If you’re anything like me I’m sure there are plenty of things you have every good intention of doing but for some reason just never get around to actually doing. This post is one of those things. In June last year (yes, 11 months ago!) I visited the Mountain Zebra National Park and the only reason I’m even getting onto it now is because I’m planning another game lodge visit later this month. What a place to unwind.
Having just jetted from Cape Town to Joburg for a wedding, then from Joburg to East London before a trip to my grandparent’s farm in Stutterheim, I can say I was quite tired from the hustle and bustle of a real whirlwind holiday. The stay at the park, just outside of the sleepy town of Cradock, was a welcomed treat.
From the outset the stint in the park set me in such a lazy mood, the good kind of lazy mood, if you know what I mean. Chilling on the porch with the valleys splaying in the view in front of me I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be in that moment. The accommodations are modest but still have everything you need to cover your creature comforts. Visiting in winter the view can seem a bit stark but there’s beauty in that. The cold, however, is something you might need a layer or two for, though.
One of the best things about this trip was that it was a real family reunion kind of vibe as we gathered to celebrate my grandfather’s 80th birthday – quite a milestone. In fact, the word reunion is maybe a stretch because I was actually meeting some of these people for the first time, in this party of 20-odd of us. However, by the end of the trip it was clear – we were indeed family and the massive communal braais, chilling out on a different porch every night and even the littlest of interactions proved that blood is definitely the best bond of all.
So, what about the game drive, you might be asking. Be sure that the park has an abundance of wildlife sure to titillate even hardcore lodge visitors, even without the boast of the big 5. You’ll see Mountain Zebras and buck for days, of course, but they also have a few rarities like lions and cheetah, a rhino here and there and strings of water buffalo. The rangers are friendly and knowledgeable and the drives aren’t that expensive either.
On-site there are a few walking paths and trails, one of which I turned into an early-morning trail run. Do yourself a favour and hit them up nice and early and you’ll get to take in the pink hew of the sun kissing the folds of mountain all around the site as it makes its ascent into the morning sky. Breathe in deep and enjoy that “I’m alive” feeling. Or, just kick back and chill by the pool, whatever floats your boat, I say…