Mountain Zebra 13-14th September

Mountain Zebra 13-14th September


The idea was to spend a week each at Mountain Zebra, Camdeboo and Karoo National on our way to Cape Town. My tooth problem interfered with this and wishing to stay within range of this excellent dentist at Cradock, we changed the booking to stay two weeks at Mountain Zebra and leave out the Camdeboo section. Which is a pity as Camdeboo is most pleasant.

Valley of Desolation, Camdeboo

Mountain Zebra is an outstanding game reserve and we will have spent 13 days here by the time we leave on Tuesday. But understandably MZ cannot match Kruger for variety and sighting potential so I suppose it is time to move on.

Pale Chanting Goshawk
Cape Longclaw

Today there is another pre-frontal gale blowing from the north-west and together with the cloud cover, conditions are most unpleasant. I do venture out for a while but am soon driven back to camp. Clouds of dust, flapping canvas and falling tent poles can be heard about the camp.

Lunch at the excellent restaurant. At 4pm I venture out but the wind is still thrashing everything. No self respecting bird would venture out in this kind out weather and I do not lift the camera once. If there is one type of weather that birds don’t like it is strong winds.

But, according to the forecast, it is calming tomorrow so we are going to give Mountain Zebra a final shot before we move on to Beaufort West and Karoo National.

Monday, 14th

The temperature and the wind drop overnight. At 6.20am we are first out of camp on a still, bright and cold morning. Up onto the Rooiplaat plateau we go where we creep about enjoying the now usual sights. We begin with a Black-shouldered Kite perched near the road.

Black Shouldered Kite (My Library)

Then on to our favourite dam where, amazingly, the daily ritual is being played out again. i.e. A pair of Selducks being routed by a thoroughly unpleasant Egyptian Goose.

Male South African Shelduck
Egyptian Goose
Three-banded Plover (My Library)

Because of our very possessive and aggressive goose, there is little prospect of anything further visiting the dam – so we leave at 9am.

We meet our neighbour (from the campsite) who alerts us to a very distant Secretarybird with two chicks, perched typically on its nest atop a low bush.

Secretarybird with two chicks.

Rather curiously you will remember that on the first couple of days here we saw many Bat-eared Foxes. Well, we have not seen one now for the past week.

In preparation for our trip tomorrow, we shoot into Cradock for fuel and groceries and are back in camp at 11am. This afternoon we do a short trip outside camp.

And that marks the end of our stay at Mountain Zebra which has been very good to us. Tomorrow we head for Karoo National near Beaufort West where we will be spending eight nights before pushing through to Cape Town.