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Road Trip - Day 3: Karoo to Mokala - Where the Grass is Green and the Birds are Pretty

15 December 2014 | Natalie White Book Accommodation

Mokala National Park Sunset

Mokala National Park's orange roads glinting at sunset

With a long journey to Mokala National Park ahead of us, and a great lion sighting under our belt, we expected today to be relatively uneventful. Apart from the slight hiccup that we only had 100km of fuel left in our tank and a 60km drive to get out of Karoo National Park and into Beaufort West…to say we were watching the clock would be an understatement!

It was therefore with great surprise when we came upon two lionesses with very full stomachs just over an hour into our journey. The light was perfect and one very obligingly came to lie down just beside our car and posed nicely for photos! It didn’t take long, however, for her to grow tired of us and a quick bite of our rear bumper (luckily there were no scratches) soon told us where to go! There are only 8 lions in the whole park and so we felt extremely privileged to have seen two different sightings in our short time in the park.

 Lion Stare

Lion Close Up

Lion Yawn

And yet imagine this, not half an hour later we were back on the 2x4 road into the main rest camp, and what should we see on the road up ahead, yep another lion! Actually as it turned out, there were two males, the same ones that we’d seen on our first day and once again they were more than happy to pose for some more pictures for us!

 Lion Male

Lion Male Face

Lion Male Stare

Luckily even with all the excitement of the morning, we made it to the petrol station and begun our 5 hour journey northwest. In stark contrast to the barren thirsty landscape of the Karoo, Mokala is green, lush and teeming with birdlife. The bright orange roads guide you like an orange beacon through the bush, taking us to our home for the next two nights, Kameeldoring Treehouse.

 Northern black korhaan

Northern black korhaan

Sociable weaver

Sociable weaver

African Cuckoo

African cuckoo

Spotted thick-knee

Spotted thick-knee

Lesser kestrel male

Male lesser kestrel - a lucky sighting as these are not listed on Mokala's bird list and are also regarded as vulnerable

Lesser kestrel female

Female lesser kestrel

Ever since childhood I’ve always had a love of treehouses and so when we read that Mokala had recently opened their very own grownups version, we knew that was where we had to stay! As the name suggests, it is cleverly built into a camel thorn tree and overlooks its own waterhole, which we realized very quickly, is definitely a highlight. After almost 8 hours on the road we were happily sat on the deck enjoying a cup of tea and the last of the homemade mince pies when we were treated to four rhino coming down to drink. In spite of their reputation for having terrible eyesight, they immediately knew we were there and didn’t hang around for long. Our ‘uneventful’ day certainly turned out to be full of surprises!

 Kameeldoring Treehouse

Kameeldoring Treehouse

Kameeldoring treehouse view

The waterhole right outside the treehouse