Stripes, stripes and stripes!
Together with the elephant and giraffe, the striped zebra, with its sturdy upright manes, is the easiest recognizable of all animals at the African savannah and it can’t be mixed up with any other animal. On the other hand, various sub-species exist which can’t be told apart that easy. Generally the place where you spot them enables you to distinguish the species. In Africa, 3 species can be found : The Grevy’s zebra, the Mountain zebra and the Plains zebra .
Of all species, the Plains zebra is the most common and it knows various sub-species. Distinguishing those sub-species is a little complicated, unless you know exactly where those sub species are found. In Tanzania, for instance, one will only find the Burchell zebra. All Plains zebras have the same characteristic of the stripes continuing over the belly and generally those black stripes have a brownish shadow effect too.
Plains zebras live in in family herds counting up to 18 animals. The herds consist of an adult stallion and a number of mares with their foals. Herds of merely stallions, without mares and foals occur frequently too.
Especially around watering places, various herds that that join together can be spotted regularly too.Plains zebras need water daily, which means that you will always find them close to watering places. The Grevy’s zebra we have only seen in Samburu NP. They have thinner black stripes than the Plains zebra, they have no stripes over the belly and their big ears are quite characteristic.The population of Grevy’s has declined substantially over the past decades. During the late 70s nearly 14.000 specimens were present on the African continent, whilst nowadays their number hardly exceeds 5.000 and their future is insecure. The reason for this is that the Grevy’s zebra is a major competitor for food and water of the flock of roaming tribes in Kenya and Ethiopia.
The Mountain zebra only occurs in southern Africa and has two sub species : the Hartmann’s Mountain zebra and the Cape Mountain zebra. The latter used to have a major habitat, but unfortunately it can only be found in a minor number of game parks in South Africa nowadays. If you wanna see the Cape Mountain zebra, we recommend Mountain Zebra NP in South Africa. Mainly during the African summer you will find them in the north at Rooiplaat.
The Hartmann’s Mountain zebra is fairly common in Namibia. Like the Grevy’s the Mountain zebra has no stripes over the belly and has practically never got shadow stripes, unlike the Plains zebra. Moun tain zebras live in herds too, led by a stallion and for the rest consisting of mares with their foals.