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Mountain Zebra National Park

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This page displays all information relevant to this park/camp, except the following:

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Introduction

Invigorating crystal clear air, beautiful scenery, tranquil ambience and an abundance of wildlife offer you a special and personal African wilderness experience at Mountain Zebra National Park.

Situated near Cradock in the malaria-free Eastern Cape, this national park was originally proclaimed in 1937 to save the dwindling Cape mountain zebra population. Now, at over 28 000 hectares, the park boasts a conservation success story, protecting over 700 zebra as well as wildlife such as endangered black rhino and cheetah.


6 things to seek

  • Aardwolf
  • Cape buffalo
  • Cheetah
  • Cape mountain zebra
  • Blue crane
  • Denham's bustard

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Accommodation

  • Mountain Zebra National Park's Rest Camp is located about 12 kilometres from the entrance gate and offers comfortable family cottages, a campsite with communal facilities, a restaurant and a shop. The Guesthouse and two Mountain Cottages are located further into the Park.
  • All accommodation is serviced daily and provided with bedding, towels and soap.
  • Accommodation is self-catering and a braai unit is provided at all units and campsites.

Family Cottages (FA4 & FA4Z)

Family cottages (FA4) have a lounge with fireplace and two bedrooms, one with a queen bed and the other with two single beds. The bathroom has a bath and shower. The open-plan kitchen is fully equipped. Cottages are furnished with an air conditioner and television. Two units are universally accessible (FA4Z).

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Doornhoek Guesthouse (GH6)

*Doornhoek Guesthouse is currently closed for rebuilding after a fire.*

This restored Victorian homestead (GH6) has a scenic view, overlooking the Doornhoek Dam. Six people can be accommodated in three bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms (bath). One bedroom has two single beds while the others have queen beds. There is a fully-equipped kitchen as well as a comfortable lounge and stoep area. The guesthouse is tastefully decorated with Victorian style antiques providing an unique experience.

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Mountain Cottages (MC)

Two mountain cottages (4x2 MC) provided a secluded rustic experience for visitors with high clearance vehicles. Umthombo (meaning "Fountain") is located near the Weltevrede picnic site and Bakana (meaning: "Beacon") in Berghofkloof. These huts can only be accessed with 4x4 or 2x4 (with diff lock) vehicles.

  • Each hut has two bedrooms with bedding and towels provided (one with double bed and one with two single beds) and a third "hikers bedroom" with six bunk beds (own bedding required).
  • The kitchen is equipped with a gas stove, solar-powered fridge/freezer and cutlery, crockery & cooking utensils. There is no electricity.
  • A hot water shower (gas-powered) and toilet are located outside the hut.
  • There is an outside braai area as well as indoor braai area / fireplace.
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Camping (CK6P)

The Camping ground is located close to the Reception, with 20 sites. All sites are equipped with 220V power points and a braai unit. Campsites are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be pre-booked.

  • There is a communal ablution with showers and baths as well as a communal kitchen with fridge, freezer, microwave and stove plates.
  • A washing machine and dryer are available. Tokens can be bought at Reception at R15 per token. One token washes a medium-sized load.
  • A maximum of six persons, one caravan with a side tent and one vehicle, or one tent and one vehicle, or one autovilla or one motorised caravan are permitted per site.
  • The camping area is sited on a mixture of earth and grass. Some sites are shaded. Sites are closed periodically to allow grass to regrow.
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Please note:

Accommodation images may differ from the actual units as refurbishment of various accommodation types occur on an on-going basis.

To view the accommodation prices, refer to Tariffs


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Activities & Facilities

Activities

Please note:
  • All activity bookings are to be made through Mountain Zebra National Park's reception:
    Email: mountainzebra@sanparks.org
    Tel: +27 (0)48 881 2427 or +27 (0)48 881 3434
  • All bookings to be confirmed at Reception before 18h00 on the previous day. Please report to Reception 15 minutes before departure time to sign indemnity form and to make payment.
  • Activity Tariffs below do not include Conservation Fees (Park Entry Fees) and are valid 1 November 2014 to 31 October 2015.

Guided Drives

Morning Game Drive

One will experience the early karoo mornings with potential of seeing Cheetah, Buffalo and other antelope. The bird life in the mornings is good with viewing of Eastern Clapper Lark, Blue Korhaan, Blue crane and many other species.

  • Time: Summer: 05h00 - 07h00; Winter: 06h00 - 08h00
  • Minimum two guests and a maximum nine guests.
  • Minimum age: six years old.
  • R175 per adult, R85 per child under 12 years old
  • Dress warmly during winter.

Sunset Game Drive

  • Time: Summer: 17:00 - 19:00
  • Minimum four guests and a maximum nine guests.
  • Minimum age: six years old.
  • R237.35 per adult, R118.68 per child under 12 years old (including snacks and drinks).
  • Dress warmly on cool days.

Evening Game Drive

One will experience the best of the evening and spot some of the Park's nocturnal animals. Animals to be on the lookout for are Cheetah, Buffalo, Bat-eared Fox, Aardwolf, Aardvark and Caracal. Night birds like the Spotted Eagle Owl and Fiery-necked Nightjar are also to be seen.

  • Time: Summer: 19:30 - 21:30; Winter: 18:00 - 20:00
  • Minimum two guests and a maximum nine guests.
  • Minimum age: six years old.
  • R175 per adult, R85 per child under 12 years old.
  • Dress warmly on cool evenings.

San Cave Paintings

  • Time: 09h00 - 11h00
  • Minimum two guests and a maximum nine guests.
  • Minimum age of six years old.
  • R150 per adult, R75 per child under 12 years old.
  • Note: Some clambering over rocks is required so this activity is not suitable for frail people or very young children.

Activities on Foot

Please Note: Activities on foot may be cancelled at any time due to weather conditions rendering the activity unsafe.
Please report to Reception 15 minutes before departure time to sign indemnity form and to make payment.

Morning Walks

Get out on foot in some of the more remote areas of the park and get up close and personal with some of the smaller creatures and plants, but don't forget the bigger ones. This is definitely the way to experience the Karoo Bush. These walks may include the existing 10km route or other areas of interest, depending on the group's abilities and interests.

  • Time: Summer 05h00 - 08h00; Winter 07h00 - 10h00.
  • Minimum of two and maximum of six people.
  • 12 years - 65 years. If you are older than 65 years and wish to undertake the activity, you will be required to submit a doctor's certificate stating you are medically fit to undertake a hike in rugged terrain.
  • R245 per person.
  • Neutral clothing (not white or black) and walking shoes required.
  • Bring own water and a small snack.
  • Binoculars optional.
  • Moderate level of fitness required.

Impofu 3-day Hike

This 25-kilometre, three-day trail takes in some of the highlights of the 28 000-hectare Park including Bakenkop, the Park's highest peak. The first day's hike meanders through grassland and mountain shrubland, passing the famous Big Rock. Day two is a mountain grassland experience with a chance of spotting herds of eland and mountain reedbuck. The final leg of the hike passes through riverine thicket, ending at the restcamp. Two mountain cottages provide the overnight stop for hikers in secluded and scenic areas of the Park.

  • Minimum of four and maximum of 10 people.
  • 12 years - 65 years. If you are older than 65 years and wish to undertake the activity, you will be required to submit a doctor's certificate stating you are medically fit to undertake a hike in rugged terrain. Guests undertaking these hikes need to have a moderate to high level of fitness.
  • R415 per person (includes accommodation in mountain cottages).
  • Neutral clothing (not white or black) and good walking shoes required.
  • Carry own bedding and food.
  • Cooking & eating utensils and firewood are provided at the mountain cottages.
  • Solar-powered fridge/freezer, gas stove top and braai area available at cottages.
  • Binoculars optional.
  • Moderate level of fitness required.

Salpeterkop Hike

Ascend Salpeterkop for a magnificent view over the Park and a rare view of an Anglo-Boer War relic.

  • Time: Summer 05h00 - 08h00; Winter: 07h00 - 10h00.
  • Minimum of two and maximum of nine people.
  • 12 years - 65 years. If you are older than 65 years and wish to undertake the activity, you will be required to submit a doctor's certificate stating you are medically fit to undertake a hike in rugged terrain. Guests undertaking these hikes need to have a moderate to high level of fitness.
  • R310 per person.
  • Neutral clothing (not white or black) and walking shoes required.
  • Bring own water and a small snack.
  • Binoculars optional.
  • Warning: should be fairly fit and prepared for a challenging climb.

Cheetah Tracking

Drive out with your guide to search for the elusive Mountain Zebra National Park cheetahs. When signal from a collared cheetah is found, you will have the opportunity to get closer on foot.

  • Ranging between 1-3 hours. Advance bookings are essential. Departure time to be confirmed by reception.
  • Minimum of two and maximum of eight people.
  • From 12 years - 65 years. If you are older than 65 years and wish to undertake the activity, you will be required to submit a doctor's certificate stating you are medically fit to undertake a hike in rugged terrain.
  • R310 per person.
  • Neutral clothing (not white or black) and walking shoes required.
  • Bring own water and a small snack.
  • Binoculars optional.

Guided Drives & Activities on Foot

A guided drive or walk provides the ideal opportunity to get to know the park on foot or in a safari vehicle with a qualified and knowledgeable guide. Mountain Zebra National Park also provides the unique opportunity of tracking a wild cheetah with the chance to observe these cats in their natural habitat.

Visitors can also explore the park at their own leisure in their own vehicle on almost 70km of tourist roads. Roads are mostly gravel but of good standard and suitable for all vehicles. There are two short walking trails within the fenced Restcamp that can be self-hiked. The Black Eagle Trail (2.5km) is a more challenging climb to the top of the rocky outcrop with spectacular views over the Park while the Imbila Trail (1km) is an easy, flat trail.

4x4 Trails

  • NB: No booking necessary as the trails are open during the normal operating hours of the Park.
  • Only 4x4 vehicles may be used on the trails.
  • Please note: The Juriesdam and Sonnerust trails are relatively easy drives while the Umgeni trail is more challenging. Trails may be closed in the event of wet weather or maintenance.

Sonnenrust 4x4 Trail

This 14.2km trail starts on the Ubejane Loop and ends on the Link Road (which joins Ubejane to Rooiplaat Loops). It is situated in the north-western area of the Park, skirting the base of Saltpeterskop and ending on a plateau with scenic views.

Juriesdam 4x4 Trail

This 10km trail starts and ends on the main entrance road into the Park. It explores the eastern plateau area of the Park.

Umngeni 4x4 Trail

This 8km trail takes about one hour to complete and starts on the Park’s main entrance road just north-west of the restcamp area.


Things to do in nearby Cradock

If you are staying in Mountain Zebra National Park for more than a few days, you might want to explore some of the nearby tourist and historical attractions. Here are a few highlights:

Schreiner House Museum (9 Cross Street)

Olive Schreiner, South Africa's internationally renowned author of "The Story of an African Farm", lived in this house as a young girl from 1867 to 1870. An extensive pictorial exhibition portrays her life and those of her eminent siblings. Open Mondays to Fridays: 08h00 - 12h45 then 14h00 - 16h30 and weekends on request.

Olive Schreiner Grave, Buffelskop (26km On The Moritimer Road- Minimum 7 Hours

On 13 August 1921, Olive was reinterred on Buffelskop together with the bodies of her child and their much loved fox terrier, Nita. Arrangements for visits can be made at Schreiner House. The climb is only recommended for those who are reasonably fit.

Great Fish River Museum (behind the Municipal Building)

Built in 1849, it was the Second Dutch Reformed Church Parsonage in Cradock and declared a National Monument in 1971. The museum collection dates from 1630 - 2000. Ox wagon, different horse carts and old hearses are on view. In the Gallery see videos on the Boer War and the Cradock Four. According to hearsay it houses the organ that was played at Paul Kruger's baptism as well as copies of his christening certificate. Copies of the Midland News (Cradock's local newspaper) printed on silk dating back to 3 September 1912 are also found here. The museum is open weekdays: 08h00 - 16h00.

Die Tuishuise & Victoria Manor (Market Street)

Market Street, a proclaimed National Heritage Street, laid out in 1847, is probably one of the only streets in South Africa where all the houses are original in core. These beautifully restored houses depict the different lifestyles of the people who lived in them from Victorian splendour to that of the rugged Boer. The Victoria Manor, a grand old colonial hotel (est. 1848), serves hearty country fare.

Dutch Reformed Moederkerk (Corner Of J.A Calata And Church Street)

Styled after St Martin's-in-the-Field on Trafalgar Square, London, the Moederkerk was consecrated in 1868. This church community, the first in Cradock, was established in 1824, 10 years after the town received its name. The first President of the South African Republic, Paul Kruger, was christened in the first church in 1826. During the South African War the church was used as a lookout point by the British who occupied the town.

Lingelighle Township (Township Tour on request at Victoria Manor)

Highlights include: Vusubuntu Cultural Village, Cradock Four Garden of Remembrance, Lingelighle Cemetery, Nondis Restaurant, JA Calata House and a Tavern. Lingelihle is famous for its struggle icons: amongst others the Cradock Four (Matthew Goniwe, Fort Calata, Sparrow Mkhonto and Siklo Mhlauli) and Canon JA Calata, the longest serving Secretary General of the ANC. For more information on the Cradock Four - buy a DVD from Victoria Manor reception, go to the Great Fish River Museum, or go on a Township Tour and see the Garden of Remembrance and their graves in Lingelihle.

Karoo Comfort Zone (Health And Beauty Centre) Market Street

Karoo Comfort Zone offers our clients a professional selection of products and treatments at our Health & Beauty Clinic. A speciality of the Karoo Comfort Zone is the unique "African Hum and Sun massage". Local Xhosa perform the massages, in the sun (weather permitting), whilst singing and humming traditional melodies.

Tubing, rafting, canoeing and abseiling

Tubing, rafting, canoeing and abseiling available. Enquire at Victoria Manor reception or call James on 084 429 9944 and Wayne on 082 450 7207.

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Facilities

  • Fully licensed a la carte restaurant, also serving light refreshments.
  • Shop where curios and basic commodities may be purchased.
  • Swimming pool in Restcamp for overnight visitors.
  • Fonteinkloof and Weltevrede picnic sites with braai faciltiies, picnic table and ablutions. There is a swimming pool for day visitors at Fonteinkloof picnic site.
  • Unleaded petrol and diesel fuel is available in the Rest Camp from 07h00 - 17h00.
  • No ATM facility available in the park. The closest bank facilities are available in the town of Cradock (24km from the park).

Conference Facilities

  • A Conference Room in the Reception building is ideal for your corporate meeting or conference in the bush.
  • Can accommodate a maximum of 30 people seated at tables or 50 people, cinema-style (no tables).
  • Catering facilities are available from the adjacent restaurant.
  • Reservations:
    Park Reception Tel: 048 881 2427/3434 or
    SANParks Conferencing Tel: 012 426-5025
    Fax: 012 426-5488

Wedding Receptions

  • The Conference Room and Restaurant can be booked for small wedding receptions of maximum 50 people.
  • Bookings and enquiries can be made at the park reception.

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Park Maps

Rest Camp Layout

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

Camping Section Layout

 

 



 

 

Park Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impofu Hiking Trail Map

 

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Tariffs

Daily Conservation Fee for 1 November 2014 to 31 October 2015

South African Citizens and Residents (with ID): R38 per adult, per day
R19 per child, per day
SADC Nationals (with passport): R76 per adult, per day
R38 per child, per day
Standard Conservation Fee : R152 per adult, per day
R76 per child, per day


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Vital Information

Day Visitors

For people staying in Cradock, Mountain Zebra offers an excellent day visitor destination. There are a couple of picnic sites in the park to cater for day and overnight visitors.

Fuel Stations: Petrol/ Diesel

Vehicle fuel is available in all parks (or is available on the park periphery):

  • South African legislation stipulates that fuel stations will accept legitimate petrol/fuel/garage/credit/debit cards or cash as a form of payment for any fuel purchase.

Reception Hours

  • 1 October to 31 March - 07:00 to 19:00
  • 1 April to 30 September - 07:00 to 18:00

Check-in & Check-out times

Accommodation:

  • Check-in time is from 14:00 onwards.
  • Check-out time is 10:00 on the day of departure.

Camping:

  • Check-in and check-out at 12:00

Hints & Tips

  • Remember to bring along a hat, walking shoes, sun block, camera, binoculars and bird and mammal reference books. Hikers on both nature trails and overnight trail must carry sufficient water.
  • As outdoor lighting in camps is limited, a torch/headlamp is required when walking outside at night.
  • Warm clothes are essential for the winter months.
  • Visitors can only alight from vehicles at restcamp, picnic spots and certain marked areas.
  • Pets are not allowed in national parks.
  • Firearms must be declared at the entrance gate where they will be sealed. The seal will be broken upon departure.
  • Motorcycles or bicycles are not allowed.
  • Medical, pharmaceutical, vehicle repair and police services available in Cradock.

Contact Information

Please note:
  • The Park is experiencing problems with the general email address, mountainzebra@sanparks.org. Please use Thuthula.fobosi@sanparks.org, until further notice.

For enquiries email Mountain Zebra National Park or phone us on the following numbers:

  • Park: Tel +27 (0) 48 881 2427 or 3434
  • Fax: +27 (0) 48 881 3943

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Climate

During summer the average maximum temperature is 23.1ºC – 28.4ºC while the average minimum is 5.6ºC -13.6ºC. The winter average maximum 16.2ºC – 22.7ºC and the average minimum is 0.05ºC -7.8ºC.

The winter months receive occasional snowfall, which falls mostly on the higher peaks - the southern mountain range - of the park. Frost occurs May to October.

Annual rainfall is about 400 mm with the majority (70%) falling in the summer months (December to February).


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Restaurant

Interior of the restaurant

The Mountain Zebra National Park’s restaurant is situated in the malaria free Eastern Cape 25km to the West of Craddock which is 260kms North of Port Elizabeth.

The restaurant is fully licensed and serves a splendid a la carte menu, including a variety of light refreshments. The craggy heights of the Mountain Zebra National Park's Bankberg embrace rolling plains and deep valleys, and have become an entrancing preserve for the Cape Mountain Zebra. The proclamation of the park in 1937 saved these animals from extinction, and currently their population stands at 300 where they roam 28 412 hectares of land. Other mammals found here include the cheetah, Cape buffalo, black rhino, eland, black wildebeest, red hartebeest and gemsbok, while mountain reedbuck and grey rhebok frequent the higher areas. Caracal occupies the niche of primary predator.

The National Park is yet another exceptional conservation effort. This small park (by African Standards) of 65 sq km's was established in 1937 to protect the 5 remaining mountain zebras of the huge herds that used to populate the area. Out of the 5, 4 were male!!! Cabinet ministers at the time could not see a problem and dismissed the problem as "donkeys in football jerseys". Amazingly conservationists managed to establish a breeding herd and there are now 350. So come visit Mount Zebra for all the wonders on offer and pop into our restaurant to be delighted and refreshed…

Trading Hours:

  • Monday – Sunday: 7:00 to late (kitchen closes at 21:00)

Contact Details:

  • Tel: (048) 881 2211
  • Fax: (048) 881 2211

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How to get there

Mountain Zebra National Park is situated about 12km from the town of Cradock in the Eastern Cape. Cradock is accessible via the N10 highway and the Park is situated on the R61 between Cradock and Graaff-Reinet. There are signposts within the town of Cradock to direct you to the Park.

Gate Hours

  • 1 October to 31 March: 07:00 - 19:00
  • 1 April to 30 September: 07:00 - 18:00

If visitors need to arrive or depart outside of gate hours, a fee of R120 will be charged. Arrangements should be made in advance with Reception on Tel: (048) 881 2427 / 3434 or email: Mountainzebra@sanparks.org

Approximate travelling distances

  • 3 hours from Port Elizabeth (domestic airport)
  • 9 hours from Cape Town (international airport)
  • 9 hours from Johannesburg (international airport)
  • 4 hours from Bloemfontein (domestic airport)
  • 9 hours from Durban (domestic airport)

GPS Coordinates

Place

Altitude (m)

Latitude

Longitude

Entrance Gate

998

S 32° 8' 27"

E 25° 30' 35"

Doornhoek Guesthouse

1248

S 32° 14' 27"

E 25° 27' 15"

Start of Impofu Trail

1211

S 32° 13' 29"

E 25° 28' 44"

Reception/Rest Camp

1215

S 32° 13' 25"

E 25° 28' 45"

Picnic Site 1

1225

S 32° 14' 1"

E 25° 28' 12"

Picnic Site 2

1311

S 32° 15' 37"

E 25° 27' 16"


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History & Cultural Heritage Sites

History

From prehistoric sites with concentrations of stone artifacts situated along the river banks and rock art panels on the mountain slopes to historic farmsteads and cemeteries, Mountain Zebra National Park has acted as a backdrop for thousands of years of human history.

From 14 000 to 10 000 years ago, Later Stone Age inhabitants lived in the area now proclaimed as national park. Evidence of their settlements is found along the banks of the Wilger River. There are some 30 sites with pottery and stone artifacts that have been identified through research done by the University of Stellenbosch.

The San people left evidence of their lives about 300 years ago in at least three rock shelters containing rock art in the Park. The paintings show an antelope, baboons, a large cat - possibly a leopard or cheetah - and human figures.

Visitors can view rock paintings in one of the shelters by hiring a Park guide to show them the way. Although a fence protects the painting site, it is quite exciting to be able to stand less than a metre away from ancient artwork.

During the 1800s, British soldiers created a chessboard on the top of Saltpeterskop, a 1514m high koppie in the Park. While hiding out during the Anglo-Boer War, they played chess with their fellow soldiers in the old fort in Cradock, transmitting moves by means of a mirror, which had the official purpose of communicating warning signals.

The story goes that a certain farmer – unbeknown to the soldiers - picked up the signals and started a game against the soldiers while sitting on the stoep of his farmhouse.

The chessboard and the names of the soldiers are etched onto a flat slab of rock at the top of Saltpeterskop. Names recorded include the 5th Lancashire Fusiliers, the Coldstream Guards and some privates, corporals and a captain.

The legacy of white pioneers who moved into the area and set up farms during the Great Trek of 1836 still stands today. In 1838, one of the first permanent farmhouses in the area was constructed on the farm De Doornkloof, then owned by Hendrik Jacobus van Heerden. The house presently known as Doornhoek, declared a national monument in 1986, was restored and is still used as a guesthouse in the Park. It is popular with those who want a tranquil family getaway overlooking a lake, with spectacular star-gazing vistas at night.

In 1937, 1712 hectares of land was proclaimed as the Mountain Zebra National Park. Thanks to the conservation efforts of farmers in the area, a small herds of the endangered Cape mountain zebra still survived in the area and these provided a founder population for the Park. Paul Michau donated 6 zebra and later Mr H L Lombard donated 11 zebra to the Park. The Park’s Cape mountain zebra herd now numbers over 350 animals.

The Park at first expanded slowly over the years, but then received a boost with a joint public-private conservation initiative. An artist by the name of David Shepherd kick-started the initiative by donating prints of his works “Mountain Zebra: A Vision in Black and White” in 1996 and “Cheetahs” in 1998 so that money could be raised to buy surrounding farms and expand the size of the Park. SABC’s 50/50 programme shared the story with viewers and encouraged them to support the project by buying prints so that the necessary funds could be raised. The response was fantastic and also caused private individuals and businesses to make donations including The Barbara Delano Foundation, WildAid, Sasol and Vesta Medicines. South African National Parks Trust matched all of the funds that were raised.

Nine surrounding farms were purchased through this process, enabling the Park to expand from 6 536 hectares to 28 412 hectares in size. Following this, black rhino, buffalo and finally cheetah could be introduced to the Park.

Cultural Heritage Sites

An archaeological survey of the Mountain Zebra National Parks was undertaken 1973 at the request of the then National Parks Board of Trustees. The aim of the survey was “to establish the potential of sites for excavation or collection of material for the possible creation of site museums” (Brooker, 1977). Thirty archaeological sites were located during the survey. These include three small rock shelters which include San rock art and 27 open sites. Most of the sites occur primarily along the river valleys where the banks are wide and flat. Scrapers indicating a Holocene age dominated the formal artefacts discovered from 22 of these sites.

An extract from Mary Brooker’s paper (“The Archeology of the Mountain Zebra National Park” Koedoe 20: 77-93, 1977):

“The three small shelters are named ZP16, ZP28 and ZP29. ZP16 has no deposit but the presence of a circular scraper and artefactual waste that indicate it may have been occupied. ZP28 is a small shelter overlooking the Springbok Flats which has a small deposit with pottery and stone artefacts on the surface. ZP29 is a very small shelter and has neither deposit nor artefactual waste, although these might have been washed away by stream action. In a small niche on the overhang are two groups of ochre figures; one large antelope with three smaller antelope above (one possibly an eland) and the remains of four animals below. At the lower left-hand is a frieze in black including two human figures, an antelope, a large cat (leopard?) and three baboons one of which is carrying its young on its back. To the east of these are other paintings fairly high up on a rock face but except for two “sitting buck” these were too faded to record.”

Although individual European travelers would have moved into the general area during the late 1700s and early 1800s, an influx of white pioneer farmers took place during the Great Trek of 1836. During this year the farms De Doornkloof and Babylonsche Toren were provided to Willem van Heerden, while the farm Pretoriuskraal was given to Willem Meintjies van den Berg on the 31st of December 1836. After the death of Willem van Heerden in a road accident at Ratelshoek, his brother Hendrik Jacobus van Heerden took over possession of De Doornkloof and Babylonsche Toren. In approximately 1838 one of the first permanent farmhouses in the area was constructed, and the house presently known as Doornhoek was restored and is still used as a guesthouse in the park. The house was declared a national monument in 1986 (Novellie, 1987) (Van der Merwe, 1988).

During the 1800s, British soldiers created a chessboard on the top of Saltpeterskop, a 1514m high koppie in the Park. While hiding out during the Anglo-Boer War, they played chess with their fellow soldiers in the old fort in Cradock, transmitting moves by means of a mirror which was also used to send warning signals. The chessboard is till visible today but not accessible to visitors.

Visitors can book a guided tour of a San cave painting site.


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Birding in Mountain Zebra National Park

Verreaux’s (Black) and Martial Eagle and Jackal Buz za rd soar impressively over this mountain habitat. Pale-winged Starling is very conspicuous on the mountain plateau, where Ostrich, Secretarybird, Blue Crane and Ludwig’s Bustard are the larger more visible species. Grey-winged Francolin, Ground Woodpecker, Large-billed (Thick-billed) and Eastern Long-billed Lark, Cape and Sentinel Rock-Thrush, Mountain Wheatear (Chat) and Orange-breasted Rockjumper should also be searched for, while Pink-billed Lark and African Rock Pipit are less common.

The wooded kloofs and acacia stands host species such as Red-fronted Tinker Barbet, Lesser Honeyguide, Red-throated Wryneck and Southern Tchagra.

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Mammals

The highlight of the park's mammalian fauna is the over 700 Cape mountain zebra after which the park is named. The Park was originally proclaimed to save this species from extinction, with a small founder herd of only 6 zebra. Mountain zebra can be seen throughout the park in small herds.

Buffalo can be spotted in areas with Acacia thicket and on the wooded valleys of the park. Antelope species include black wildebeest, red hartebeest, eland, blesbok, kudu and springbok. Mountain reedbuck and grey rhebuck prefer the high mountain slopes along the Kranskop loop.

Cheetah were reintroduced in 2007, becoming the first large predators in the Park. Brown hyena were introduced in 2008 but these secretive scavengers are seldom seen, except on camera traps and occasionally night drives. In April 2013, lions were introduced. Read the article about Lion released in Mountain Zebra National Park

Chacma baboons and vervet monkeys make up the Park's primate component. Elusive species that you may be fortunate to see include aardwolf, bat-eared fox and caracal.

Nocturnal species which can be spotted on guided night drives include black-footed cat, aardvark, porcupine, genets and polecats.

Species List

Download the latest Mountain Zebra National Park mammal checklist


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Vegetation

Mountain Zebra National Park has three vegetation types (Mucina et al. 2005): the Eastern Upper Karoo, Karoo Escarpment Grassland and Eastern Cape Escarpment Thicket making up 37%, 53% and 10%, respectively of the park. The park thus incorporates elements of three biomes: the Nama-Karoo, Grassland and Thicket.

The Karoo Escarpment Grassland is dominated by the grass species Merxmuellera disticha, with shrubs such as Euryops annuus, and Elytropappus rhinocerotis. The Eastern Upper Karoo is a mix of grass and shrub dominated vegetation types that are subject to dynamic changes in species composition depending upon rainfall. Shrubs such as Pentzia incana, Eriocephalus ericoides dominate, while grasses such as Aristida spp. Eragrostis spp. and Themeda triandra are common. Fires are fairly common in the Karoo Escarpment Grassland and may also occur occasionally in the Eastern Upper Karoo. The vegetation types in the Mountain Zebra National Park are poorly or hardly protected elsewhere in South Africa (Driver et al. 2005).

The combination of different vegetation types is important from the point of view of preserving biodiversity, as well as from an aesthetic viewpoint. The area is one of transition between biomes allowing for an interesting mix of flora and fauna, as well as preserving important ecological and landscape processes. The warm north-facing slopes (which characterise the park) with a wide diversity of habitats ranging from mountaintops to valley bottoms provide suitable habitat ideal to cater for the seasonal requirements of the large herbivores (Novellie et al. 1988). In addition the north aspect provides for productive land capable of supporting relatively high densities of game, with greater proportions of the more productive Karoo veld types allowing the carrying of large herbivores.

Herbivore densities within the rocky grassland areas are likely to be low. Importantly, all of the major vegetation types in the park are currently very poorly conserved elsewhere in South Africa: South Eastern Mountain Grassland (0.3% conserved), Eastern Mixed Nama Karoo (1.08%), Valley Thicket (2.2%) and Central Lower Karoo (0.05%). Hence, the park will play a critical role in the long-term preservation of biodiversity.

The interface between biomes promotes a rich flora, as well as preserving important ecological and landscape processes. An analysis of the flora (Pond et al. 2002) revealed 680 plant species in the park, thirteen of which are Red Data species. At 5.05 plant species per 100 ha, the density of plant species in the Mountain Zebra National Park is very high compared to other protected areas in the arid and semi-arid areas of South Africa, a feature which can be ascribed to the wide habitat and substrate diversity of the park (Pond et al. 2002).


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People with disabilities

Wheelchair Access

Accommodation

Family Cottage (FA4Z)

The unit is accessible to the mobility challenged. The cottage features two bedrooms; one with a queen-sized bed and another with two single beds. It also includes a bathroom with roll-in shower, kitchen and DSTV (limited channels).

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Please note:

Accommodation images may differ from the actual units as refurbishment of various accommodation types occur on an on-going basis.

Accessible Activities & Facilities

  • Main Complex
    Access into and within the main complex is ramped. Accessible ablution facilities could be provided and access to the shop improved.
  • Other Facilities & Activities
    The park has limited facilities and activities. Game viewing is done from the comfort of one's own vehicle. The picnic sites and walking trails are fairly rustic, with no formal adaptation provided for persons with mobility or sensory impairment.

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Conference Facilities

Conference Facilities

  • A Conference Room in the Reception building is ideal for your corporate meeting or conference in the bush.
  • Can accommodate a maximum of 30 people seated at tables or 50 people, cinema-style (no tables).
  • Catering facilities are available from the adjacent restaurant.
  • Reservations:
    Park Reception Tel: 048 881 2427/3434 or
    SANParks Conferencing Tel: 012 426-5025
    Fax: 012 426-5488

Wedding Receptions

  • The Conference Room and Restaurant can be booked for small wedding receptions of maximum 50 people.
  • Bookings and enquiries can be made at the park reception.
  • Final arrangements should be confirmed with the park.

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