Just south of Kimberley lies the delightful Mokala National Park, studded with camelthorn trees. Its open Kalahari plains offer easy sightings of rare beasts like tsessebe and roan antelope. It is especially rich in raptors – you’ll easily see the pale chanting goshawk and half-a-dozen others.

Did you know?

In a pinch, camelthorn seeds can be roasted, ground and used as a coffee substitute.

The tsessebe, say the experts, is the speediest antelope in the Mokala National Park.

Actually, it would outrun almost any wild ungulate anywhere in Africa – not that you would have guessed just by looking at it. This racehorse equivalent has high shoulders, a low-slung rump and a somewhat bemused mien.

It is also on the Red Data list of threatened animals. But at Mokala National Park, just outside Kimberley, the tsessebe is doing rather well.

In fact, this new park is home to a thriving host of Red Data species.

Take a drive along Matopi Loop and you stand a better than good chance of seeing black rhino, white rhino and those irresistible pixie-eared roan antelope.

Mokala was declared in 2007, after another national park near Kimberley, Vaalbos, was deproclaimed after a successful land claim.

The park is named Mokala after the Setswana name for the signature tree of this area, the camelthorn, or Acacia erioloba.

The older trees tower above in a characteristic umbrella shape, but you'll notice a few look as though thatchers have been at them.

These are the huge homes of sociable weavers, each one contributing a single strand of grass every so often. Inside, the birds are shielded from temperature extremes so typical of desert climates.

There may not be many predator mammals, but the park seems to attract more than its fair share of raptors. You'll hardly pass a day here without seeing a pale chanting goshawk or two.

Look out for martial eagles, and a range of vultures – including lappet-faced, white-backed and Cape vultures.

At night, with the Kalahari sky full of stars, keep an eye open for Cape eagle owls in the camelthorns.

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