Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Port Elizabeth - Mountain Zebra National Park

Hi everyone,
On Monday we departed Port Elizabeth for some inland touring.  We are taking a few days to explore the hinterland.  On day one we drove to the town of Cradock and visited the nearby Mountain Zebra National Park.  The drive up to and through the pass at Olifantsop was spectacular, with cloudy skies on the seaward side becoming bright sunshine on the other.

We saw a large number of mountain zebras in the park.  They, springbok and black wildebeest seem most common here.

Mountain Zebra
Mountain Zebras
Black Wildebeest
The park consists of a plateau and several river valleys.  The antelope seem to like the plateau area, perhaps because predators would have to work hard to remain concealed.  The country is spectacular.  Water holes are few, and they seem to be kept supplied artificially by pumps.  I'm sure the animals don't mind and they gather there.

Water hole
Other antelope seen included gemsbok, kudu, blesbok, red hartebeest, mountain reedbuck and eland.  The gemsbok are spectacular animals with their long straight horns and striking colours.

Female Kudu
One bird we'd hoped to see (but didn't expect to) was the secretary bird.  We spotted one just as we were about to leave the park.

Secretary Bird
There were many ostriches in the park too.

Male and female ostrich
The southern part of the park has high ground either side of a river valley/gorge.  The hills on each side of the river are spectacular and the Kranskop Loop road goes from the river up and over the top of a high ridge.  The dirt road is on the edge of extremely steep ground (not quite cliff but almost) with no safety barriers - the public wouldn't be allowed near it in Australia!

Crossing the river bed
View across the valley
Along the ridge
 Mountain Zebra NP is certainly worth a visit.

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