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 Post subject: canon Mountain Zebra NP : what a special place July 2012
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:14 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
We recently had a 5 day break and decided to travel the 200km up the road to the MZNP where would camp. Obviously the weather would be a bit of a lottery so we were certainly prepared for some really cold nights. Hot blankets, beanies, mohair blankets - you name it, we had it. Fortunately for us we had 5 really warm winter days but also had seriously frosty nights with a full moon

It was COLD - ear muffs and warm clothing were essential till about 09h00 in the morning

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Dish cloths froze during the night

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HOWEVER, it was all part of the experience and once it had warmed up the days were really pleasant. It seemed as though park visitors had stayed away - there were only 3 campers in the entire campsite which was great - had it all to ourselves.

For the most part this report will consist mainly of pictures taken of the wildlife and the magnificent scenery. But first a general overview of the MZNP -

- The staff were very efficient, well informed and extremely friendly. Well done to all concerned
- The roads were in excellent condition - what a change having recently spent time in KTP
- Clearly somebody takes great pride in this park - all facilities were clean, well kept and in tip top condition
- The 4 x 4 routes add a whole new dimension to visiting the park. These roads were also well kept.
- The monkeys are a real curse in the picnic site and something should be done about it.
- It is a pity that there are no hides in the park. The dam on the Wilger river would be the perfect spot.
- It was interesting to note that we never saw a single Steenbokkie - do the Cheetah favour them?
- It was also interesting to note that we never saw a single big adult Kudu bull!
- I do think that there is scope for more 4x4 routes, especially up on the Juriesdam loop
- Rustic unfenced camp sites at remote parts of the park would be a big plus and very popular.

Our first mid-morning drive yielded the following suspects

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Red Haartebeest

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Eagle - not sure of ID

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Ant-eating Chat

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Chacma Baboon

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Jackal Buzzard

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Ostrich

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Ground Squirrel

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Pied Barbet

This Springbok stood for ages staring at something that could not see. We thought Cheetah maybe but could not see anything. Maybe he was simply day dreaming!

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We returned to camp for a cuppa. It had warmed up nicely so we decided to take a stroll around the restcamp

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Our pad

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Reception

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Swimming Pool

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Moon in the east

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

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Zebra NP : what a special place
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:37 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
At around midday we decided to tackle the Juriesdam 4 x 4 loop. After a steep climb up onto the plateau we saw these animals

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Very cute when not in the campsite

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Brown-hooded Kingfisher

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Meercat

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Gemsbok with a Pied Starling hitching a ride

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Red Haartebeest

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Eland

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Mountain Zebra

We got permission to drive to the Umtombo mountain hut which can be booked out when not being used by hikers. This is really a lovely quiet spot high up in the kloof

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We headed back via the spectacular Kranskop loop - the scenery is breathtaking

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Kranskop

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View down Wilger River valley - rest camp in the distance

Next morning we tackled the Grade 3 4 x4 link which ends up on Rooiplaat - really scenic little 8km route. It pays to take your time and enjoy it. This Brown-hooded Kingfisher greeted us in the camp

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

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


Last edited by canon on Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Zebra NP : what a special place
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:46 pm 
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Honorary Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:42 pm
Posts: 17943
Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?
The zebra are Mountain zebra (Equus zebra), quite unlike the ones you will find in Kruger. They are an endangered species.
Your eagle of sorts isn't actually an eagle, but I can't say what it is off the top of my head.

You went camping in the coldest time of the year! :lol:

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Arriving currently: The photos from our trip! Overhere! :yaya:

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Zebra NP : what a special place
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:28 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
continued....

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Black-shouldered Kite

This was the only sighting we had of the Rhinos. We watched for quite a while but they were not going anywhere - simply enjoying the sunshine

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The only place to view this "scar" from is from along this route

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General game on Rooiplaat

We drove down to the Ubejane Loop and en-route were excited to find an Aardwolf den which had this rarther skittish fellow in attendance

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

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Zebra NP : what a special place
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:25 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
continued....

The Sonnensrust 4 x 4 route is about 15 km long and really is a pleasant drive. It starts at the foot of Salpetersburg where plenty of plains game can be encountered

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We stopped at a lovely viewpoint where we rustled up a nice hot plate of oats porridge. The view towards the west is stunning

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There are some challenging climbs along the way

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Once on the plateau the going got a bit easier. These Mtn Zebra posed nicely with Bakenkop in the background

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There was quite a bit see on the plateau

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Ant-eating Chat

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Fleas on a Ground Squirrel??

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Cape Longclaw

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Another Cape Longclaw

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Ground Squirrel

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Aardwolf

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Secretary Bird

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

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Zebra NP : what a special place
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:21 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
Thanks for all the comments - I trust that you will all visit this park soon

Continued....

On the way back to camp we saw a nice herd of Eland (they are so skittish) and another Brown-hooded Kingfisher

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The afternoon was great, plenty to see - the baboons really entertained us.

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Red Hartebeest

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The chief

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King of the Castle

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Spoil sport

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Black-backed Jackal

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Black Wildebeest

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Blesbuck

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Kudu

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Mountain Zebra

Soon it was back to camp, a nice hot bath and then into the warm layers of clothing. A good red wine, a big fire and we forgot that sub zero temps were looming!

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

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Zebra NP : what a special place
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:00 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
The night was not as cold as expected. Two animals on our wish list were a Cheetah and an antbear - the latter most unlikely because we would not be doing a night drive. We had been told that the Cheetah were mostly solitary which seemed strange. A pair had been seen on Rooiplaat quite recently.

Here is what we saw on this lovely winters day

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Mountain Zebra in the early morning sunshine

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Young Kudu Bull on Ubejane loop

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Mtn Zebra

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Suricate family

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Brown-hooded Kingfisher

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???? Raptor

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Noisy Blue Cranes

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Another Aardwolf sighting!

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Our first glimpse of the Buffalo

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

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Zebra NP : what a special place
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:52 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
continued....

Our day ended in great excitement. We took the Ubejane Loop as our evening drive and were fortunate to see our Cheetah, albeit very quick. So much so that there are no photos. As we approached the large dam near the end of the loop we saw a kudu calf hurtling across the road in front of us followed by a solitary Cheetah in full flight. A magnificent sight but unfortunately they disappeared over the rise in a flash so we do not know who won this battle! Nevertheless we could tick off CHEETAH.

The following morning we headed up to Rooiplaat again. The view up the valley is really lovely

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Doringhoek Guest House

En-route up to the Weltevredekloof picnic spot for brunch we saw this magnificent Mountain Zebra - they are so photogenic

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There is a lovely rock pool at this picnic site - clearly too cold for a swim

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The view up this kloof from the picnic site is stunning. I keep thinking that this would make a really nice camping site - hint, hint

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The dam in front of Doringhoek Guest House - nice place for a bird hide

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View from our camp site

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

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Zebra NP : what a special place
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:04 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Grahamstown
continued....

The stands at the camp site are really well kept. These are the perimeter ones - note how empty the camp site was

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After a relaxing cup of coffee in the afternoon sun...

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...we headed out for our last afternoon drive and saw the following

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Heron

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Gabar Goshawk

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Springbok ram guarding his territory

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An Aardwolf right near the entrance gate

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A Red Hartebeest grooming itself

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Gemsbok in a hurry

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Kudu Bull

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Brown-hooded Kingfisher

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

15/08 Malelane
16/08 Letaba
17-21/08 Shingwedzi
22-26/08 Balule
27/08 - 01/09 Berg n Dal
02/09 Glen Reenen


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