There are two main species of zebra in South Africa, namely the Plains Zebra, also referred to as the Burchell's Zebra, and the Mountain Zebra. The most notable difference between the two species is that they thrive in distinctly different habitats.
The 10 000 hectare expanse of Kariega Game Reserve is best suited to the Plains Zebra, with the Mountain Zebra found in the more arid, mountainous areas in the North West Cape and Namibia. The Mountain Zebra is also smaller than the Plains Zebra, with a white belly and longer ears.
Our guests are always fascinated by the 'striped horse-like animal and love photographing it. It is one the most popular entries into the annual Kariega Facebook Competition. Thank you to Kariega field guides, Brendon Jennings and Jone Haesslich for the photos below, as well as past guest Christa Lovgren.
Interesting Facts about The Plains Zebra
The Plains Zebra is beautiful and interesting. Keep on reading to find out what we find most fascinating about this animal.
The film, Racing Stripes, gave the zebra its claim to fame. Whenever a zebra is seen, the thought of the little guy racing around the track tends to come into your mind. Do not under estimate these guys when in full gallop, they can each an average speed of 63 km/hour. The race horse is faster than a zebra, but a zebra has a feisty personality.
One of the most fascinating facts is that no two zebra have the same striping. Just like human fingerprints the stripes of zebra are unique to each individual.
When out on a safari drive and a family group of zebras decide to cross the road, we call it a “zebra crossing” which is a play on what South African's call the designated areas for pedestrians to cross a road, marked up with black and white stripes!
Zebras will live in a family group of 1 stallion (male) and about 6 mares (females) with their young. When seeing the zebra young, it may look odd that the babies and the adults all have the exact same length in legs. This is natures way of protecting the young against predators who, as a result, cannot differentiate the young from the old. Long legs also helps the younger animals keep up with the herd from the start of their lives.
Zebra are one of the more sociable species in the African bush, they tend to live in the open areas of the reserve and will mix with many other antelope species and even larger animals such as rhinos. Zebra have a great advantage when being able to socialise with other animals as this means there are many more species to alarm call to if a predator is nearby!
Plains Zebra diet consists of grass, leaves and stems which classifies them as herbivores. Zebra’s back teeth grow throughout their life in order for them to grind the food they eat. Zebra will travel great distances in search of vital resources such as food and water. Luckily where Kariega is located they do not have to travel too far for these resources as we have rain throughout the year.
A zebra mare will gestate for 390 days and are non-seasonal breeders meaning they give birth anytime of the year. A mare will only have one offspring at a time, it’s rarely found that they give birth to twins. The young will be able to stand in minutes after birth in order for them to survive and not be prey for a predator.
Read our blog, Best Time to View Baby Animals on Safari, to learn more about the baby zebra.
Share your racing stripes story with us!
Did you see zebra on your Kariega safari? Share your racing stripes story with us! What is your nickname for a zebra? Add a photo of a zebra and mention the nickname you have for them and tag us on Facebook or Instagram. If you are wanting to learn more about plains zebra keep an eye on our TikTok channel.