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Zebra in Africa

The zebra is a quintessential African animal: the horse in stripy pyjamas at the end of every child’s A–Z. There are three species, of which the plains zebra is much the most common.

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Quick facts about Zebra

Scientific name: Equus quagga Habitat: Woodland and savannah
IUCN status: Near Threatened Adult weight: 155–322kg

The plains zebra occurs in six regional races, each with its own stripe pattern. All are distinct from the two other zebra species: the larger Grevy’s zebra (Equus grevyi) of northern Kenya, and smaller mountain zebra (Equus equus) of southwest Africa.

Plains zebras are highly sociable: dominant stallions preside over harems of females and young, which may coalesce into much larger herds. especially during migration, and often associate with wildebeest and other grazers. Zebra crop grass using flexible lips and powerful incisors, and open up grassland habitat for other species.

Their pattern has long puzzled scientists: it may function as camouflage, as an insect deterrent or to dazzle pursuing predators such as lions; perhaps all three.


Population (IUCN, 2016)


Max distance from water


Min. height at which grass cropped

3 years

Age female first gives birth

Africa's top camps for seeing zebras

Based on 1906 reports by our travellers since May 2018, the camps below have the best chances of sighting zebras. Simply follow the key below.

Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Top 10 camps for zebra

% of travellers who saw zebra

Top 10 camps for zebra

% of travellers who saw zebra

Where to see zebras in Africa

Plains zebras occur in most major conservation areas across eastern and southern Africa. In some places, they gather in large seasonal migrations. Lively and noisy, their social dynamics can be enthralling.

Top tips for viewing zebra

Zebras are a common sight in most major reserves across eastern and southern Africa. The greatest gatherings are seen in Serengeti-Mara (Kenya/Tanzania) and Makgadikgadi Pans (Botswana), during seasonal migrations. While such open grasslands allow spectacular viewing, you will also find good numbers in other habitats, from the woodlands of Kruger, Hwange, Selous and Luangwa to the thorn bush of Etosha and wetlands of the Okavango.

Waterholes, which zebra visit daily, offer an opportunity to observe social behaviour, with a dominant stallion shepherding his harem, and rival males biting and kicking in spirited skirmishes. In zebra country, look out for the distinctive horse-shoe tracks and kidney-shaped droppings, and listen for the hiccupping laughter of the herds, which carries through the night during migration season.


Holiday ideas to see zebras

Based on our travellers experiences, these are the holidays which will give you the best chances of good zebra sightings

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Chongololo Self-drive Safari

21 days • 11 locations

This self-drive safari focuses on the best walking experiences in Namibia. Get your boots ready for the apricot dunes of the Namib Desert and the ancient hills of Damaraland.

US$6,420 - US$7,120 per person

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Rock Hare Self-drive Safari

20 days • 12 locations

An in-depth look at Namibia from the Namib Desert to the Caprivi, with additional stops in Botswana and Victoria Falls. This three-week adventure includes an unrivalled mix of environments and is great value.

US$4,880 - US$6,210 per person

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Black Wildebeest Self-drive Safari

19 days • 10 locations

Journey from South Africa’s cosmopolitan Cape Town to central Namibia’s Okonjima Nature Reserve during this self-driven safari. The route passes through a stunning variety of landscapes, offering access to this beautiful continent’s rich diversity.

US$3,520 - US$3,610 per person

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Pygmy Mouse Self-drive Safari

18 days • 10 locations

A truly epic southern African self-drive safari adventure from Namibia’s mountains and deserts, along the lush Caprivi Strip to Botswana and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, staying at luxury lodges throughout.

US$5,000 - US$6,890 per person

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The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations

An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.

US$12,570 - US$15,180 per person

View all holidays to Africa

Our top destinations for zebras

Click below for detailed information about zebras in these countries, including our latest sightings data from the camps and lodges there.

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