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Cape Mountain Zebra

Mountain Zebra National Park named after this unique species of Zebra

Mountain Zebra National Park

There are Cheetah as well as Caracal, African Wild Cat and Black-Footed Cat

Karoo Landscape

Photo Credit: DanieVDM (flickr)

Gymnogene (African Harrier Hawk)

The Mountain Zebra National Park has many raptors, including the Gymnogene

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Mountain Zebra National Park Highlights:

  • Fantastic Walking Trails
  • Has over 300 Cape Mountain Zebra, a much less common species of Zebra that was almost extinct in the 20th Century
  • Black Rhino - A good opportunity to see the rare cousin of the White Rhino
  • Home to 4 species of cat: Cheetah, Caracal, African Wild Cat, Black-footed cat (Small Spotted Cat)
  • Sleep in a unique restored Victorian Homestead & National Monument!

 

Introduction

As the name suggests this National Park is home to the Cape Mountain Zebra, which can look similar to the Burchell's (plains) Zebra, the easiest way to tell them part from the is that their stripes re narrower and they don't have the gray shadow-stripes of the Burchell's Zebra. Their bellies are also white, compared to the Burchell's which have stripes right around. The Cape Mountain Zebra also has an orange coloration to it's muzzle and face.

In the 1930's the Cape Mountain Zebra became extremely rare. In 1937, when this area was named a national park, only two had survived. Luckily and very kindly a local farmer donated 11 more Zebra. Since then others have been added to the national park from other areas and there is now a stable population of these wonderful animals.

A Zebra and it's Stripes

There have been many theories as to why a Zebra has stripes, the most commonly accepted reason is as a type of camouflage, not to blend in with the surroundings, but to “dazzle” their main predators, the lion. When there are many Zebra moving in a group, it is hard for the predator to make out one individual from the group, it struggles to find the outline of one animal and in this way finds it harder to select a potential meal.

Having black and white stripes also has another advantage when it gets very hot and there is no wind as it can get in the Karoo. The Black stripe absorbs heat, whilst the white reflects it, this creates mini currents of air around the body of the Zebra, thus cooling it down.

Mountain Zebra National Park Hiking Trails

As well a 24km driving rout that will give you a good feel of the park and it's animals, there are a number of walks that will allow you to take in more of the finer things that you may miss whilst in a car.

The walks range in distance (duration) from a short hour long walk where you will take in the wonderful views of the reserve from the Bossieskloof, to the three day Mountain Zebra Hiking Trail. You spend the nights in very basic, but comfortable stone huts. This hike will take you through the parks best areas and will allow you time to fully appreciate it's beauty. One of the highlights comes on day two when you will climb Bakenkop, located in the south eastern part of the National Park.

Horseback Safari

During certain times of the year, you can organise horse-back trails though the Mountain Zebra National Park. This is a unique way to interact with much of the wildlife as many of the plains game see another animal and not a human and you can often get much closer to them than you would by foot or even in a vehicle.

 

 

 

Animals in the Mountain Zebra National Park

As well as the Cape Mountain Zebra, the Park is home to a huge variety of wildlife, much of it you won't find in other parts of South Africa or even in the rest of Africa.

  • Cape Mountain Zebra
  • Black Wildebeest
  • Red Hartebeest
  • Eland
  • Kudu
  • Springbok
  • Black Rhino
  • Buffalo
  • Black-backed Jackal
  • Cheetah
  • Caracal
  • African Wild Cat
  • Black-footed cat (Small Spotted Cat)

Birds found in the Mountain Zebra National Park

Mountain Zebra National Park may be unique in having as many as 20 species of birds endemic to Southern Africa. The birdlife is excellent and you can easily see over 100 species in a three-day stay. Specialities include several species of lark (Eastern Clapper Lark, Eastern Long-billed Lark, Large-billed Lark, and Melodious Lark) as well as Sickle-winged Chat; Layard's Tit-Babbler, Namaqua Warbler, Fairy Flycatcher, African Rock Pipit, Pale-winged Starling and several others. Seasonally one may also encounter Lark-like Bunting and there is a small breeding population of European Bee-eaters in the summer.

  • Ostrich
  • Secretary Bird
  • Blue Crane
  • Stanley's Bustard (Denham's Bustard)

Raptors

  • Jackal Buzzard
  • Verreaux's Eagle (Black eagle)
  • Booted Eagle
  • Martial Eagle


Other Birds

  • Fairy Flycatcher
  • Eastern Clapper
  • Thick-billed Lark
  • Melodious Lark
  • Sickle-winged Chat
  • Namaqua Warbler

Accommodation at the Mountain Zebra National Park

The Main Rest Camp

Self catering 4 Bedroom stone cottages Caravan & Campsite that has a restaurant, shop and pool.

Doornhoek Guest Cottage (National Monument)
The cottage provides self catering accommodation for up to 6 people in a unique restored Victorian home that dates back to 1836 with traditional furniture, copper door handles and stained-glass windows. This house also was the setting for the film “Story of an African Farm” staring Richard E Grant who was born in Swaziland, based on the novel by Olive Schreiner.

Mountain Trail Stone Huts
Very basic accommodation with bunkbeads, a shower, toilet and basic cooking utensils.

Camping:

There are caravan as well as camp sites available: sites have communal ablution facilities and are equipped with 220V power points.

To Book any of the above accommodation, take a look at the Mountain Zebra National Park contact details below.

All of the accommodation is serviced daily and is provided with bedding, towels and soap.


Privately Run Accommodation


Cradock Accommodation

Cradock is the nearest town to the Mountain Zebra National Park, about 25 kilometers away.

Die Tuishuise Historic Cottages
Located in the town of Cradock, Die Tuishuise consists of 25 refurbished Karoo style cottages, each decorated in its own distinctive theme of period prints and antique furniture, to reflect an atmosphere of understated elegance, reminiscent of the lifestyles of the English and Dutch Settlers at the turn of last century.
Tel: +27 (0) 48 8811322
Email: tuishuise@eastcape.net

Annie's Guest House Cradock
A four star guest house located in the town of Cradock, Annies Guest House is both authentically Victorian and comfortably Modern, with spacious light-filled rooms equipped with every possible comfort.
Tel: +27 (0) 82 649 1838
Email: annieshouse@telkomsa.net


How to find the Mountain Zebra National Park

The Mountain Zebra National Park is not far from the Karoo National Park, 24KM (15miles)) from the town of Cradock and 280km (174miles) from Port Elizabeth. Whilst the reserve is only 65km square in size, it is in a wonderful setting and there is large amount of wildlife to view.

GPS Coordinates
S320 08.458' , E0250 30.579' Elevation 996m above sea level.

Map of the Mountain Zebra National Park in South Africa

Below is a map showing the location of the Park as well as other points of interest in the area.

 

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If you are arriving in South Africa from overseas, there are car hire facilities in most of the major cities in South Africa, or take a look at the Safari Holiday Guide Car Hire page, to book a car online.


 

When to visit the Mountain Zebra National Park

It can get cold in winter, mostly at night and early mornings, during the day it is pretty warm and that would be my favorite time to visit as the summers are very hot (November to January) Rain usually falls between January and April.

Gate Opening Times
1 October to 31 March: 07:00 - 19:00
1 April to 30 September: 07:00 - 18:00


Contact Details

Mountain Zebra National Park
Tel: +27(0)48-8812427/3434
reservations@parks-sa.co.za
www.parks-sa-co.za
www.sanparks.org/parks/mountain_zebra

Office Hours
1 October to 31 March - 07:00 to 19:00
1 April to 30 September - 07:00 to 18:00

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