On Safari in East Africa: Zebra and Wildebeest

We had a spectacular month exploring East Africa – a real dream come true and centerpiece of our trip. It was awe-inspiring to see first hand in the wild what we had only seen in zoos. Handpicking the best of the best of the thousands of photos we took, the On Safari in East Africa series showcases the animals we were privileged to see in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Zebra and Wildebeest

Just minutes after landing in Africa on our taxi ride from the airport we saw our first animal, the zebra. Everywhere we went we saw their iconic black and white stripes. We even had some visit our campsite, which was great until we had to go to the bathroom and there were 4 or 5 zebra in the way. In the Masai Mara we saw massive herds of wildebeest and zebra on their great migration. They covered the plains, zig-zagging in jagged lines and clumps as far as the eye could see. The bearded faces of the wildebeest and stripped faces of the zebra will always remind us of the vast plains of the Masai Mara. A unique vision of two very unique animals.

Zebra and wildebeest are often found together because they have complimentary senses. Wildebeest have a great sense of smell that helps them find water, and zebra have keen eyesight to spot predators. Zebra mainly eat taller grasses while wildebeest eat the shorter ones. 

Baby zebra are born with brown instead of black stripes. As they mature the stripes become darker until they are their adult black color. No two zebra’s stripes are alike.

Millions of wildebeest migrate each year from their birthplace in the Serengeti to the Masai Mara. The 500 mile-long migration follows the rain cycle leaving the Serengeti in May, and returning in December.

FACT

Newborn wildebeest calves can stand after 2-3 minutes, and can run just 5 minutes after being born. (Can you imagine if human babies could run after 5 minutes?)