Mountain Zebra 8-9th September

Mountain Zebra 8-9th September

Tuesday, 8th

Leaving Renette in camp, I am out of the gate at 6.30am just as the sun rises. It is bright, still, clear and sunny today and I am heading towards the maingate and then climbing onto the Rooiplaat plateau to the west.

But despite crawling the full distance, I see nothing untoward and busy myself photographing larks.

Spike-healed Lark
Melodious Lark
Eastern Clapper Lark

What a beautiful morning it is and I thoroughly enjoy myself. Back in camp, I photograph a pair of Rock Martins collecting mud for nest building.

Rock Martin
One of the Restcamp Chalets

I seem a little fated on my Cape trips. Some of you may remember my mercy dash a year or two ago from Sutherland to a dentist in Somerset West to deal with an abscess. Well, a few days ago a back back molar broke and the tooth has been getting progressively painful so at 11am I find myself in the dentist chair of a Dr Lyell in Cradock. He comes well recommended, and proves this correct as he quickly does the necessary. He is born and bred in Cradock and has had his practice here since 1979. I really decent man who I was fortunate to find in a small town.

With the anaesthetic wearing off, I take an evening creep along the mainroad but, a little distracted, I see little of interest.

Common House Martin

So today has not been the most exciting but nevertheless most pleasant and enjoyable – except the dentist’s drill.

9th September

With the rain long gone, I again leave the camp gate at 6.30am and take the steep ascent just outside camp. All is crisp, clear and sunny. I hasten to the Rooiplaat grassy plateau and then spend a couple of hours creeping along the loop that touches the western boundary of the Park.

African Pipit

I suppose for the reader this would be deemed a dull morning. But there is constant interest by way of springbok, mountain zebra, black wildebeest, hartebeest and all types of larks. My most unusual sighting is that of a distant Ludwig’s Bustard wandering through the grassland.

Ludwig’s Bustard

I have only ever seen one before at Karoo National.

I next stop to watch an Ostrich preening itself.

And then some mountain zebras drinking from a dam.

One of my photographic goals is to shoot as many species of bird as possible. I am particularly keen to find an African Rock Pipit which I have been spending much time trying to entice with my bird caller. Coming down the steep, rocky road above the restcamp, I am delighted when one answers the call and obligingly perches on a nearby rock.

Mission accomplished and I delightedly return to camp. Really this new caravan is just superb and we are certainly not yearning for a settled home yet – far from it.

This afternoon we are going to do the Kranskop Loop in reverse (clockwise). This is the high mountain road from where I photographed the misty mountains on Monday morning. But today, the light is bland and not conducive to good photos. Photography is all about light. We nevertheless really enjoy the drive and the evening views of this Karoo landscape are so appealing.

With the sun setting we begin the steep descent to the camp and I pause to take a photo of the camp from a distance. It is so beautifully situated.

We were scheduled to move to Camdeboo Park today near Graaf-Reinet but we are not moving out of range from this good Cradock dentist until my tooth settles. Staying on at beautiful Mountain Zebra is certainly no problem at all.