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 Post subject: Mountain Zebra Stories
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:31 am 
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I watched an episode of the programme "Going nowhere slowly" that was aired on Sunday 9 September 2009 on SABC3. I recorded it as on the preview I saw they’ll be at Mountain Zebra NP and watched it last night.

They had some nice shots of the Park as a whole and also commented positively on the peacefulness of the surroundings, the good standard of accommodation and the friendly service.

During their drive through the Park they got out of their vehicles along the road to look at animals, at places where one is not allowed to get out of your car, but I assume it was all for the sake of good television, but it might put the impression forward that this is allowed.

On their drive one of these overlander vehicles share the road with them, and the crew made an interesting observation. Every time the overland truck came close to them the animals would run away. Even when the truck passed them you could see zebra etc running away. Ian Roberts said that it is clear that it is not a good idea to visit such a park with an overlander truck as all the animals keep far away.

Now to get to the actual reason for this post.

The crew went to a location within the park where they said no camera crew where before. They climb up a hill (they call it a mountain but they must come to the Cape if they would like to see real mountains :) )

On top of the mountain was a chess board carved into a rock! This hill was apparently a lookout / observation point for the English army during the Anglo Boer war. The guys on the mountain got bored and carved the chess board, not to play chess with each other. No, they had the guys on the next hill do the same and by means of signalling with mirrors they played chess with each other! Apparently a farmer living in the valley below caught on to this and played with. And the chess board and other writing still looks fresh 100+ years later

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Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:12 pm 
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Location: Somewhere south of Gariep River
Hi Francois

The top of Salpeterkop is 1515.9m asl (Simonsberg near Stellenbosch is 1391.4m asl), and it rises quite steeply from the vlakte around it ... it does not have steep cliffs like the Du Toitskloof mountains ... but nevertheless steep enough for our area :roll: After the release of the Cheetahs in the park when they were reintroduced, the two females Jabu and Nyxie, stayed on the slopes of Salpeterkop rather than the surrounding vlakte where one would have expected them.

In the war there was a cannon on the "kop" as well as lookout posts, but it could not be established if a single shot was ever fired from the cannon. Imagine the soldiers on the kop in winter with temps dropping below freezing and in summer - there are no trees on the top - with temps in the high 30's and even 40's. The soldiers used a heliograph to play chess with the others.

There are plans in the pipeline to establish a guided walk up Salpeterkop to the chessboard as it is part of the cultural heritage in the park. There are a few other cultural highlights as well - Rock art (San), the Doornhoek Guest House - which is a museum - it was the outdour set where the TV production of Story of an African Farm (Olive Schreiner) was made.

Enough for now ... come and visit our park and see for yourself. And just come and have a look at the mountains and the scenery of the region... :shock:

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 1:12 pm 
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Arnold wrote:
... come and visit our park and see for yourself...

I was there last year during the Easter weekend. Promised myself that the next time I visit will be in summer as even though not winter yet it was freezing in our tent. Cannot imagine those poor blokes on the mountain.

Did notice that there aren't any trees for shade up there.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:17 am 
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Francoisd: Usually when there's filming crews, there'll also be Rangers with Rifles keeping an eye out for them, but MZNP has cheetahs as the biggest predator and not as much of a threat as lions (if Any threat at all).


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