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 Post subject: Canon Mountain Zebra NP in December 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:40 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
A last minute decision to spend three nights camping in the MZNP followed by two days at Commando Drift (East Cape Parks Board) proved to be a wise decision. The condition of the MZNP was great and the thorn trees were all flowering which added beauty to the landscape. BUT we did not quite expect to endure such heat and experience such scary thunderstorms!

DAY 1 (17 December 2011)

We arrived at the park met about 12h00 and were met by a very friendly gentleman at the main gate. He informed us that Cheetah had been spotted near the gate early in the day but unfortunately we never saw them. Check in at reception was also very efficient before we set off to the camping site. We were new to camping, having recently set ourselves up with a Landrover, off-road trailer and Oztent. We soon got used to all the inquisitive looks and some beady stares from the "hardened" campers whilst driving around the camp site looking for a suitable spot. The was not much choice because the camp site was quite full but nevertheless we found a spot looking out into the veld and right at the end of the row which was great.

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We soon got going setting up camp because we were keen to go out for an afternoon drive to the Rooiplaat Loop. Setting up camp at midday when the mercury is touching 44 degrees is most certainly not for the feint-hearted - especially when you are only doing it for the second time! Once comfortable we took a slow drive up to Rooiplaat seeing large numbers of mountain zebra and wildebeest.
The evening cooled off and we enjoyed an ice cold beer before lighting the fire.

DAY 2 (18 December 2011)

SO and I were up early and decided to tackle the Juriesdam 4x4 route. The scenery was beautiful but game viewing rather quiet. This spike-heeled lark posed elegantly for its photo be be taken

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This bloukop koggelmander and a ant-eating chat were enjoying the early morning sunshine

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We headed back to camp for a quick breakfast before heading out via Ubejane loop, Rooiplaat before driving the beautiful Kranskop Loop. We saw our first close-up of the mountain zebras as well as a jackal buzzrd perched on a windmill

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The scenery on the Kranskop loop is really stunning and it is a drive that should be done slowly to really take in the beauty. We we treated to a great sighting on this loop - a reedbuck with her fawn. The little one could not have been more than a few days old

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We stopped off at the picnic site in Weltevreden kloof. This is really stunning and there is a natural pool in which you can swim - if you don't mind not being able to see the bottom!

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By now it was sweltering hot and the weather was beginning to look ominous! We headed back to camp for a swim and some shade. The tent was like a sauna!

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


Last edited by saraf on Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:31 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Zebra NP in December
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:50 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
....Day 2 continued...

What followed was quite scary. We decided to sit in the shade under the thorn tree next to our tent relaxing in the shade because the heat had become quite unbearable. The thunder weather had built up in the west but did not look too threatening. All of a sudden out of the blue a bolt of lightening struck a mere 30 m from us, hitting the tar on the camp site road. The clap of thunder was deafening. The smell of cordite wafted across the camp site. Fortunately nobody was affected but it certainly left us all shell-shocked! For the next half hour or so we were treated to an amazing electrical storm - all noise and very little rain.

When the weather had settled we decided to drive the Ubejane and Rooiplaat loops. The conditions were cool and the lovely smell of the Karoo veld after the rain showers was quite intoxicating. We saw more MZ, red haartebeest and another jackal buzzard.

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Once again the weather in the west started looking threatening

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There was plenty of game on Rooiplaat but we decided to wend our way home because of the weather. We returned along the lovely Ubejane Loop and saw plenty of action. The MZ really are beautiful and I could not resist posting a few more pics of them. We also saw yellow-billed duck, black wildebeest, kudu and eland.

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During the evening we were treated to a breathtaking guy fawkes display with plenty of wind which ripped our new fly sheet off the tent. Nevertheless it was all fun and the constant chat from our neighbour, who was clearly a sheep farmer, about all the **^&**!! tame jackals that he had seen kept us constantly entertained.

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


Last edited by saraf on Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Zebra NP in December
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:52 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
sable wrote:
Wonderful pictures canon. :thumbs_up:
Mountain Zebra National Park is really a wonderful park.
Will have to stay there longer next time.


Hi Sable

There is always alot of hype (and probably justified) around the KNP and KTP. These little gems are always a treat to visit. Granted, there is less variety and possibly a shortage of big 5 sightings but this is not the only reason to visit these parks. The Karoo NP and MZNP are generally quiet (no scrums at sightings), well managed and a pleasure to visit. We have visited both recently and have really enjoyed our stays. The service has been good, camp sites clean and well manicured and there is always plenty to see.

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Zebra NP in December
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:18 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 3 (19 December 2011

SO and I were up early and whilst enjoying a cuppa this fellow visited

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We decided to take the Ubejane loop again but then turned left onto the link road that heads up towards Rooiplaat. This link road provided our Landy with quite a stern test which was a great deal of fun. We saw our first gemsbok soon after turning onto Ubejane

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We were really hoping to bump into the cheetah , this being our last day. Apparently there are now 9 of these predators in the MZNP. A very protective mother )ostrich) crossed the road with a brood of about 12 chicks. They would not stand still but here is the evidence

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We were quite surprised to see white-browed sparrow weavers here. I was told that this is about as far south as what you will find them. The yellow mimosa flowers provided the perfect backdrop for this sparrow weaver's nest

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This chap was enjoying the sunshine and it appeared as if he was "growing a new tail"

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For our afternoon drive we did the Sonnenrust 4x4 loop which is really a lovely drive. The sightings board had indicated that cheetah had been seen along the first stage of this route. No luck for us though! The view from the plateau at the foothills of Saltpetersberg is stunning and provided a magnificent backdrop for these pics

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We were very excited when we came across the fresh carcass of an eland calf which had no doubt been brought down by the cheetah. We sat around for a while scanning the area but to no avail - no cheetah. A few hungry BBjackals arrived to feast on the remains. The smaller creatures always keep you entertained - saw a ground squirrel, a hamerkop, blue cranes and an ant-eating chat towrds the end of the loop

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Nearer home we found this MZ having agood roll in the dust and later a rather skittish pair dashed across the road

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Zebra NP in December
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:31 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
.....Day 3 continued....

We did a bit of "preliminary" packing up and could not resist another drive which yielded a lovely sighting of wildebeest and their young - one had twins

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We also saw eland...

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......a wet ostrich who lay right next to the road and refused to budge - eggs maybe?

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..... the little fellas, ground squirrel and yellow mongoose

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......a couple of our feathered friends, a juvenile black-shouldered kite and a spotted dikkop

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We we were particularly excited to about this sighting which was a first - great spotted cuckoos (correct me if wrong)

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Lastly, this kudu bull was enjoying the sweet mimosa leaves...

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


Last edited by saraf on Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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