On the 26th of May we set off on a short road trip to a couple of the arid west National Parks. We spent a night on the way up and the way back at the Karoo National Park with 5 nights in Mokala National Park – 3 at Mosu Camp and 2 nights at the Lilydale Chalets. On the return journey from Mokala NP we did an exploratory visit to Gkhui Gkhui Lodge on the Orange River east of Hopetown for 2 nights before our final night at Karoo NP en route home to Cape Town.
Best viewed on laptop. Hover over the image for caption and click for a larger image…..
Karoo National Park:
We had very poor light on our afternoon there on the way up to Mokala. Some of our sightings:
After a Karoo NP breakfast we drove to Mosu Camp, Mokala NP where we spent the next 3 nights.
Mosu Camp, Mokala National Park:
Mokala is South Africa’s newest National Park and is situated about 80 kms south of Kimberely. Mokala is the Setswana name for Vachellia (Acacia) erioloba the Camelthorn tree characteristic of the Park and consists mainly of dolerite hills and open plains. Mosu Camp is situated in the western part of the Park.
Some sightings from the Western and central parts of the Park:
After 3 nights at Mosu Camp, we headed northeast across the Park towards Lilydale Rest Camp on the Riet River where we spent the next 2 nights.
The next morning was sunny but initially very cols as we left the Rest Camp to do a trip around the Vaalbos Loop in the Lilydale area of the Park.
Then it was time to leave Mokala NP after a wonderful visit and head down to the Orange River east of Hopetown for an exploratory visit to Gkhui Gkhui Lodge which has only been open for a little over a year. We continued to do some bird atlasing on the way out of the Park and had a few sightings:
Gkhui Gkhui River Lodge
Gkhui Gkhui River Lodge is situated on a game farm on the banks of the Orange River between Hopetown and Orania. We had booked in for two nights to check out the Lodge and for me to explore the flyfishing options for yellowfish. Being early June, it wasn’t the right time of year for smallmouth but I was informed when we booked, that there was always a chance for largemouth yellowfish. Chris van der Post kindly guided me for a late afternoon drift flyfishing from a small boat below the lodge and then the next morning drifting down to the Lodge in a much larger and more comfortable craft. Chris showed me the high level mark where the river had been recently and although the river was now lower, it was unfortunately, still very muddy. I did a lot of casting towards likely lies for largies but unfortunately only had one take (probably a smallie according to Chris) which was only on for a moment. The Lodge is lovely and Chris and the staff were all very friendly and helpful. We will definitely be back at the right time of the year (October or November) when, if the water is right, one can wade and flyfish in shallow rapids (for smallmouth) as well as largemouth when drifting in the long slow glides.