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The bushveld town of Mokopane lies in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Over the years, the town’s name changed twice before finally settling on Mokopane, named after a king who reigned over the Ndebele people during the mid-1800s. Mokopane and the surrounding region is mineral rich with cattle farming and agriculture being the primary industry, however, the local platinum mine is the largest employer.
Temperatures in the Mokopane area can soar into the 30s in summer and drop to close to 0° Celsius in winter with a summer rainfall and occasional electric thunderstorms. For those seeking game viewing, the best time to visit is in winter when the surrounding veld is sparse and animals are easier to detect.
Top 6 reasons to visit Mokopane
1. The Arend Dieperink Museum in town probably has the largest collection of Voortrekker memorabilia in the world. A tranquil setting is the aloe garden located on the property.
2. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Makapansgat, a place of remembrance and deemed to be of historic, cultural and scientific importance. The caves here were once the scene of a horrific siege and many significant archaeological finds have been recorded. They are located in a wonderfully scenic area.
3. The Mokopane Mall has a major chain store, banks, a pharmacy and boutique shops to enjoy some shopping or to stock up on supplies.
4. The 1333ha Mokopane Biodiversity Conservation Centre runs a breeding programme for endangered animals on behalf of the National Zoological Gardens (NZG). The NZG plays a major role in the conservation of wildlife, 70% of which is of African origin, the remaining global. The Mokopane Centre’s animal collection includes species such as lemur and black rhino.
5. Travel to the Nylsvley Nature Reserve, a RAMSAR-designated site comprising a massive floodplain where hordes of birds congregate. The reserve was initially setup to conserve the Tsessebe and Roan antelope species. There are almost 70 mammals recorded in the reserve with the leopard and hyena being the apex predators.
6. An excellent fishing spot is the Doorndraai Dam Nature Reserve, where anglers can relax on the grassy banks to catch large-mouth bass and carp. Expect to see a wide variety of birds that include the majestic African fish eagle.
The nearest international airport is OR Tambo International Airport, 240km away. An alternate airport is Lanseria International outside Johannesburg, 260km from Mokopane. The easiest and most convenient method of travel is by car. Rent a vehicle at the start of your journey at the airport, otherwise order online and collect at a convenient location.
Did you know?
Encroachment of their natural habitat has left the Tsessebe antelope endangered, as it prefers open plains and access to a permanent water supply. The Nylsvley Nature Reserve is the ideal location for the Tsessebe and population figures have markedly increased since some were relocated to the reserve.
Local members of the Pedi tribe are occasionally seen wearing kilts. This is out of respect for a Scottish regiment that heavily defeated Pedi warriors during a skirmish in the 1800s. The Pedi went into battle believing they were fighting women.