The Kgatleng District Council is embarking on an ambitious project that is expected to emulate Mokolodi Nature Reserve. The council has already injected P1.8 million into construction of the first phase of a game park and nature reserve on the outskirts of Mochudi.
According to the Kgatleng District Council Chairman Tona Mooketsi, the park is intended to generate income for the council and benefit all the 27 villages in the Kgatleng district. The construction and setting up of the park is to be done in phases, with the first phase expected to be commissioned by the end of this year.
Mooketsi said the council has been allocated vast land which, just like Mokolodi, already boosts of a variety of indigenous African game, bird and reptile species. He said they are also looking at acquiring more wild animals once the structures have been completed. Mooketsi said the park will have conference and camping facilities and will be open to the public for tours and public education on nature and wildlife. He also hinted that the land is so massive that they may in future lease out some portions to people who want residential plots in forest infested areas.
The park was established under the council’s Trust Investment arm and is driven by a board of trustees which is chaired by Councilor Mpho Moruakgomo. The council intends to invite Public Private Partnerships or any investors willing to partner with the council on this project. This million Pula investment has however not received the blessings of all Kgatleng residents with some questioning the criteria used to appoint the board of trustees and the input sought from the residents. However, Mooketsi is of the view that everything was done in a transparent manner. He said while the board is made up of mainly sitting and former councilors, an effort was made to rope in people from outside who were deemed to possess skills and expertise to drive the project.
The council chairman said they submitted names to the council and the names were endorsed in a full council meeting. He was however at pains to explain if an Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out before the project was commissioned, only acknowledging that the EIA undertaking is expensive and the council was still assessing the quotations from various companies.
Should the Kgatleng Council’s initiative materialize, it will operate in the mould of Mokolodi Nature Reserve which was founded in 1994 by The Mokolodi Wildlife Foundation and is situated on 30 km sq. of donated land 10 km south of Gaborone. The park contains many species of wildlife such as white rhino, cheetah, mountain reedbuck, giraffe, zebra, red hartebeest, sable, gemsbok, reared elephants, kudu, impala, hyena, leopard and water buck.