 non self catering units and is 3 km from Mosu Lodge.

Lilydale is on the banks of the Riet River - we have stayed at Lilydale too

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Setting the Scene

 

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Did I say Roan, Sable, Tsessebe, Eland, Mountain Reedbuck ;)

 

 

 

 

 

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plus blesbok and black wildebeest

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Panthera Pardus

I speak under correction but my understanding is that the animals in Mokala ocurred in the area historically. A National Park called Vaalbos was created to preserve the the interface of two biomes - Savanna Biome and the Nama-Karoo Biome. The area was also to conserve endangered species. Animals were reintroduced into Vaalbos. Then we had land claims against Vaalbos and land was purchased nearby and a translocation process took place to create Mokala.

 

 

 

 

 

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actually, that's only one side of the story:

 

yes, some of Mokala's animals were transferred from the Valboos, however, the majority are "left overs" from the old hunting farm - I was told that for example, nyalas and most likely blesboks, too were imported by the hunters simply because of the beauty of their horns

 

a few years ago I talked in length to one of the rangers stationed there and she explained to me that they are planning to sell animals that do not naturally belong there - during my recent stay there I did not see any nyalas, so maybe that feat has already been completed

 

about roan and sable I am not sure

Edited by ice
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Safaridude

I doubt that roan occurred naturally at Mokala. I highly doubt that sable occurred naturally at Mokala. I would be interested in hearing otherwise.

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shot in April this year

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Panthera Pardus

The link below shows the mammal list for Mokala. From ths list I gather that blesbok and nyala have been removed and the listed animals will stay????

 

http://www.sanparks.org/assets/docs/parks_mokala/mammal-list.pdf

Edited by Panthera Pardus
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Panthera Pardus

A couple of days in Mokala should give you Eland and Tsessebe sightings

 

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Very interesting Mokala certainly looks like a nice place.

 

The sable antelope Hippotragus niger was first “discovered” in 1836 by Capt. William Cornwallis Harris in the Magaliesberg Mts. which are near Pretoria, this was the southern limit of the sable’s distribution in South Africa. Looking at a map Mokala is a long way from Pretoria so the sables there are definitely extralimital.

 

 

The southern limit of the roan Hippotragus equinus in historical times was thought to be the Orange River although another famous nineteenth century hunter Roualeyn George Gordon-Cummings has the record for shooting the most southerly roan antelope ever recorded near the Vaal River. So I’m guessing that roans might be considered native to the Mokala area or near at least near enough that they’ll keep them there because of how rare roans are in S.A.

 

 

It is possible that roans were once found a long way further south, in 1788 a herd of roans were allegedly seen and at least one shot near Plettenberg Bay right down in the Cape. However this area was home to the closely related blaubok or blue buck Hippotragus leucophaeus so it’s more likely that these alleged roans were in fact blue buck a species that became extinct in 1799, the first African mammal species known to have become extinct in historical times. There are I believe only 4 blue buck specimens still in existence in museums, so I would think that the remains of whatever species of antelope was shot at Plettenberg no longer exists.

 

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The link below shows the mammal list for Mokala. From ths list I gather that blesbok and nyala have been removed and the listed animals will stay????

 

http://www.sanparks.org/assets/docs/parks_mokala/mammal-list.pdf

 

last April we still saw a lot of blesbok; of course that does not mean that they won't be removed in the near future

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Panthera Pardus

@@inyathi - thanks for the information. I did not even know about the Bluebuck till today

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apparently waterbuck, bronze / copper springbok and waterbuck were also not endemic to this area and should sooner or later be removed from the park

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by the way, larger carnivores will not be re-introduced in the park:

 

 

lions will not be re-introduced to protect the rare species (and the TB free buffalos) - another reason is to avoid inbreeding: the park is too small to hold a larger number of lion prides

as for leopards, I don't think they'd bring down a bigger number of roan and sables and thus pose a threat to their protection; however, leopards might use trees to jump over fences and disappear into neighbouring areas a lot of which are still hunting concessions - guess what would happen to them there...

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Panthera Pardus

Roan Antelope are regularly seen on the drive from Mosu Lodge ro Lilydale Camp

 

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Panthera Pardus

Some other animals on show in Mokala

 

Giraffe

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Kudu

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Warthog

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Wildebeest

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Black Wildebeest

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Buffalo

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Meerkats

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Atravelynn

I knew @@Safaridude would be checking this out.

 

How long were you there? Are the chances of seeing roan and sable sporadic, average, good, excellent? What would you say?

 

And a meerkat bonus. Cute little guys. A very attractive spot for some elusive animals! Thanks for sharing this info about a little known (at least to me) place.

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in April we spend two nights in Mokala and did three (self) drives, had multiple sable and roan sightings on all three, at night roans would even visit the water hole at the lodge

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Panthera Pardus

@@Atravelynn - as you know there are no guarantees but you are almost certain to see roan, sable, tsessebe, eland, gemsbok, kudu, buffalo, red haartebeest and the white rumped zebras. We have in all three trips which were only 2 days each, stopping over at Mokala on our way back from KTP.

 

@@ice - how nice to have Roan come to the waterhole at the lodge. We had zebra and Eland at the waterhole

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Panthera Pardus

We have had some great Sable sightings in Kruger but sporadic. Most trips you are lucky if you get Sable even though we know the areas to look for them in Kruger. Mokala is the place for Sables.

 

This herd was seen in January 2013.

 

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Even if they probably shouldn't be there those sables sure are beautiful.

 

One thing that strikes me as surprising looking at your earlier post @@Panthera Pardus is that there would seem to be both black and blue wildebeest in Mokala, I’ve just read the entry on black wildebeest in ‘The Mammals of Africa’ and it says that currently the greatest threat to the survival of the black wildebeest is hybridisation. Matings between the two species result in fertile hybrids which is not often the case with hybrids, while originally the two species did overlap in range hybridisation would have been very rare for various reasons. Now unfortunately it has become quite common because the two species are often kept together in small fenced reserves and in recent years the problem has grown quite considerably because of the number of hunting farms/ranches keeping both species. It seems that a significant percentage of the black wildebeest population may well have blue wildebeest genes, indeed in one state run reserve in Kwazulu they decided to round up their wildebeest and cull any hybrids only to find that all the animals were probably hybrids so they ended up culling the entire herd.

 

Here’s some more info I’ve found on the subject.

 

Management of hybridization in an endemic species: decision making in the face of imperfect information in the case of the black wildebeest - Connochaetes gnou

 

NZG researchers help solve wildebeest dilemma

 

I couldn’t see anything about this issue in the SANParks management plan for Mokala so I wonder what the actual situation is.

 

 

 

 

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@@inyathi

 

you are absolutely right, the stronger black wildebeest bulls chase off the blue wildebeest bulls and then mate with female blue wildebeest; I, too was surprised that SANParks does not do anything against in this thread in one of their very own parks

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Atravelynn

Thanks for the response and the sable shots. I liked the recommendations in the hybridization report.

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Panthera Pardus

@@inyathi, thanks for the links. Interesting reading.

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  • 2 years later...

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~ @@Panthera Pardus

 

I've greatly enjoyed reading your Mokala National Park trip report.

I'd been wondering if there were any national parks in central South Africa, therefore sought a trip report about Mokala.

Your experience there sounds like it was great fun.

Terrific photos! I like the colors and composition a lot!

Many thanks for taking time to write about and post photos from Mokala.

Tom K.

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