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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 3859 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 (Tanzania/Kenya) 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, Nyerere (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$7,390 - US$9,940 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$5,240 - US$7,460 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$6,190 - US$10,430 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$14,360 - US$18,230 per person

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Hartebeest Self-drive Safari

16 days • 8 locations

This self-drive safari focuses on the best cultural experiences in Namibia. Visit a Himba village and enjoy three days living with the San Bushmen interspersed with some excellent wildlife watching.

US$3,540 - US$4,340 per person

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Quiver Tree Self-drive Safari

14 days • 7 locations

An offbeat Namibian self-drive adventure exploring the epic Fish River Canyon and fascinating Kolmanskop ghost town in the south, before turning north via the classic highlights of Sossusvlei, Swakopmund and Damaraland.

US$2,390 - US$3,290 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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