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 Post subject: MZNP - a stormy start to 2014
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:45 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Grahamstown
We arrived at MZNP on 31 December knowing that the next five days would be hot, we expected the campsite to be full but as usual we could not wait to get to this beautiful little park. The park was looking absolutely magnificent after the abundant summer rains that had fallen, the animals were in good condition and there we plenty of young antelope around.

Once again the staff were friendly, everything was neat and tidy despite the fact that the park was virtually fully booked and once again we immediately got the feeling that we were in a really first class SAN Park. Well done to all the staff that worked so hard over the festive season to ensure that the MZNP lived up to its reputation. It is no wonder that MZNP won top awards last year.

31 December 2013

We arrived at the park gates at about 14h00 having taken a slow amble from Grahamstown. We are indeed fortunate that this park is reasonably close. The check in at the gate went smoothly and as always the guy at the gate was full of smiles!

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It was already hot and the prospect of having to set up camp was indeed a daunting one. The camp was full as expected and of course the sites with the most shade were already taken. As we circled around the campsite there were a number of sympathetic glances coming our way! Anyway we settled for site number 24 which is the second one from the top on the perimeter (next to the Hon Ranger site). Not much shade but we could make provision for this. We took it slow and eventually had ourselves comfortable by mid afternoon which gave us enough time to go for a short game drive. We decided to do the Ubejane route, up the link road to Rooiplaat and down the mountain back to camp. It was no small surprise that the first guys to pose for us were the Mountain Zebras. They was certainly a cornucopia of Zebra around this year so I hope all the Zebra pics don't bore you to death! They are just so photogenic.

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Soon we encountered these handsome Kudu bulls

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Kudu are without a doubt my favourite antelope. Just before turning up the Link Road we saw more Mountain Zebra - this scene is just so typical of MZNP

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By now the thunder weather was beginning to look ominous in the west which added to a wonderful atmosphere as we drove up onto Rooiplaat. The was even a hint of a rainbow

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The sun peeped out from behind the thunder clouds providing exquisite lighting for this photograph

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There was not much more to report on as we headed down the mountain back to camp. Being Old Years Eve we expected a bit of a racket in the camp but it was not to be which was great. Everybody kept to themselves and there was an eerie quiet around the camp - the only noise being the constant rumble of thunder in the distance and some thunderous snoring from a tent nearby - clearly he had miscalculated the evening. We decided to do a nice slow mutton pot and had no intention of seeing the new year in. Well my ego took a serious dent because I (the chef and self acclaimed potjie guru) somehow contrived to let the fire go out which meant that SO and I eventually were sitting enjoying our potjie at midnight! The delay with the pot also forced me to push my capacity for the good Merlot to the limit. So what do you know - us old farts saw the new year in!

_________________
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: MZNP - a stormy start to 2014
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:41 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
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Location: Bellville, Cape Town
canon, thank you for sharing your MZNP experiences through this wonderful TR. :clap:

I have visited the park a few years ago and it definitely one of my favourites. Those zebras are just so beautiful to photograph. Then that thunderstorms providing extra atmosphere....lovely. :dance: :dance: :dance:
Look forward to the next episode. :thumbs_up:

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Trip Reports: Kruger NP, West Coast NP, Addo NP, Garden Route - Storms River & Wildernis


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 Post subject: Re: MZNP - a stormy start to 2014
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:30 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:44 pm
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Location: Germany
Great start and lovely pictures canon. :thumbs_up:
Last year in the beginning of December we had a day visit at MZNP.
Those mountain zebras are so wonderful. You really can't stop taking pictures of those photogenic beauties.
Thanks for sharing your adventures.
:popcorn:

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Reports 2013
Bontebok for Beginners, Tsitsikamma - Bridges and Electric Wheels, ADDO-rable Elephants,
Horns And Stripes - A Day in MZNP, Table With A View, West Coast Adventures


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 Post subject: Re: MZNP - a stormy start to 2014
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:51 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:30 pm
Posts: 950
Location: France for a while
A canon TT :D
I'm on board if you don't mind
Moreover I've never been (so far) to MZNP

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

And people loving good merlot must be nice people !

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Carpe diem

2014:
Golden Gate july 25th-27th,
Cambedoo july 30th-31th,
MZNP august 1st-4th,
Addo august 5-8th,
Tsitsikamma Storms River Mouth august 9th-11th , Ebb and Flow august 12th-14th
Bontebok august 15-16th
Agulhas august 17th


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 Post subject: Re: MZNP - a stormy start to 2014
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:22 am 
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Location: 2012 km..... to Paradise
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Wonderful start Canon..with stunning :cam: of the Kudu and MZebra :clap: :clap:

Grabbed a empty seat and would love to continue the ride. :dance:

:popcorn: :popcorn:

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“Nature is a volume of which God is the author.” ~ William Harvey

Kruger May/June 2014
Mokala June 2014


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 Post subject: Re: MZNP - a stormy start to 2014
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:54 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Wonderful start... smiling at the Merlot. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

:popcorn:

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The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.


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 Post subject: Re: MZNP - a stormy start to 2014
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:20 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
Kaapsedraai wrote:
canon, thank you for sharing your MZNP experiences through this wonderful TR. :clap:

I have visited the park a few years ago and it definitely one of my favourites. Those zebras are just so beautiful to photograph. Then that thunderstorms providing extra atmosphere....lovely. :dance: :dance: :dance:
Look forward to the next episode. :thumbs_up:


Hi Kaapsedraai

Its about time you got back there - it gets better all the time. Belville is just around the corner....

_________________
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: MZNP - a stormy start to 2014
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:25 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:
Great start and lovely pictures canon. :thumbs_up:
Last year in the beginning of December we had a day visit at MZNP.
Those mountain zebras are so wonderful. You really can't stop taking pictures of those photogenic beauties.
Thanks for sharing your adventures.
:popcorn:


Hi Sable

You would not recognise the park this December - much more rain so vegetation very lush and green.

_________________
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: MZNP - a stormy start to 2014
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:27 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
Goronta wrote:
A canon TT :D
I'm on board if you don't mind
Moreover I've never been (so far) to MZNP

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

And people loving good merlot must be nice people !


Goronto you must visit MZNP the next time that you are in SA. Welcome on board - plenty of space.

_________________
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: MZNP - a stormy start to 2014
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:32 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
Trrp-trrrrrrrr wrote:
Wonderful start Canon..with stunning :cam: of the Kudu and MZebra :clap: :clap:

Grabbed a empty seat and would love to continue the ride. :dance:

:popcorn: :popcorn:


Plenty of space so hop on board...

_________________
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: MZNP - a stormy start to 2014
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:35 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
Meandering Mouse wrote:
Wonderful start... smiling at the Merlot. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

:popcorn:


Hi Meandering Mouse

I was not smiling on SO's alarm went off on New Years morning! MERLOT!

_________________
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: MZNP - a stormy start to 2014
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:35 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
01 January 2014

When SO's alarm went off bright and early on New Years Day I awoke to a little knock in my head telling me that the late night potjie was possibly not a good idea. When she told me that I was looking a bit rough I immediately bounced out of bed and put on a very brave face. I, however, soon realized that some remedial action was absolutely necessary but my pride got the better of me and I gutsed it out over a cup of strong coffee. A cursory glance into the tent revealed the much needed medicine box but my self pride held firm - could not show any sign of weakness because then "I told you so!" would be inevitable. Inside that medicine box were the Panados!! I was paying the price for a somewhat inflated male ego. (I am sure many of our forumites have found themselves in this situation before.....) Eventually SO decided that it was time to get to the ablutions which meant that I would be able to sneak into that medicine box. Well two Panados and a big glass of water soon made New Years Day a whole lot more enjoyable and soon I was ready to hit the road.

We decided to drive up the mountain to Rooiplaat, having been told that the Lions had been seen up there. The view back to the restcamp is stunning and it is amazing how the chalets blend into the landscape - very well thought out.

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The plains were teeming with Black Wildebeest, Mountain Zebra and Blesbuck. This is perfect Cheetah country too. We stopped at a pool next to the road to watch this Orange-throated Longclaw

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Thios photograph clearly illustrated why this bird is called a Longclaw

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Another Longclaw arrived to have a drink which immediately caused No 1 to start showing off by waltzing all over the place with its wings out-stretched.

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We continued along the Rooiplaat Loop spotting this young MZ having a drink. It certainly seemed to be a bit old to still be suckling.

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We then turned left onto the Link Road which was a good decision because at the first little dam on the left we saw the Lioness lying in the shade. What did amaze us was the fact that there were a number of Zebra drinking at the dam and they were not at all perturbed by the fact that the Lioness was watching them very carefully. It was getting very hot so I imagine that she was a bit lazy. I was getting a bit worried because the heat was beginning to take its toll on me and how I wished that I had slipped a few of those magic little white pills into my pocket before we left!

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The Link Road is a lovely drive taking you through a number of drifts and passed a few little dams. There were plenty of Kudu in the thorn thickets. This pic illustrates how lush the veld was

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Graham's Corner was very quiet but still a beautiful area. This Ant-eating Chat was on guard duty here

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We often wonder who Graham was - maybe Megan would be able to help here.

The drive down into the valley is spectacular. We joined the Ubejane Loop and drove down to the dam where we saw a troop of Baboons and few other critters

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By now the temp had reached 37 degrees so we headed back to camp. We took a swim up at the pool - such a lovely setting. On the way back we found a Pufadder lying in the path that runs from receptiion down to the camping site which was a bit worrying. We did report it and it was duly moved away from the path. There were plenty of young children around so hopefully parents were being vigilant. We put the fans on, wrapped ourselves in wet towels and had a midday siesta. I felt like a million dollars having managed to sneak another two Panados!

_________________
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: MZNP - a stormy start to 2014
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:46 am 
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Location: Pretoria SA
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Wow canon! What a beautiful start to your trip report! So many awesome sightings already! Those Kudus are magnificent, and I love your pictures of the Longclaw! :clap: :clap:

Looking forward to more! :popcorn:

_________________
"Happiness, I have discovered, is nearly always a rebound from hard work." - David Grayson


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 Post subject: Re: MZNP - a stormy start to 2014
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:49 am 
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Super images of the longclaw. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Now laughing about the panado. :lol: :lol: :lol:

:popcorn:

_________________
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.


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 Post subject: Re: MZNP - a stormy start to 2014
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:42 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 1601
Location: Durban
Looking forward to another Canon TR with lots more of your superb photographs. The one of the zebra lit up by the sun against the dark stormy background is, indeed, exquisite.

Also the pics of the longclaw, what a pretty bird.

And, along with MM, I am chuckling at the magic pills and your male ego!


Last edited by Stampajane on Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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