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Karin Mitton's My first visit to Mountain Zebra National Park. December 2016.

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Karin Mitton
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Karin Mitton's My first visit to Mountain Zebra National Park. December 2016.

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:34 am

With my December 2016 MZNP coming up, I thought I’d look back at my first visit to MZNP. Just a few snippets of a lovely visit.

I joined the forum for the first time in 2012, and as I was browsing, I came across some posts about this little gem of a Park. So we visited in December 2012 for the first time. I also visited in April 2014, and will now go back for my 3rd visit.

I had 3 things on my wish list to see –Cheetah, Black Rhino and aardwolf. 2 out of 3 at the end of the trip with 2 additional specials included aren’t too bad.
On our first night we went on a night drive.

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Not long after we started out, I got my wish and we saw our first aardwolf. I was so excited – I could not believe my luck. And by the end of the evening we had seen 5 individual animals! A perfect start to my relationship with this park.

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Karin Mitton
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Re: My first visit to Mountain Zebra National Park

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:38 am

The aardwolf was not the only highlight of the night drive. Before we got back to camp we saw 2 really special animals.

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I had never seen either of these before, and was absolutely thrilled! Our guide was brilliant, and even he admitted that it had been a very special drive.

The next evening we went on a drive again. Once again, the park was beautiful in the early evening.

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My son and I were the only people on the drive. At a specific place we stopped, and went for a short walk, where the guide showed us this special view. MZNP may not be large, and the numbers of animals and variety may be smaller than say KNP. But the views in this little Park makes up for that in a big way!

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Karin Mitton
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Re: My first visit to Mountain Zebra National Park

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:58 am

Obviously no visit to the park is complete without appreciating the reason for it's name -

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On our 2nd night drive in 2012 we drove to this poor fellow and we counted 26 Black-backed jackals around the carcass.

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Karin Mitton
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Re: My first visit to Mountain Zebra National Park

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:01 am

The Ground squirrels are always entertaining, and I can take endless photos of these cute creatures. If I hand the camera to my son, he will fill a memory card!

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The other herbivores in the park are also to see -

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Karin Mitton
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Re: My first visit to Mountain Zebra National Park

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:04 am

In 2014 we decided to go back for a second visit. This time we went in April, and the difference in the weather was quite obvious. December Temperatures were much, much warmer than April, especially in the evenings.
We saw a number of Creepy Crawlies during this trip.

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Our trip in 2012 was BL (Before Lions), and our trip in 2014 was AL (After Lions), but sadly we were not lucky enough to see the big cats, and once again the spotted cats eluded us as well. Maybe we will be lucky in 2016? We did however see this handsome jackal.

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Karin Mitton
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Re: My first visit to Mountain Zebra National Park

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:58 am

Only 4 more sleeps remaining!

Birdlife in MZNP is always fabulous. In 2012 I was not yet a birder, but that did not mean I could not appreciate these feathery beauties!

It was our 2014 trip that I would see as the start of my “Birding addiction” :roll: . I grew tired of seeing birds and not knowing what they are, so I bought my first bird book at the MZNP shop. And the rest, as they say, is history. :P

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Karin Mitton
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Re: My first visit to Mountain Zebra National Park

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:59 am

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Karin Mitton
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Re: My first visit to Mountain Zebra National Park

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:02 am

I do enjoy seeing the secretary birds in MZNP - such characters the way that they strut!

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This young ant eating chat was so cute

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The parent

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Gorgeous Jackal Buzzard

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Karin Mitton
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Posts: 7249
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:56 am
Location: Jhb

Re: My first visit to Mountain Zebra National Park

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:06 am

Last few birdies -
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This Bou Bou was having a fight with its image in the window.

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And my first ever Neddikkie. The ID of this little bird confounded me for months! I paged and paged through my book, but being a novice birder I struggled. Then I read an article on this very website about a birding weekend in Karoo NP that delivered 2 new birds for the Park, one being a Neddikie! There was a great photo to go with the article, and I finally realised what my pretty bird was! :dance: :dance:

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Karin Mitton
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Re: My first visit to Mountain Zebra National Park

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:10 am

And then finally, the highlight of the 2012 trip – we had to search and search, and eventually we found mom and calf. At first I thought it was just one rhino next to a “rock”. My son did not agree, and he was very happy to be proven correct when the “rock” started moving and the calf stood up! MZNP is not a large park, but surprisingly it is a challenge to find these large beauties!

Unfortunately they were in the shade, so the photos are not great, but the sight of these 2 black rhinos was so fantastic!

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Now there is only 4 more sleeps to go until I will once again be in MZNP. We will stay for 3 nights, and I can think of only a few better places to spend Christmas than there. Then we are off to Addo for 3 more nights - it will be my first visit to Addo, and I am nervously exited about that!


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