Trip I (2011) Pretoria to Mokala National Park - 612km, 6 to 7 hours.
Trip II (2012) Witsand to Mokala National Park - 272km 5 to 6 hours.

Today's rides are a long ones, with both Trip I and II through areas where there are little or no accommodation for nature tourists, so bite the bullet and push through to the park and know the destination will make up for the longish and sometimes boring drive.

Pretoria, the city of departure, offers the nature tourist quite a number of places to visit, namely the National zoo, the largest zoo in Africa. This zoo is really something and if you are into zoos, this is a must-see for you.

Others are the Austen Roberts bird reserve and the National Botanical Gardens.

Potchefstroom, or just "Potch" as the locals call it, is an old town with a history that can keep a historian busy for many days. If you are into history, do not pass Ptchefstroom, but visit the museums instead. For nature tourists the town offers nothing exciting, so if you did not stop for the museums, head on to the next town, Klerksdorp.

Klerksdorp is also a town with a history, having had its very own stock exchange in those heady days of the gold rush. Today, however it offers only a small nature reserve to the enthusiast, but better ignore the fact and move on to Wolmaransstad or Wollies as the locals call it.

Wolmaransstad also had its share of a rush, but this was a diamond rush. Some fortune seekers are still digging in the area of this district. Since posession of uncut diamonds are against the law in the country, better move on to Mokala Park and forget any thoughts of getting rich quickly.

Bloemhof is another town which was bitten by the diamond fever. Luckily there are no diggings going on anymore. There is a sizable nature reserve surrounding the dam. This reserve consist of the Bloemhof Dam nature reserve on the Northwest Province side and the Sandveld Nature Reserve on the Freestate side. If you want to break the trip into two, it may be a good idea to split it here.

Cristiana is another sorry diamond fever story, with little to offer the nature tourist, so push on relentlessly towards Kimberly and the Mokala National Park.

Warrenton also had its history of diamond diggings and fevers, but now it serves a farming community which is supported with enough water for extensive irrigation.

Kimberley, the actual centre of the Diamond industry of yesteryear when characters like Cecil Rhodes and Barney Barnato competed for the diamond monopoly, which resulted in the de Beers company which is still today the kingpin of the industry. It may be a good idea to pay a visit to the town by the Big Hole which, apart from real good displays of the diamond history, also offers restaurants and pubs to wash away the dust of the long road before going on to Mokala Park, the place for the first night's sleep.

Mokala Park, where we are sleeping tonight.

Mokala Park is a haven for endangered species like Black Wildebeest, Tessebe, Roan Antelope, and others. We hope they flourish and multiply so that these species can be exported to other parks and private game reserves in Africa.

For the tourist, there are several options of accommodations available. The camping facilities at Motswedi are very good with large showers that provides ample space to have a shower that you can enjoy. (I hope this kind of shower can be adopted at each and every new campsite that gets built in the world.) This Camp offers a fridge/freezer, gas stove, scullery, cupboards and separate bathroom facilities to each of the six campsites arranged next to a dam and waterhole frequented by buffaloes, and the other animals in the park.

For those who prefer self-catering, there are the Lilydale Rest Camp and Haak en Steek camp, while there is also the luxury Mosu Lodge for those who prefer the more luxurious way of spending time in Nature.

To get more up-to-date information about the Park and to make online reservations, visit their pages on the Sanparks website by clicking here.