Thursday, 21 October 2010

Zebra National Park reopens after fatality

Closed after hiker killed by a buffalo

Short hiking trails in the Mountain Zebra National Park have reopened to visitors following their closure in mid July after a fatal incident between a hiker and a buffalo bull.

The 1km Imbila Hiking Trail and 2.5 km Black Eagle which start and end at the rest camp area, have reopened after fencing of the entire rest camp area and short hiking trail area.

A 4.2km electrified fence was constructed over a period of two weeks, at a cost of more than R250 000 (£23,000). The fence encloses the cottages, reception area, swimming pool, camping ground and short hiking trails. The electrified fence was constructed at a low level in front of the cottages so that it will not interfere with the scenic view from the accommodation units.

New fence excludes large wildlife
‘We are very pleased to be able to once again offer visitors the chance to experience the park on foot,' said Park Manager, Lesley-Ann Meyer. She added that the short hiking trails, which are available to visitors at no extra cost, have always been a popular way to experience the bush and the scenic Karoo landscapes in the park.

Although the fence excludes large wildlife, visitors will still be able to look out for spoor and signs of animals such as kudu, common duiker and steenbok on the short hiking trails. Small mammals such as rock dassie, scrub hare, cape hare, porcupine, ground squirrel, meerkat, and grey and yellow mongoose are also found in the area as well as vervet monkey and baboon.

The two longer hiking trails: the 10km Idwala Trail and three-day, 25km Impofu Trail remain closed at present and will reopen later in the year as guided hiking trails. Visitors will be accompanied by an armed guide on these trails.

Mountain Zebra National Park is located near the town of Cradock in the Eastern Cape and conserves more than 28,000 hectares.

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