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Mountain Zebra National Park may be unique in having as many as 20 species of birds endemic to Southern Africa in its avifauna. The Park lies about 20 km south-west of Cradock in the Eastern Karoo. It consists of a rugged landscape of mountains, grassy plains, bushy hillsides and rocky gorges, bisected through the centre by the Wilgerboom River with its densely wooded banks. Good roads through the reserve enable the visitor to cover most of the main habitats, and there are many interesting walks. The birdlife is excellent everywhere and a stay of four or five days is recommended - longer if you can spare the time. A list of well over 100 species is easily attainable in a three-day stay.

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Specials

These include several species of lark (Eastern Clapper Lark, Eastern Long-billed Lark, Large-billed Lark, and Melodious Lark) as well as Sickle-winged Chat; Layard's Tit-Babbler, Namaqua Warbler, Fairy Flycatcher, African Rock Pipit, Pale-winged Starling and several others. Seasonally one may also encounter Lark-like Bunting and there is a small breeding population of European Bee-eater in summer.

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Habitats

Dense riverine bush, bushy hillsides, rocky cliffs and gorges, high grassy mountaintops, karoo scrubland and a large dam which fills with water after rain. African Spoonbill and heron nest at the dam when it contains water.

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Facilities

These include one of the best campsites in south Africa where the birds are abundant and tame, very nice luxury chalets, good roads, spectacular scenery, the Mountain Zebra Trail, a fine restaurant, a shop and an abundance of game.

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Birding

A map of the park is available from the Reception desk. The main circular drive takes one through almost every kind of habitat available. Walks from the campsite cover most habitats and may be strenuous or leisurely, as one chooses. The hillside behind the hutted camp has African Rock Pipit.

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General

Accommodation
Bookings for chalet accommodation or a campsite can be made through the South African National Parks Reservations Office,

Reservations Office Details
Tel +27 12 428 9111
Fax +27 12 343 0905
email:
website: SA Parks Website

Park Contact Details
The park can be contacted directly on
Tel: +27 48 881 2427/3434
Fax: +27 48 881 3943

Directions
From Cradock take the N10 towards Middelburg, then turn left onto the R61, following the road sign to Graaff-Reinet; after a few kilometres turn left at the sign to Mountain Zebra National Park onto a good gravel road which takes you straight to the park entrance. From Graaff-Reinet take the N9 towards Middelburg, turning onto the R61 to Cradock near Bethesda Road; after about 70 kilometers turn right at the sign to Mountain Zebra National Park.

Arnold van der Westhuisen 2008
Gordon Maclean 1997.



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