Home News Prestigious 2017 Arid Achievements Awards Ceremony to be held at national park

Prestigious 2017 Arid Achievements Awards Ceremony to be held at national park

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Cream of the crop to represent region at the Kudu Awards

Mokala National Park outside Kimberley was the venue for the 2017 Arid Achievements Award Ceremony held on Thursday night. File picture

The 2017 Arid Achievements Awards Ceremony was held last night at Mokala National Park, which also celebrates its 10th anniversary.

The 32 448 hectare park – South Africa’s newest park, proclaimed in 2007 – is named after the magnificent gnarled and twisted Camelthorn trees dotted throughout the park.

The awards were established 12 years ago and allows for the best nominations in each region to be sent to the South African National Park’s Kudu Awards, which take place every year in November.

This year the Arid Region is handing out 25 awards including: Excellent performance in the workplace; best customer service; leadership; constituency builder; best ranger post; best reception; small camp of the year; big camp of the year and park of the year.

The Arid region includes Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Augrabies Falls National Park, Namaqua National Park, Ai- Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and Mokala National Park.

Hosting this year’s award ceremony, Mokala’s landscape varies between koppies and large open plains, with the isolated dolerite hills instilling a feeling of calm seclusion that contrasts with the large open sandy plains in the north and west of the Park.

The park is an important area for the regeneration of valuable species and is home to, species like the Buffalo, Tsessebe, Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Giraffe, Gemsbok, Eland, Zebra, Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Black Wildebeest, Kudu, Ostrich, Steenbok, Duiker and Springbok.

Situated in the transition zone between the Nama-Karoo and Savanna biome, Mokala’s thornveld savanna, dolerite outcrops and riverine vegetation attract a prolific number of bird species, including the blacksmith lapwing, melodious lark, cinnamon-breasted bunting, freckled nightjar, short-toed rock thrush, pygmy falcon and northern black korhaan.

Mokala being the Setswana name for the Camelthorn tree, this is one of the major tree species of the desert regions of Southern Africa.

This immensely important species has a great range over the Northern Cape. It varies from a small, spiny shrub barely 2m high to a tree up to 16m tall with a wide, spreading crown.

This tree provides valuable shade and an essential micro-habitat, and is the home of sociable weavers.

The Camel Thorn is an incredible resource to both wildlife and humans who survive in often harsh conditions. Traditionally, the gum and bark have been used by local tribes to treat coughs, colds, nosebleeds and even tuberculosis. The roasted seeds are used as a coffee substitute.

The Topnaar of Namibia made a powder from the inner bark that was used to perfume the body and the home. Local farmers say the pods are an excellent fodder source and its use as a good firewood is widely renowned.

Mokala is situated approximately 70 km from Kimberley.