Impofu hiking trail in Mountain Zebra National Park

The three-day Impofu hiking trail has reopened in Mountain Zebra National Park after being closed since July last year following the death of a hiker attacked by a buffalo on one of the trails.  The 25km hiking trail, which goes through the 28 000 hectare park, including its highest peak, Bakenkop, will now operate as a guided trail.

Day one of the hike will pass through grassland and mountains, passing the park’s Big Rock.  On day two hikers will have the chance to view herds of eland and mountain reedbuck.  The final day of the hike will pass through riverine thicket and end at the Mountain Zebra National Park rest camp.  Two mountain cottages, which can accommodate 10 hikers, will be available for the overnight stop.  The huts will be equipped with solar-powered fridge facilities and gas cookers, and feature an outside braai area.  Hikers must bring their own provisions and bedding, and need to be 16 years or older to participate.

Established in 1937, this Eastern Cape nature reserve, consists of beautiful plains, scenic mountain landscapes, ravines with Karoo vegetation and wooded valleys.  The Mountain Zebra National Park is a place of rolling plains, craggy hills and deep valleys, and has become a haven for the Cape Mountain Zebra.  The Park has saved these animals from extinction, presently accommodating a population of about 300.  Other mammals found in this Eastern Cape game reserve include the Cape Buffalo, Black Rhino, Cheetah, Caracal, Black Wildebeest, Eland, Red Hartebeest and Gemsbok.  The higher areas of the park are home to Mountain Reedbuck and Grey Rhebok.

The highlight of your journey to Mountain Zebra National Park is the 300 plus Cape Mountain Zebra after which the park is named.  The difference between these Zebra and Burchell’s Zebra are narrower stripes, the absence of shadow stripes in Cape Zebra and orange facial coloring.  In the wooded valleys, guests can search for Kudu, African Buffalo and Black Rhino.  Cheetah and Caracal are the main predators in this National Park.

In the Eastern Cape, guests can enjoy warm summers and cold winter nights.  Rainfall averages about 400 mm per annum, with regular snowfall on the high lying areas.  Mountain Zebra National Park is home to an impressive diversity of bird life.  Guests traveling through this area could spot Blue Crane, Ostrich, Stanley’s bustard, Secretary bird, woodpecker, Large-Billed and Eastern Long-Billed lark, Rock-Thrush, Mountain Wheatear and the Orange-breasted Rockjumper, to name a few.  The Park boasts a rich variety of flora, and in spring the veld is covered by the glorious shades and hues of flowers.  Fynbos and renosterveld bush flourish in the temperate climate, with rains coming mainly during the early summer and winter months.

Spring Fling Spectacular Specials at Gondwana Game Reserve

Its incredible how many fantastic offers we get during Spring.  Its such an amazing time of the year in South Africa.  Save ZAR 1 600.00 per person this spring, staying in luxury on a 11 000 hectare private reserve with free roaming big five.  Celebrate spring and let your love bloom at Gondwana when you book the Romantic Blossom Package, saving ZAR 7 400.00.  Gondwana is the ideal romantic break for couple’s looking to embrace romance.  Relax around the pool between game drives or horseback safaris and enjoy the privacy of your own five-star Kwena Hut, with king-size bed, open shower and bath.  The rate includes all meals, two game activities per day and luxury accommodation, and is valid now until 15 October 2011.  Contact Road Travel today to book your stay, and you might be lucky enough to be treated to a complimentary 30 minute spa treatment in the Kwena Africology Spa.

Situated in the heart of the Garden Route, you will find a beautiful piece of land that will stir your senses. Set on 11,000-hectares, Gondwana Game Reserve holds the distinction of being the only Fynbos reserve in the world with free roaming Big Five game as well as endangered species like the Cape Mountain Zebra, Black Rhinoceros, and Black Harrier among many others.  Its breathtaking beauty will sooth and delight you with its endless mountain views and green rolling hills blanketed in colourful fynbos.  The reserve is accessibly situated 25 minutes outside the charming coastal town of Mossel Bay and a mere 4 hours drive from Cape Town. It shares the areas’ idyllic climate, second most moderate in the world, and is Malaria-free, offering prime year round game viewing.

The reserve is named after “Gondwanaland”, the original landmass that existed one hundred and twenty million years ago from which Africa was formed.  The Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountain ranges that surround the reserve are the last visible evidence of the former Gondwanaland after the continent split to how we know it today.

There are gorgeous deep valleys, ravines, hills, mountains and open plain areas, providing excellent terrain for driving and guided walking safaris. Numerous fountains, streams and dams allow for spectacular settings for viewing hides.  The Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountain Ranges overlook the reserve from the North, East, and West providing spectacular backdrops for your wildlife photography and sunset views.  The Indian Ocean can also be seen from certain elevated areas on the reserve.  Guided horse-back safaris, guided Fynbos walks, fishing and mountain biking are available in the 1000 hectare walking area situated within the reserve, fast becoming Gondwana’s most popular outdoor activities offered within the fully inclusive rate.  Safaris are conducted in open game viewing vehicles.

Gondwana Game Reserve has a unique combination of Fynbos and grass plains.  Fynbos, the primary vegetation on the reserve, is endemic to the Western Cape region and exists nowhere else in the world, drawing unique bird life and mammals.  An abundance of Protea and other wildflowers provide year round enjoyment and color.  Fynbos, meaning “fine bush” in Afrikaans is the natural shrubland or heathland vegetation occurring in a small belt of the Western Cape of South Africa, mainly in winter rainfall coastal and mountainous areas with a Mediterranean climate.

The Kwena Huts are a modern and luxurious twist on the traditional Khoi-San dwelling.  Kwena Camp facilities include a large pool, a chic open-plan lounge and bar, with food and beverage services offered in an elegant and intimate dining room set around open fireplaces, the outdoor boma, or private in room dining.  Guests are treated to surprise bush breakfasts, romantic picnics, evening barbecues and scenic sundowner spots.  The Khoi San inspired main lodge offers luxuriously appointed private suites overlooking two waterholes across the valley onto the mountains which once formed part of the famous landmass known as Gondwanaland.

Gondwana’s goal is to continue to expand its total conservation area to provide the Western Cape with a large eco-tourism destination for the promotion of indigenous flora and fauna as well as the rehabilitation of wetland areas currently under threat from invasive alien species.  Gondwana has already reintroduced the first endangered black rhino to the Western Cape from where they historically occurred.  In developing the reserve, every attempt was made to reduce potential impact on the environment.  Areas of indigenous vegetation were protected and left untouched.  Gondwana’s water supply is completely self-sufficient utilizing its own streams.  Strict water usage controls and restrictions are applied to all buildings to preserve this natural resource.