A rising star with humble beginnings.
The Mountain Zebra National Park had an inauspicious start. Proclaimed in 1937 near the small town of Cradock to protect the then critically endangered Cape Mountain Zebra, the reserve covered only 1,712 hectares and contained only 6 individual animals of its most precious charges.
Gradually the park was expanded, with much public support, and today the Mountain Zebra National Park is a grand showcase spanning across 28,412 hectares of scenic plains and rugged mountains. Located at the interface between the arid Karoo and the central grasslands, the Park is home to at least 680 plant species which in turn provide habitat and sustenance to a myriad of faunal life.
Here, the Cape Mountain Zebra was saved from the brink of extinction and today the Park houses almost 500 individuals, with thousands more now occurring in other National Parks, numerous state-owned reserves and on private land across their former range.
The Park is now large enough to accommodate many other large, charismatic mammals and visitors have an excellent chance of spotting cheetah, black rhino and buffalo among the other natural denizens of South Africa’s central plains – animals like the black wildebeest and blesbok (both species themselves having been virtually wiped out by the early 1900’s), springbok, red hartebeest, eland, kudu and gemsbok and birds such as the ostrich and blue crane.
The South African National Parks provide accommodation and camping in a picturesque rest camp in the centre of the Park while the Doornhoek Guest House, exclusively located some distance further, provides a luxurious alternative to the standard accommodation fare. This Victorian farmstead has been meticulously restored, is a national monument and has been tastefully furnished with all the modern conveniences while retaining its old world charm thanks to the antique period pieces used to decorate both the interior and farmyard.
In recent times the Mountain Zebra National Park has been growing in popularity, and deservedly so. Park management have introduced a number of unique guided activities, such as cheetah tracking and visits to San rock art sites. Spend a few days at “Bergkwagga” (the Afrikaans name for the Mountain Zebra) and it will be a firm favourite for you too!