08 December 2010 by Julienne du Toit

The Far Horizons

For someone used to spotting game in the dense thorny thickets of the bushveld, the Mountain Zebra National Park comes as something of a surprise.

It’s set in the wide, arid Karoo, offering high plateaux and enormous open valleys. From one viewpoint alone you can see 7 magisterial districts. So game drives are not so much about getting two millimetres up a beast’s nose for fabulous close-ups. Here, they’re really about capturing said beast as part of a great landscape setting.

By the time you’re a half a kilometre away, you can see exactly what you’re going to get in your camera’s viewfinder - a curious mountain zebra or three, perhaps an eland family, or scimitar-horned oryx, a troop of frivolous black wildebeest, or a herd of springbok in a playful mood.

The real effort goes into making sure you have the right backdrop for your pictures. You’re on something of a scenic safari.

Fortunately, the mountains in this part of the world - called the Bankberge - are rather handsome.

On summer afternoons, the thunderheads rise over them, and the magical stormlight turns everything photogenic - even the anthills.

In winter, the highest peaks have their own little snowcaps, and the air is so fresh and clear you feel you could reach out and tap it, like a crystal glass.

To find out more, look up www.sanparks.org.

Category: Wildlife

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