Mountain Zebra National Park – never a dull moment

There's a chance to go on a drive to track and see this collared cheetah.

There's a chance to go on a drive to track and see this collared cheetah.

Published Sep 17, 2017


There are as many things to do at the Mountain Zebra National Park in the Eastern Cape as there are stripe patterns on a zebra.

The park outside Cradock has 100km stretches of roads to traverse, with 70% easily accessible in a regular car.

But, there are three fantastic 4x4 loops of various lengths and degrees of difficulty for off-road enthusiasts to enjoy.

Given the smaller size of Mountain Zebra Park, at under 29 000 hectares, the visitors’ chance of sighting game, especially those rarer animals such as lion and cheetah on anyone’s tick list, is greater.

It is the only national park to offer a cheetah tracking activity. Guests can go out on a game drive vehicle with an experienced guide who tracks the park’s collared cheetah using a telemetry radio.

Once signal strength is strong; the group can go off on foot in search, likely to see cheetah in their natural environment - sometimes getting as close as 20m.

Do remember though that these are wild animals, so sightings cannot be guaranteed.

As its name suggests, the park boasts more than 1 000 Cape mountain zebra, a once-endangered species, so this is a sure event.

Also likely are sightings of other popular antelope species like black wildebeest, red hartebeest, springbok, kudu and many others.

Three guided game drive options are offered daily - in the morning, at sunset and at night.

A hike or shorter walk provides the ideal opportunity to enjoy nature and get to know the park better.

There are two short walking trails within the fenced rest camp that can be tackled unaided.

The 1km Imbila Trail is an easy, flat trail and the 2.5km Black Eagle Trail is a more challenging climb to the top of a rocky outcrop with spectacular views over the park.

Alternatively, go out with a guide and ascend Salpeterkop for a magnificent view over the park and a rare view of an Anglo-Boer War relic, or visit San cave paintings for some cultural history on the park.

If you want to apply for the cheetah tracking and walking/hiking activities please note that these are for guests between the ages 12 and 65. Fit visitors over 65 can participate on presentation of a doctor’s certificate.

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