For a detailed timeline of the development of the Garden see Mokopane through the decades
The Mokopane (formerly Potgietersrus) Town Council approached the National Zoological Garden (NZG) to establish a project similar to that of the Lichtenberg Game Breeding Centre which was established in 1974. The motivation for such a project was to have a tourist/recreational attraction for the area of Mokopane and its people and to protect the underground water supply of the town.
After the lease agreement had been signed between the two parties, Mokopane Game Breeding Centre was establishment in July 1979, the first people where employed by the NZG and the erection of the game proof fencing commenced with the assistance of local business and community.
The Centre was officially opened to the public on the 23 October 1981.
The official agreement signed in July 1979, amended in March 1987, thereby becoming the leasee of the property for a period of 99 years, which expires in July 2087, with an option to renew for another 99 years.
In June 1999, an additional portion of land was added to the Centre with the signing of a second lease agreement with the now known Mogalakwena Local Municipality. This agreement expires in June 2078, with the option to renew.
The total area of 1398 hectares comprises of:
- 13,9 hectares (ha) – State owned land being “portion 30, of the farm Piet Potgietersrust, Town and Townlands 44KS” (Surveyed in March 1949).
- 867,3 ha – Municipal owned land, the “section of portion 80 of the farm Piet Potgietersrust, Town and Townlands 44KS”,
- Included in the 1987 amendment was the use of a 35 ha area south west of town at the evaporation dams, for the production of Lucerne for the NZG. (This portion was given back in 2012, due to a shortage of water).
- 517,2 ha – Municipal owned land, section of the farm “Planknek 43KS”.
In December 2007, the Mokopane Biodiversity Conservation Centre was proclaimed as part of the Makapan Valley World Heritage Site, in accordance with the World Heritage Convention Act (1999) thus giving it national protected status under the National Environmental Management Act: Protected Areas (57 of 2003).