7. May 2017:

SANParks put out a media piece on the removal of Plains Zebra from Karoo National Park (see below), largely fearing interbreeding between the zebra and the large population of Cape Mountain Zebra. On a recent (end April 2017) stay in the park, we encountered two groups of 2 and 3 of the Plains Zebra to the west of Afsaal Cottage, so obviously 5 at least, evaded capture. 

19th November 2016:

Karoo National Park: In March this year all Burchell's Zebras were removed from the park. (See update of 7th May 2017 above!)

Mountain Zebra National Park: New accommodation is being built at the main camp. Six 1 bedroom cottages and two luxury rock chalets are to be completed by March 2017. 

A few small updates for several parks - 11th May 2016: 

  1. The size of the Mountain Zebra NP  has been increased by 11,778 ha. Both this park and the Camdeboo NP are to be linked to form the Mountain Zebra - Camdeboo Protected Environment (MZCPE). This will cover up to 520,000 ha in a public-private partnership.
  2. Karoo NP - Birds 220, Reptiles 68, Amphibians 11 species. Two mammal species reintroduced: Brown Hyaena, Mountain Reedbuck.
  3. Agulhas NP - Birds 232, 15 chalets in restcamp.
  4. Kgalagadi TFP - Birds 275 spp
  5. Tankwa NP - Birds 187 spp, Common Eland and Cape Mountain Zebra reintroduced. 
  6. Ithala Game Reserve (Natal) - Birds 323, Meller's Mongoose added to mammal list. 
  7. African Striped Weasel (Poecilogale albinucha) now added to faunal lists for: Pilanesberg GR; Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg complex; Bontebok NP; Oorlogskloof NR; De Hoop NR; Cedarberg Wilderness. 
  8. Mountain Zebra NP - add 2 mammal species: Honey Badger (Mellivora capensis) and Plains Zebra. Bird list at 275 species. 
  9. Namaqua NP - The marine component between the Groen and Spoeg rivers has been established. Hartmann's Zebra introduced. 
  10. West Coast NP - size increased by 2,233 ha. Marakele NP size increased by 909 ha. Tankwa Karoo NP size increased by 7,928 ha. Table Mountain NP size increased by 342 ha.
  11. Mountain Zebra NP expanded main camp with more accommodation units. 

Karoo National Park - Additional bird record January 2016:

Hon. Ranger Japie Claassen identifies a new bird for Karoo National Park in January 2016:

Common Cuckoo - Cuculus canorus

OCTOBER 2015 - AGULHAS NATIONAL PARK:

Two new bird records: Red Knot (Calidris canutus) and Hottentot Teal (Anas hottentota)

OCTOBER 2015 - KGALAGADI TRANSFRONTIER PARK:

In August 2001 the Red-necked Buzzard (Buteo auguralis) a raptor of tropical Africa, was recorded from the park but overlooked. There are now several records from different parts of Southern Africa. 

13th June 2015:

GREATER ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK

In the Alexandria Forest section there are two new huts, fully equipped, for exclusive use even if you only book one hut. This is in an excellent bird watching location.

 

BONTEBOK NATIONAL PARK

There is a new entrance gate, Die Stroom, and the old reception building has been closed.

 

AGULHAS NATIONAL PARK

The rest camp now has 15 chalets, with 7 new units recently added.

 

TANKWA KAROO NATIONAL PARK

The bird list now stands at 187 species. Common Eland and Cape Mountain Zebra can be added to the mammal list.

 

ITHALA GAME RESERVE

The bird list now stands at 323 species. Since the reintroduction of 97 Red-billed Oxpeckers in 1994 the population has thrived in tandem with the increase in the big game populations. On the mammal front Meller’s Mongoose has been added to the list having been “caught” recently on an automatic camera trap.  This constitutes a southerly extension of this small carnivores range.  Recent surveys using automatic cameras have determined that this reserve has one of the highest Leopard densities of any conservation area in South Africa, at about 10 individuals to each 100 sq km, thus around 30 of these cats in Ithala.

 

REAL ESTATE ENLARGED

A total of 41 850 ha has been added to the national park real estate recently, including 2233 ha to WEST COAST NATIONAL PARK; 909 ha to MARAKELE NATIONAL PARK; 11 778 ha to MOUNTAIN ZEBRA NATIONAL PARK; 4048 ha to TANKWA KAROO NATIONAL PARK; 7928ha to RICHTERSVELD NATIONAL PARK; TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK gained 342 ha and NAMAQUA NATIONAL PARK now has the marine component of the admiralty zone between the Groen and Spoeg rivers formally protected.

National Parks and Nature Reserves: A South African Field Guide 

AUGRABIES FALLS NATIONAL PARK - NEW 4X4 ROUTE - MARCH 2015:

A new 4x4 route has now been opened to the public in the game park area, see the updated map:

An exclusion zone was fenced off in the western section of the park to protect the quiver trees. 

We would also like to include a map here to show the walking trails accessible from the main tourist camp:

African Weasel (Striped Weasel)  Poecilogale albinucha has now been recorded in several additional conservation areas covered in this guide and should be added to checklists for the following: Pilanesberg; Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg; Bontebok; Oorlogskloof; De Hoop; Cedarberg. This species is apparently increasing its range in the west of South Africa. (March 2015)

KGALAGADI TRANSFRONTIER PARK - NEW LODGES - MARCH 2015:

There are two new lodges on the Botswana side of this Park: Tashebube Rooiputs Lodge (near the Rooiputs campsite in the southern section) and Tashebube Polentswa Lodge (north of Nossob camp). Bookings are organised through the Botswana Parks Authorities. 

KGALAGADI TRANSFRONTIER PARK - ELEPHANT RECORD - JANUARY 2015:

Elephant are not usually associated with the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park but recently an elephant bull traversed the park, 50 km north of the Mata Mata rest camp. It then walked through the border fence and entered Namibia. The last time an elephant was recorded in the park was 18 years ago. The nearest elephant populations are far to the north or north-east and one has to wonder why one animal is motivated to go on such an extensive walkabout. Permanent elephant populations are located at Kaudom in north-east Namibia, Chobe and Tuli in Botswana. A long march indeed. 

MOUNTAIN ZEBRA NATIONAL PARK - ADDITIONAL ACCOMMODATION - DECEMBER 2014:

Two mountain cottages are now available: Bakana and Umthombo. They are situated away from the main camp, only reachable by 4x4 or 4x2 vehicle with diff lock. Both sleep up to 10 people (2 bedrooms and 1 room with 6 bunkbeds). 

KAROO NATIONAL PARK – ADDITIONAL SPECIES RECORDS – NOVEMBER 2014:

(SANParks; Hon.Rangers; C&M Stuart)

Additional bird records

The following species have only been recorded as rare vagrants to the park; in other words often only once!

Southern Pochard – Bruineend – Netta erythrophthalma

Saddle-billed Stork – Saalbekooievaar – Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis

European Honey Buzzard – Wespedief – Pernis apivorus

Brown Snake Eagle – Bruinslangarend – Circaetus cinereus

Bateleur – Berghaan – Terathopius ecaudatus

Black Sparrowhawk – Swartsperwer – Accipiter melanoleucus

Amur Falcon – Oostelike rooipootvalk – Falco amurensis

Garden Warbler – Tuinsanger – Sylvia borin

Orange-breasted Sunbird – Oranjeborssuikerbekkie – Anthobaphes violacea

African Firefinch – Kaapse vuurvinkie – Lagonosticta rubricata

Village Indigobird – Staalblouvinkie – Vidua chalybeata

The following are considered to be rare visitors to, or residents in the park:

Pearl-breasted Swallow – Perelborsswael – Hirundo dimidiata

Buffy Pipit – Vaalkoester – Anthus vaalensis

Swee Waxbill – Suidelike swie – Coccopygia melanotis

Cape Spurfowl – Kaapse fisant – Pternistis capensis – mainly restricted to wooded river courses, such as Afsaal and Bulskraal.

Additional recent records:

Fiery-necked Nightjar – Afrikaanse naguil – Caprimulgas pectoralis – Gamka River area, Bulkraal, river course at Afsaal.

Neddicky – Neddikkie – Cisticola fulvicapilla – Bulkraal

Black Cuckooshrike – Swartkatakoeroe – Campephaga flava­ – Klipspringer Pass

Blue Waxbill – Gewone blousysie – Uraeginthus angolensis – Bulkraal (Possible escape as far outside range, as several kept by cagebird enthusiasts in nearby Beaufort West.)

Additional reptile records:

Thin-skinned Gecko – Dunvelgeitjie – Pachydactylus kladaroderma

Purcell’s Gecko – Purcell se geitjie – Pachydactylus purcelli

Spiny Ground Agama – Stekelkoggelmander – Agama hispida

Karoo Sandveld Lizard – Karoosandveldakkedis – Nucras livida

Common Sand Lizard – Gewone Sandakkedis – Pedioplanus pulchella

Striped Legless Skink – Gestreepte pootlose skink – Microacontias lineatus

Fisk’s House Snake – Fisk’s huisslang – Lamprophis fiskii

Striped Skaapsteker – Gestreepte Skaapsteker – Psammophylax tritaeniatus

Common Tiger Snake – Gewone Tierslang – Telescopus semiannulatus

Additional amphibian records:

Southern Pygmy Toad – Suidelike Dwergskurwepadda -  Vandijkophrynus vertebralis

Namaqua Caco – Namakwablikslaner – Cacosternum namaquense

Cape Sand Frog – Kaapse Sandpadda – Tomopterna delalandii

 August 2014:

Mountain Zebra National Park:

The following species can now be added to the Mammal Checklist:

  • Honey Badger / Ratel Mellivora capensis
  • Plains Zebra Equus quagga

Karoo National Park: 

As of this month 12 lions are present in the park. The following species can now be added to the mammal checklist for the park: Brown Hyaena and Mountain Reedbuck. 

Two rustic cottages (Afsaal and Embizweni) are now available for overnight stays, book with reception directly.

Here is an updated version of the park map, a few additional 4x4 trails have been opened:

 

Addo National Park

The southern Colchester section is now open to the main game area for free movement of all species, a few extra roads have also been opened there, see the following updated map:

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July 2014:

Namaqua National Park

Hartmann's Mountain Zebra Equus zebra hartmannae have been reintroduced. 

Mokala National Park

Exclusive Kameeldoorn Tree House now open, it overlooks a waterhole. Online booking for this is not possible and the minimum stay is 2 nights. 

Oribi Gorge:

Oribi Vulture Viewing Hide (Cape Vultures) just outside reserve boundary. Must be booked in advance. 


June 2014:

Recent taxonomic changes to the tree genus Acacia, indicate that all African members now fall into one of two genera, namely Vachellia or Senegalia. The only exceptions in South Africa are the various Australian exotics which remain within the genus Acacia. These changes will be implemented in a second edition but a date for this has not been decided.

Eastern Cape

Addo Elephant National Park

1. The fence between the main game area and the southern Colchester sector has been removed and allows for free movement of game between the two areas.

2. The Spekboom Tented Camp is located at the Spekboom hide in the heart of the northern game area. A camp and caravan park is being developed at the Matyholweni Rest Camp.

3. As of 2014 the Elephant population stands at around 600 individuals. There is some debate as to whether this is sustainable in the long term with the population continuing to grow and despite the addition of the Colchester sector to their range.

Mountain Zebra National Park

1. Hiking is no longer permitted except in the company of a ranger.

2. Lion have been reintroduced to the park, 2 males and 1 female.  Cheetah have settled well and are breeding. Brown Hyaena have also been reintroduced. Red Hartebeest are common and this antelope was left off the checklist in error.

Camdeboo National Park

1. Although a great number of accommodation options are available in Graaff-Reinet there is now a campsite (Nqweba) and the Lakeview Tented Camp both located close to the park offices and reception building.

Northern Cape

Tankwa Karoo National Park

1. Common Eland should be added to the mammal list. It is planned to reintroduce Cheetah and Brown Hyaena to the park.

Mokala National Park

1. Early 2014 the area covered by the park is 27 571 ha but expansion plans continue.

Namaqua National Park

1. The Namaqua Flowers Tented Camp (10 tents) is seasonal and is fully catered. Along the coast there are nine small and basic campgrounds, accessed by poor roads and most require high clearance or 4x4 vehicles.