Mountain Zebra National Park

Mountain Zebra National Park, Eastern Cape South Africa

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Mountain Zebra National Park is a hidden gem located in South Africa, roughly 12 km from the charming town of Cradock. Surrounded by majestic mountains, the park is home to

Mountain Zebra National Park

Mountain Zebra National Park is a hidden gem located in South Africa, roughly 12 km from the charming town of Cradock. Surrounded by majestic mountains, the park is home to an array of wildlife, including the Cape mountain zebra, for which the park is named. These zebras differ from the plains or Burchell’s zebra, by having narrower stripes, absence of shadow stripes and orange facial coloration.

The park was proclaimed in 1937, saving the Cape mountain zebra from extinction. Today, their population stands at around 350. Visitors to the park can also spot other mammals such as eland, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, gemsbok, mountain reedbuck and grey rhebok. The park is also home to caracal, which occupy the niche of primary predator.

The craggy heights of the Mountain Zebra National Park’s Bankberg embrace rolling plains and deep valleys, making it an enthralling destination for nature lovers. The park is situated 280 km from Port Elizabeth, 800 km from Cape Town, 800 km from Johannesburg and 1050 km from Durban.

Valley Of Desolation

Mountain Zebra National Park is not only known for its Cape mountain zebra population, but also for its diverse range of attractions and activities. One of the must-see sites in the park is the Valley of Desolation, also known as the “cathedral of the mountains.” This geological phenomenon is a sheer cliff face that has been declared a national monument and is located within the Camdeboo National Park.

The Valley of Desolation is a unique Karoo landscape and ecosystem that surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet, creating a type of oasis in the midst of the aridity of the Karoo. The vertical cliffs and columns of dolerite that teeter precariously 120 meters above the valley floor are breathtaking. This unusual feature is the product of volcanic and erosive forces that have taken 100 million years to form.

The valley is also home to a diverse range of fauna and flora, attracting 220 species of bird, 336 plants, and 43 types of mammal. Visitors can explore the valley through walking trails that range from an hour to overnight hikes, as well as picnic sites for those who simply want to admire the majestic precipices.

Graaff-Reinet, the town near the park, is also worth a visit for its charmingly restored Karoo-style homes and historical buildings. The little hamlet of Nieu-Bethesda is also a popular spot for tourists, known for its Owl House and camel yard.

The gate to the Valley of Desolation is located 5km out of Graaff-Reinet on the R63 to Murraysburg. Day visitors are welcome and can make use of the game viewing area and the picnic sites. With its unique geological features and diverse wildlife, the Valley of Desolation is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Mountain Zebra National Park.

Scar of Grootkloof

Mountain Zebra National Park is located in the heart of the Bankberg Mountains and a series of undulating hills just outside Cradock in the Karoo. The park is known for its unique geography and geology, and one of the must-see attractions in the park is the Scar of Grootkloof.

The Scar of Grootkloof is a result of a massive 22-ton dolerite rock that rolled down Bankberg Mountain in 1974. The event was so powerful that it was heard in Cradock, 12 km away. The rock left a 250-meter-long scar on the landscape that is still visible today. Visitors can hike the 10 km Idwala trail up to the Grootkloof scar to see the impressive scar and the big rock that caused it.

The area receives 25% more rain than other more dry parts of the Karoo, mostly because of its proximity to mountains. This means that the scar has been eroded by both wind and water over time, deepening into a visible scar that is a unique feature of the park.

Daggaboer Farm Stall

Mountain Zebra National Park offers visitors a unique and diverse range of activities and attractions, and one of these is the Daggaboer Farm Stall. This farm stall, located within the park, initially started off as an outlet for handmade sheepskin slippers and delicious (filled or plain) roosterkoek.

Today, the Daggaboer Farm Stall still sells both sheepskin slippers and tasty roosterkoek, but it has also diversified into selling other local products such as ginger beer, honey, boeremiesies, pies and organic cheeses. Boeremiesies are apricots that are soaked in witblits, a traditional South African spirit.

The farm stall also offers a range of gifts such as soap, beautiful mohair blankets and scarves, making it a great place to pick up souvenirs from your visit to the park. Visitors can sample and purchase a variety of locally-produced food and artisanal products, and also admire the beautiful mountain and valley views from the farm.

Visitors to Mountain Zebra National Park can enjoy not just wildlife viewing but also the local culture and food. The Daggaboer Farm Stall is a great place to experience the local culture and pick up some unique souvenirs.

This park is a great destination for those who love hiking, geology, and nature. With its unique landscape and diverse wildlife, the park offers many opportunities for visitors to explore and experience the beauty of the Karoo.

The access route to the park entrance, as well as all internal tourist routes, are gravel, whilst roads in the rest camp area are tarred. Visitors to the park should keep an eye out for other notable species such as red hartebeest, eland and springbok. In the more wooded valleys, visitors can search for kudu and two of the park’s more recent reintroduction, the African buffalo and the black rhino. With its diverse wildlife and natural beauty, Mountain Zebra National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in South Africa’s natural heritage.


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