The town of Mookgophong, known until recently as Naboomspruit, dates back to the late 1800s when settlement developed around the farm Naboomspruit. The town was first named after the profusion of “naboom” or candelabra (Euphorbia ingens) trees growing on the banks of a nearby stream (“spruit” in Afrikaans). The humble village developed into a bustling town in 1910 as a result of the discovery of tin on a farm in the district. This event led to a tin rush and platinum was subsequently discovered. The town of Naboomspruit has changed its name to Mookgophong, which is considered the essence of a South African ‘dorp’.
The main attraction of Mookgophoong lies in its clean, tree-lined streets and rural peacefulness. The town has become a popular tourist stopover, owing to the many holiday resorts that have been developed around the hot sulphur springs in the nearby hills.
Adventure And Sport
Angling: The Frikkie Geyser Dam is a popular angling spot.
Hiking: The Sable Valley Hiking Trail is a two-day, 24-km trail. It starts at the farm Naauwpoort, 20 km south of Mookgophong and is rated as an “easy to average” walk. The route can accommodate quite large groups and leads past lovely rock pools and gorges, through valleys, over mountain streams surrounded by indigenous forests. Birdsong accompanies hikers on their walk and game animals watch them shyly from a safe distance.
Hunting: The area offers excellent opportunities for game and bird-hunting. There are various game ranches, which provide excellent facilities for trophy hunting.
Entertainment And Shopping
Mineral Springs and Holiday Resorts: Many people believe in the healing powers of the mineral springs in the area and regularly come to holiday resorts, such as Constantia Mineral Spa and Bothania Hills.
Fauna And Flora
Doorndraai Dam Nature Reserve: The reserve lies approximately 50 km north of Mookgophong. Its main attraction is the 442-ha Doorndraai irrigation dam on the Sterk (“strong”) River. The dam contains a variety of fish and is an angler’s dream. However, this 7 299-ha reserve also specialises in the protection of rare species of animals, specifically the tsessebe and sable antelope. In addition to the other species of antelope, giraffes and leopards that also live here, 290 species of birds, including fish eagles, Wahlberg’s eagles, black eagles, martial eagles and a variety of hawks, also call this reserve home. The Doorndraai Dam Nature Resort has two entry points, one on the road from Mookgophong and another on the road from Mokopane (Potgietersrus).
Entabeni Game Reserve: Tour the reserve in the company of experienced game rangers for an invaluable wildlife experience. The magnificent 8 000-ha game reserve offers spectacular views and also boasts the Big Five. Its very comfortable accommodation, conference, entertainment and restaurant facilities will only make you want to stay longer.
Inyathi Nature Reserve: Inyathi allows its visitors to enjoy the tranquil beauty of the Waterberg while it caters to their every need.
Malati Park Nature Reserve: The privately owned reserve lies 14 km west of town and consists of some 1 200 ha of rolling terrain and mixed bushveld habitat. There is also an extensive fish hatchery, which specialises in carp. Animals in the reserve include white rhino, eland, kudu and sable antelope. The majestic fish eagle can also be seen here.
Nylsvley Nature Reserve: Some 20 km south of the town lies one of the largest natural “vleis” (swamps or marshes) in Limpopo and one of the most important swamp areas in the country. The 4 000 ha of this wetland reserve is enclosed by a 16 000-hectare floodplain. The reserve’s chief attraction is its birds — more than 400 species that include both aquatic and land birds. The Nyl River flood plain supports the largest (and in some cases, the only) breeding colonies of great white egret, lesser moorhen, lesser gallinule, squacco heron, bittern and others. Breeding time is during the spring months (September/October) but most waterbirds can also be viewed later in the year (December to April). Animals such as giraffe, leopard, kudu, impala and smaller antelopes can also be seen. Roan and tsessebe antelope have been reintroduced to the area.
Sambane Game Lodge: Sambane, just over 16 km from town, owes its name to the shy antbear which can best be seen in the late afternoons searching for its favourite food, termites. Various other species of game can also be seen here and the game drives are popular with visitors. Luxury accommodation is available and the hiking and mountain-biking trails and horse-riding will keep the entire family occupied.
Ubumanzi Game Lodge: The lodge can be explored via its hiking trails, which lead to fountains high in the mountains or to the fern forest. Bird-watching is another popular attraction and the accommodation facilities make the stay comfortable. Game drives are also on offer.
Witwater (White Water) Game Reserve: The Phalala River sustains the lovely indigenous vegetation of the Witwater Game Reserve. Its excellent facilities make it the ideal holiday destination.
History And Architecture
Anglo-Boer War Memorial: A memorial nearby the Nylsvley Nature Reserve marks the site where a train became derailed during the Anglo-Boer War and many Boer soldiers were killed.
Schlesinger Grave: The grave overlooks the town and is the final resting-place of the renowned founder of nearby Zebediela,one of the largest citrus estates in the world.
Zebediela: Zebediela is the largest citrus estate in the world. Zebedials was a Ndebele chief in the area.