Enjoy views galore over the grassy plains of Mountain Zebra National Park

Posted by Chris Davies on 11 September 2018 Tags:,

The Mountain Zebra National Park lies in the Eastern Cape near Cradock and as you travel on the R61 you would never believe the views that await you. The road rises across a grassy plain that would be completely unremarkable if it weren’t for the odd Cape mountain zebra or oryx eyeballing you on the way.

Image by Chris Davies

After five kilometres, the track turns suddenly south and the rolling peaks of the Karoo Escarpment unfold ahead. In summer, these are tinged with green, but when I visited in late September, the soaring grass was a gorgeous yellow-gold, made luminous in the setting sun.

The park’s only rest camp is well placed to maximise these views. On the northern slopes of a grassy valley, the camp looks southwest towards the sunset, good for an evening braai. Behind the cottages, the 2,5-kilometre Black Eagle Trail ascends to a rocky outcrop, with spectacular views down the valley.

This park is small and has just a handful of game-drive loops (some 4×4 only). Most wildlife is along the Rooiplaatz and Ubejane Loops. Besides the endangered Cape mountain zebra, there are antelope species, buffalo and even a few cheetah and lions. The Kranskop Loop climbs to 1,600 metres and has the most impressive perspectives. Drive it clockwise in the late afternoon for a stunning glimpse of the camp.

Image by Chris Davies

Do it

The rest camp has 28 two- and four-sleeper self-catering cottages and 25 six-person campsites, a swimming pool and a decent little restaurant, plus there are three private cottages to the south. Camping is from R298 for two (R80 per extra adult, R45 per child), but the best views are from the family cottages with rear stoeps facing west. The better views start at cottage 10, but 17 to 22 are best. From R1,161 for two in a family cottage (sleeps four, R263 per extra adult, R132 per child). Conservation fees are R49 per person, R25 for kids. 048-801-5700, sanparks.org

Image by Chris Davies