A feast for your eyes:
A Cape Mountain Zebra standing among the thorny Vachellia trees. Its face bears scars from previous wounds, including what must have been a cut, the scar of which has caused a misalignment of the narrow facial stripes.
The bleached yellow or straw-coloured grass is a striking feature of the Mountain Zebra National Park during the winter – along with icy temperatures. The Springbok in the foreground is lying down to seek respite from the latter.
So are these Red Hartebeest, with a single Springbok to keep them company.
This almost colourless grass covers the valleys and spreads up the hillsides onto the plateau. A Mountain Zebra appears to be standing guard over a small herd of Red Hartebeest.
Despite its desiccated appearance, the grass is still nutritious for grazers, as this zebra demonstrates.
As do these herds of mixed antelope on the plateau.
The early morning and late afternoon light turns the grass into spun gold.
No two zebras look alike, which makes it compelling to photograph the different patterns they display. Apart from that, I enjoy finding an individual with something different about it. During our visit to the Mountain Zebra National Park, this zebra caught my eye as it has somehow lost the tuft at the end of its tail.
This must be a nuisance when it comes to fending off flies, for example. It was soon enjoying a dust bath in a dry dam.
Several others in the herd were doing the same.
Appropriately, the last animal we saw as we were leaving the park was a Cape Mountain Zebra walking away from us: a fine farewell to a beautiful place and these fascinating animals.
Appropriately the first animals we spotted after entering the Mountain Zebra National Park were … Cape Mountain Zebras.
The grey sky had nothing to do with rain and everything to do with cold weather: the temperature was -6°C when we set out for our early morning drive.
Not that the zebras seemed to mind the cold. The Red Hartebeest, on the other hand, are huddling in the dry grass to protect themselves a little from the icy wind which swept through the valley.
Note the horizontal stripes that extend right down to the hooves of the Cape Mountain Zebra. You can also see the dewlap on this one’s throat.
These zebras sport a characteristically reddish colour around their muzzles.
Cape Mountain Zebras mainly eat grass, bark leaves and occasionally roots.
Here a curious herd keeps an eye on us.
One cannot help admiring the beautiful area they call home.
It is time for this foal to have its breakfast.
The foal has a woolly covering to help it deal with the icy conditions of winter.
The striking black and white stripes of the zebra are used all over the world for textiles, ceramics, advertising, and for popular soft toys. I would have preferred this zebra-motif on a duvet if it was printed to run across the bed – perhaps the designer wanted to give the impression of zebras in the bed. If you look closely you will see two toy zebras peeping out.
The design is based on the common Burchell’s Zebra – this one is in the Addo Elephant National Park.
Another zebra we see here is the Cape Mountain Zebra, which has broader stripes. This one is in the Mountain Zebra National Park.
Here is a close view of the toy zebras peeping out of the bed.