Bokpoort Pass is synonymous with famous South African writer, poet and ethnologist, Eugène Marais, who lived at Doornhoek near Mookgophong for several years. At Doornhoek, Marais did his notable work on termites and baboons; and it was up this pass that he first observed and collected specimens of an extremely rare cycad which was posthumously named in his honour – Encephlalartos eugene-maraisii. Presently these very rare cycads are only found in two localities in the Waterberg.
Bokpoort Pass is rich in history as well as fauna and flora. As is the case with the majority of passes in the Waterberg, a crystal clear stream runs alongside the road.
Arend Dieperink Museum
Located at 97 Thabo Mbeki drive, Mokopane, this graceful stone building was originally built as a school in 1917. The museum portrays the history of Vredenburg (which became Pieter Potgietersrus and then Potgietersrus and now Mokopane) and the surrounding areas from the earliest times, including the Anglo-Boer war, and houses a valuable cultural and historical collection of Sotho and Voortrekker artefacts. It portrays the history of the town, from the ape-man at Makapansgat (Makapan’s Cave) to bushman drawings and early activities in the area. Inside are a few of the incredible archaeological finds discovered at Makapan’s Cave including the three-million-year-old human predecessor, Australothipicus africanus. It also displays valuable artefacts which include dinosaur fossil material, and the replica of a traditional ‘bosveldhuis’ in which the white South African farmers lived.
Set in beautifully maintained gardens, the museum also includes an outdoor exhibit area with wagons, old tractors and farm implements which give insight into the lives of the pioneers who settled and cultivated the land. Piet Potgieters grave can also be found here.
It is worth taking the guided tour from the Arend Dieperink Museum to the Makapans Valley, which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as is the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in Sterkfontein, which also provides a window into the origins of man.