South Africa - Spring 2006 travel blog

RV and zebra

mountain zebra





thorn bush

scenic drive

wildebeest and springboek

After a day of intoxicating animal viewing, we headed off to Mountain Zebra National Park, about a 240 kilometer drive. We only passed through one significant town and had been warned that the RV group had suffered a theft when parked at the grocery store there last year, so we only stopped for gas. Although the people there appeared poor, they were buzzing around living their lives and did not appear ominous to us at all. The gas attendant cleaned our windshield within an inch of its life and galloped out to us as we pulled away to return the change that we had meant for him to keep. The gas station bathroom had toilet paper and soap. What more could you ask for?

As we drove inland the clouds that have been keeping us cool for the last few days disappeared, but the air turned dry and the 85 degree temperature was comfortable. Zebra NP is so small it does not appear in our guidebook, but that meant that we had the place all to ourselves. The fact that it was a ten mile drive down a dirt road may also have had something to do with it. We were advised that there were two loops to drive - one for viewing animals and one for scenic overlooks. As we began the animal loop we were afraid that we would be taking those infamous brown speck, white speck, black speck photos. But as we lurched down the dirt road, the photo opportunities improved and we took our usual way too many shots. It's so nice to tour on our own, taking the time we need and only have to wrestle with one another for the car window with the best views. The zebras which the park was named after, were at the end of the loop and cavorted with the wildebeest and springbok without showing any fear of us.

Then we tried the scenic road. I cannot remember a roller coaster ride as thrilling. The road was steep, narrow, full of rocks, crossed by flowing streams that had carved deep gullies, and took us up to 5,340 feet according to our GPS. Of course, there were no guard rails on this treacherous drive, but we and our top heavy RV came through just fine with the Wiseman at the wheel. Some of the water filled gullies spelled strongly of cat urine and I wondered who was lurking in the nearby bushes, casting a lazy eye at us. This reminded me why it is forbidden to get our of your vehicle as you tour these animal parks.

In the evening we had a braai (barbecue) at the campground. Lamb is commonly available here and I've grown much too fond of it. There's no way I can afford lamb at home. A local singing group performed for us, singing in their language. Since they are Xohsa, it involved a lot of clicking sounds. Intriguing, but impossible for me to duplicate it. There are numerous warning signs around our campground to be aware of the monekys. As I was brushing my teeth I gazed out the window and a monkey was gazing in at me. My neighbors shouted a tme to close the door before he got inside. Who knows what he would have decided was worth taking with him...

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