Bontebok Park is near the town of Swellendam and was proclaimed in the 1930’s to protect the antelope that gives the park its name. The last 17 Bontebok in the wild were saved and the numbers have now climbed to around 3000 worldwide. Conservation successes such as these should be treasured and the model used with other critically endangered creatures around the world.
After checking in at reception, it wasn’t long before I got my first shots of the comical-looking Bontebok. They’re very graceful antelope as they go about foraging on the flats of the park. It was the first time I had laid eyes on this species and was a pleasure to spend time with a lone male. Another first for me was the Cape Mountain Zebra as it crossed in front of the car on its way to pastures new. I’d take quite a few firsts on this trip as I also got great shots of the Red Hartebeest, Grey Rhebok and a wonderful albeit brief encounter with a Caracal
A snake in the camp
Our stay in the only camp in the park, Lang Elsie’s Kraal was surprisingly pleasant. This camp, named after the khoi-khoi chieftainess who ruled this area many years before, was quite modern and had comfortable chalets with wonderful vistas over the park. After cooling down with a swim in a local dam, we encountered numerous squawking Masked Weaver (birds), and I got to see my first Boomslang (translated to Tree snake). I managed to get a few shots off, all the while trying to calm my lovely wife down. The snake then disappeared into a tree, much to the consternation for the nesting bird populations.
Bontebok is the smallest of South Africa’s 20 National Parks and can thus be done as a day trip. We decided to stay the night as the next park of our trip would see us make a journey to another of South Africa’s wonderful Parks. See the Mountain Zebra Trip post
Bontebok, Cape Mountain Zebra, Red Hartebeest, Grey Rhebok, Black-backed Jackal, and Caracal.
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