The Mountain Zebra National Park with its wide range of game species, including Buffalo and Rhino is acclaimed as being the South African National Park that saved the Cape Mountain Zebra from imminent extinction.
The Mountain Zebra National Park is situated 12 kilometres (7.4 miles) from the town of Cradock in the Eastern Cape. Travellers wanting to visit the nature reserve should travel up the N10 towards Cradock and then turn onto the R61. The national park is located between Cradock and Graaff-Reinet.
There is at least 60 kilometres (around 40 miles)of road network to explore on self-guided game drives as well as a number of 4X4 routes for off road vehicles.
The national park is located equidistantly between Cape Town International and O.R. Tambo Airport; a 9 hours drive from each.
Visitors to the nature reserve can fly to Cape Town or Johannesburg and choose to drive the remaining distance. Alternatively connecting flights will take one to Port Elizabeth domestic airport from which the reserve is then a 3 hour drive, or to Bloemfontein domestic airport which is 4 hours drive away.
A visit to Mountain Zebra National Park's highlights includes game-viewing of a number of game species including Buffalo, Wildebeest and Blesbok. Nature lovers will be enthralled by the beautiful landscape with its ever-changing scenery and diverse vegetation. Guests can enjoy a picnic at one of the well-located picnic sites which are known to also be prodigious bird-watching locations.
The game reserve, especially on the higher reaching Wilgerboom River circuit, is considered to be one of the best locations for seeing Mountain Reedbuck while the Camp is known for being an excellent location to spot Rock Hyrax and Smith's Red Rock Rabbit.
Visitors to the game reserve can enjoy a number of park-run activities including morning and evening guided game drives where trained and enthusiastic guides will take guests out on open safari vehicles in search of Cheetah and other game. In the evenings visitors might also be lucky enough to see Bat-Eared Fox, Aardwolf, Aardvark and Caracal as well as nocturnal birds such as the Spotted Eagle Owl.
There are several 4X4 trails to explore and over 60 kilometres of game-viewing road network for visitors to explore at a leisurely pace. For those interested in history, a guided walk to the San rock paintings in the caves of the reserve will have guests clambering over rocks to in search of these historical artefacts.
If you are looking for a little active adventure there are a number of on foot activities including 3 hour morning walks into the more remote areas of the game reserve while learning about the flora and fauna in the reserve. There are also longer guided hikes that can be arranged. Cheetah Tracking game drives are also offered where guests will be taken out into the reserve with a guide in search of these elusive animals.
The park-run accommodation includes fully equipped self-catering cottages as well as a tent and caravan campsite. Two mountain huts are available to be used during overnight hikes and the Doornhoek Guest House offers three bedrooms.
A popular game reserve to spend a night or two in or to drive through while visiting the area, the Mountain Zebra National Park is a smaller safari park and while it has a wide range of wildlife, the African wildlife is occasionally difficult to find. The road network is a pleasure to explore, taking you up into the mountains and twisting and turning you down into the valleys below. The park-run accommodation is well-maintained and the staff members are friendly and very welcoming.
A primarily summer rainfall area, most of the rain occurs between October and March with hail and occasional thunderstorms. Snow regularly falls on the top peaks in the winter months and frost is very common. Winter temperatures are known to be very cold dropping to as low as -10°C (14°F) at night while summer temperatures can reach extreme highs of over 40°C (104°F).
The extreme heat in summer and the below freezing temperatures in winter mean that visitors should always pack extra clothing and be prepared for sudden changes in temperature, especially in summer when thunderstorms can suddenly occur.
Visitors should be aware at all times that the game reserve is home to wild and dangerous animals and should one come across a large game animal such as a Rhino or a Buffalo one should move out of the area slowly and with extreme caution. Bookings for the Cheetah Tracking excursion are essential and should be done as in advance as possible.
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