Mokala National Park

24th to 26th May 2022

Our friends Arthur and Rose stayed a few days longer in Kgalagadi but my sister and husband, Sally and I headed home a few days before them. On our way back home from our trip to Augrabies Falls NP and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park we camped at Mokala National Park for two nights.


The Main gate is at the South of the park. There is also another gate – Lilydale – at the north of the Park. Reception in the south is about 6 kms from the main gate. And the campsite is a few kms from reception.

The main roads in Mokala had been battered by rain and they were terrible in places. The side roads were in far better condition.

Mokala only has six campsites each with their own ablutions and kitchen area. It overlooks a shallow dam.

We were in campsite number 5. Unfortunately, the ablutions for campsites 5 and 6 only had warm water. The solar panel on the roof is facing in the right direction but it has been partially placed behind an obstruction – South African style!!!

As you can see from the photos above the sites are nice and grassy and reasonably apart.

The park has two distinct regions – north and south. In the south it is more hilly and woody. In the north open plains dominate. Both are worth exploring.

There is one Bird Hide – Stofdam bird hide. It was very quiet when we visited. There are toilets present there.

Stofdam Bird Hide.

Mokala is notable for the variety of Antelope inhabiting the park. Apart from the more common Springbok, Klipspringers, Giraffe, Blue Gnu, Zebra, Duiker, Meerkats there are also the rarer Eland, Roan, Sable and Tsessebe. Of the big five there are few.

And some of the birds we recorded.

And a few mystery birds:

Altogether we identified 43 different bird species. See the attached list.

Hope you enjoyed the report and photos.

Paul and Sally Bartho

Kandirri and Augrabies Falls N.P.


31st April 2022

My sister, Natasha and her husband, Dick joined Sally and I on a camping trip to the Kgalagadi. Once in Kgalagadi we met up with our friends Arthur and Rose and spent 3 weeks together. Arthur and Rose were on their way back from a 4 week tour of Namibia.

To get to the Kgalagadi we overnighted at Kandirri Game Lodge – 082 741 4444 – about 30 minutes drive west of Bloemfontein. This is one of the few half-way camping stops on the way to Uppington.

A small campsite securely fenced in. Electrified fencing to keep the Lions out of the camp. They have a restaurant (do pre-order), and many animals and birds like in a small Zoo.

Then there are the lions. The special was the White Lion. Located right beside the campsite and constantly patrolling the fence line when people are about. Getting close was not a problem and if you growled then he growled back or called with his deep-throated roar.

Early in the morning the roaring started. They all joined in and it went on for quite a while – terrifying if you are not prepared for it as the sound is all around you.

Picture says it all.

On a previous occasion he was seen playing in its cage with a large black canine. They must have been brought up together. They were playful, each taking turns to smack the other in the face.

Fence Patrol

After a very pleasant overnight stay we headed for Augrabies early.

Augrabies Falls National Park

1st to 3rd May 2022

On the way to Augrabies Falls NP via Uppington we crossed the Orange River – it was full full and flowing fast. A promise of what could await us.

In January when they had all the rains there were videos on the news showing how utterly dynamic the water was flowing over the Falls. Now at the end of April we expected the water to have been dissipated but hoped we would see something better than the previous visit when there was only a trickle of water over one section of the Falls.

In Upington we filled up with fuel and did some last-minute shopping.

Approaching Augrabies falls we had seen the plume of water smoke arising.

This started to make us hopeful of a major display. But we were not prepared for what we actually saw. It was unbelievable – the volume and power of the water was out of this world.

Eventually we arrived at Augrabies Falls NP about 15h00. The car park was full to our surprise. Cars and people everywhere. We soon discovered that there had been a fun run and fortunately most were headed home. Thankfully the camp sites were not full and we settled in for a couple of nights there.

After setting up camp we had a bit of time to check out the scenery of the site including a cursory look over the river.

More about the Falls later. The best is yet to come.

We did manage to find some time to explore part of the game area. Different habitat ranging from rocky hillsides, river frontage, open flatland with little vegetation except close to the water.

Here are some of the species we managed to photograph.

We identified 44 different bird species while at Augrabies. See the bird list attached.

Each morning and afternoon we took a stroll along the boardwalk alongside the river below the Falls. In some places the boardwalk was through the river spray. Who cared when the view was so spectacular.

Here are some of the views before we came to the main area of the Falls.

And then the power at the start of the falls.

But to really see the true power then watch these videos. It not only shows the power of water but the extent of the Falls down river. Truely spectacular.

A long way from the main Falls. Shows the extent of the Falls but also the depth that the water falls. Remember this when you see the video at the top of the Falls.

Looking up river to the start of the Falls

And here is the video from the top of the Falls. Remember how deep the fall is when you see this.

And one more time.

One more time.

Our next stop was Kgalagadi for 3 weeks meeting up with our friends Arthur and Rose at Rooiputs campsite.

Our time there will follow in a subsequent post.

Paul and Sally Bartho

Setting sun through the spray