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Endangered Bontebok

Endangered Bontebok

endangered Bontebok
The adorable, curious, endangered Bontebok

Bontebok pronounced Bont-ē-bock.

Found in the fynbos (shrubland) of the Western Cape, the Bontebok are an endangered antelope. The area was proclaimed a national park in the 1930’s to protect the last 30 Bontebok remaining in the wild. Now, in the park, there are over 200 Bontebok and several dozen were just located to other protected areas as their numbers have expanded to the point of out-eating their food supply in this relatively contained environment. Bontebok National Park is also home to 11 Cape Mountain Zebras, another endangered species.

The Bontebok. What a beautiful and curious animal! They seem more like a cross between a horse, a cow, an antelope and a goat. While hiking in Bontebok National Park, we happened upon a small herd. They stand and snort then run back a few steps, snort some more, run back some more. Clearly, they’re giving a warning that we’re supposed to back off despite their harmless and gentle appearance.

Lodging at Bontebok National Park -Lang Elsies Restcamp

We *love* Bontebok National Park, the smallest of all the national parks in South Africa, this is a place I’d revisit. Add to it, the nearby town of Swellendam is charming. Seriously stunning and unique fynbos and birds a’plenty nirvanasize (I just made that up) this place for nature enthusiasts. Those two beauties (below) were hanging outside our cabin.

Canary? Weaver? I’ve had a difficult time identifying this bird. The red eyes are throwing me off. Help?
Cape Sparrow
Cape Sparrow

Rating our chalet (scale of 1-6) at the Lang Elsies Restcamp

Cleanliness: 6
Yup. It was clean.

General Accommodations: 4
The cabin is fabulous. Considered a luxury accommodation, one will pay about $85.00US. We had #6, and on the edge of the deck there’s a decent view of the Breede River. Beds, fairly comfy with lots of blankets. Screens on windows. Big sliding doors onto the deck. A fully equipped kitchen, a futon sofa, cabinets for storing clothes, big comfy wooden chairs on the deck. Hanging on the wall was a battery-operated pump that shot insecticide into the air. I took it apart but remain frustrated that this place, according to Lonely Planet, has a “walk lightly upon the earth” motto.  Having poison shot into the air every 10 minutes isn’t my idea of walking lightly upon the earth.

Construction – the morning calm was cut short by construction workers who parked directly in front of our chalet and started talking very loudly. They woke a baby two cabins down from us. Between the loud talking, the screaming child and the equipment that sent a discordant vibration through my brain, the tranquil morning turned slightly chaotic. OTHERWISE, this will be a great place to stay (make sure you disconnect the poisonous spray) when the construction is finished.

General Environs:  6
I love the park. The hiking trails are fabulous. We took the Red Trail which was about 6 miles but mostly because the last part of our journey back to the chalet was via the road (longer loop around the camp) where we saw the gorgeous Bontebok.

Slideshow of our chalet at Lang Elsies Restcamp

Exploring Bontebok National Park and Trails

Aloe plant
Aloe is a funny plant. It both hurts and heals. Supposedly certain antelope species EAT it to make their blood bitter to ticks.
This bridge seems on the verge of collapse, which added to the excitement of our fynbos walk.
My man leading the way on our hike. I’m a slow poke busily taking photos and looking at bugs.
You know I like this- recycle bins. We walked for a few miles on a trail and ended up at a gorgeous river-side picnic area. We did not swim but it was allowed at this spot. Too ccccold.
Breede River Bontebok National Park
Breede River
Another view of the Breede River
Garden Locust
Garden Locust, Acanthacris ruficornis subsp. ruficornis – according to Bugman at What’s That Bug (FABULOUS site for bug identification)

Bontebok! I am in love with the Bontebok.
Swaths of Fynbos and herds of Red Hartebeest and Bontebok
Fynbos, herds of Red Hartebeest and Bontebok
Grey Rhebok
This handsome boy is called a Grey Rhebok – and yet another new species for us to appreciate!
Bontebok. It’s fun to see and say.
Stunning Fynbos of the Western Cape
Stunning Fynbos of the Western Cape
Bontebok National Park
This (formerly) white Hyunda i20 is lookin’ good on this reddish gravel road in Bontebok National Park.
Fynbos of Bontebok National Park
Fynbos! Just as fun to say as Bontebok.
Erica also called Cape Heaths
As far as the pink could see. This flowering plant is called Erica aka Cape Heaths.
There’s a Bontebok who was semi-hiding behind that small tree. See him peeking out at us?

Bontebok National Park was the last overnight stop of our 9-day journey along the Western, Southern and Eastern Capes. With only about a week left in our SA adventure, we’ll be back to explore some more of Cape Town. It’s been incredible. Life is good.


If education really educates, there will, in time, be more and more citizens who understand that relics of the old West add meaning and value to the new. Youth yet unborn will pole up the Missouri with Lewis and Clark, or climb the Sierras with James Capen Adams, and each generation in turn will ask: Where is the big white bear? It will be a sorry answer to say he went under while conservationists weren’t looking.
~Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac (I love this book btw)

When it comes to species becoming endangered, I’ve heard folks say, this is God’s will or we just have to let nature take its course. First off, “it”, in my opinion, has nothing to do with “God’s will” and most everything to do with humans making choices. Secondly, it’s not nature’s course we’re taking, it’s human’s course. At some point, I hope our human tribe wakes up, stands up and takes responsibility for our behaviors. How many animals have to go extinct before we do that? Or will we make our own species extinct while living in blissful denial there’s a universal issue and while simultaneously battling one another for rights to resources that weren’t ours to begin with? No, I still have faith in our species to do what’s right and what’s best for all of earth’s inhabitants.


Photos, videos and stuff*** Please contact me for permission to use images and text for commercial or private use. And please do follow this blog and/or write comments. A million five-hundred thanks. Check out the other South Africa posts below:

South Africa Post #1: Our first Kruger National Park Safari
South Africa Post #2: Babysitting a Banded Mongoose Pup in Marloth Park
South Africa Post #3: When Zebras Visit
South Africa Post #4: Daily Living in Marloth Park, South Africa
South Africa Post #5: Kruger Restcamps: Skukuza, Satara and Olifants
South Africa Post #6: Kruger Safari: Full Moon over Letaba
South Africa Post #7: Kruger Safari: Treasure Hunting in Tamboti and Lower Sabie
South Africa Post #8: There’s a Mongoose in my Ear!
South Africa Post #9: Peering through God’s Window at Blyde River Canyon
South Africa Post #10: The Dam Boat Tour at Blyde River Canyon
South Africa Post #11: Rare Sexual Encounters of South Africa
South Africa Post #12: To the Wildlife of Marloth Park
South Africa Post #13: Nelspruit to Cape Town
South Africa Post #14: Moved to Tears on Freedom Day
South Africa Post #15: Penguins in South Africa?
South Africa Post #16: The Southernmost Tip of Africa
South Africa Post #17Birds of Eden at Plettenberg Bay
South Africa Post #18: Dear South Africa: I love you, but…
South Africa Post #19: Elephants at Addo National Park 
South Africa Post #20The Garden Route: Nature’s Valley and Wilderness
This is South Africa Post #21: Endangered Bontebok
South Africa Post #22Top Five Cape Town Experiences
South Africa Post #23Chasing Rainbows in South Africa
South Africa Post #24Vegan Wanderlust in South Africa
South Africa Post #25Ubuntu