Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Mokolodi Game Reserve, nature in the city

Being only a stone throw away from the city, Mokolodi Game Reserve has a lot to offer city dwellers. One can actually drive through the nature reserve and forget that they are just a few kilometres away from the hustle and bustle of the city. One can feel the natural allure of the bush at Mokolodi.

Mokolodi can stand its ground against any other typical game park. It has had many world renowned visitors, amongst them former US President Bill Clinton. Recently, some scenes of the famous No.1 ladies detective film were shot at Mokolodi. This has now respectfully earned Mokolodi worldwide recognition as a game Park. There is now a McCall Smith Rest Camp in Mokolodi, and it is very popular amongst many foreign visitors.

During my visit, we took a game ride on quad bikes. During the beginning of our game drive we saw substantial herds of zebras, impala, kudu, warthogs and gemsbok freely roaming through the area. I think the gemsbok is one of the most beautiful of all animals. It has long and spiral (curly) horns, a shiny beige coat and black and white leg and head markings. In the lower level areas of the reserve, there are some waterholes. They are surrounded by abundant shrubs and trees. They host a variety of very colourful birds. Picturesque as this scene was, in the near vicinity, there was a white rhino with a half sized calf, playing in the cooling mud baths. Throughout our game ride, the reserve was stocked with elephants. We also saw some hyenas. We passed another water hole and later saw a pair of adorable hyena cubs.

In the afternoon, after some cold drinks, we went for a bush walk, supposedly trekking a white rhino. This was all in vain. To me it was more of an air locking and sobering activity than anything else. We then changed course and took a horse ride. Our guide was very much against me whipping the horse I was riding. ‘That’s being cruel to the poor animals,’ said Lincoln, one of the game rangers at Mokolodi. ‘If you are going to be cruel to the horses you better get off at once,’ said the game ranger in a very concerned manner. I did this deliberately to try and make it go faster, like how our experienced herd boys innocently taught me to ride horses back at the cattle post.

We went to the newly opened snake park where we actually touched a python. It seemed rather harmless and friendly. Later in the evening we dined at the African orientated restaurant. Apart from their extensive menu, it has a tranquil and magnificent view of the wilderness from its terrace. It has a native stone and thatch finishing which complements the rural surroundings of Mokolodi village, adjacent to the reserve.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.