After leaving Van Staden’s, we set off for Cradock and the adjacent Mountain Zebra National Park, where we spent four very comfortable nights in one of the new Rock Chalets. The park is set in Karoo mountains with extensive surrounding plains which abound with Mountain Zebra, Springbok, Black Wildebeest and many other species. We were concentrating on birding as 1 March was the starting day for our Big Birding Year Southern African Challenge.
On our first morning we went on a three hour walk in the park commencing at first light. Imagine our surprise, on rounding a bend in the path, to find a pair of Buffalo bulls glowering at us! We quickly made a detour around them and set off up a mountain. It was a stiff walk, but did not produce much more in the way of animal confrontations, but we really enjoyed every minute of it and manged to see a few good birds and animals.
Our days were spent driving through the park looking for good sightings of the local wildlife. Birding was a bit disappointing, in that we only achieved 83 species in four days of intense searching, but we nevertheless got some good species.
A night drive on Sunday was interesting in that we saw no less than four Aardwolf, a relatively shy and seldom seen member of the Hyena family. We also saw many other small nocturnal animals, but only one owl.