ZEBRA-PRINTS

Did you know that each zebra has its own unique pattern of black and white stripes ?

Zebras belong to the same family as horses and donkey. They are by far the more exotic of the relatives with their sophisticated and sleek black and white stripes. These stripes come in different designs, each specific to its own zebra much like fingerprints. Amazingly it’s not only the fur that is striped but also the skin!!

They always stand out in whatever environment like the belle of the ball. Unlike their relatives; horses and asses, they have not been domesticated. However, they are very social and travel in herds,often grooming one another. They also live in harems or large groups much like ants.

Did you know that the stripes are for camouflage purposes?

The stripes act as a camouflage mechanism in several ways. First, the vertical striping helps the zebra hide in grass. This seems absurd since grass is neither black nor white but the zebra’s main predator, the lion, is color blind. Theoretically a zebra standing still in tall grass may not be noticed at all by a lion. Also zebras are herd animals,so the stripes confuse predators since a number of zebras standing or moving close together may appear as one large animal, making it more difficult for the lion to pick out any single zebra to attack. A herd of zebras scattering to avoid a predator will also appear  as a confused mass of vertical stripes travelling in multiple directions making it difficult for the predator to track an individual as it separates from its herd mates, although biologists have never observed lions appearing confused by zebra stripes.

 

Did you know that Zebras  can sleep while standing?

This is a trait humans would find in handy especially after a night out on the town. Zebras will literally close their eyes after grazing and snooze for an hour or more.

Did you know zebras have moods?

Much like people, you can tell a zebra’s moods from looking at it. Zebras can also turn their ears in almost any direction.The ears stand erect when it is in a calm, tense or friendly mood. If it is frightened, the ears are pushed forwards and when it is angry the ears are pushed backwards.

On average zebras live for 28 years old. That means at an age where humans are becoming responsible, they are old and weary already. They share names with their relatives with the males being stallions, females called mares, adolescent females called fillys and adolescent males called colts.

Did you know that baby zebras can run an hour after they are born?

Like horses, zebras walk, trot, canter and gallop. They are generally slower than horses but their great stamina helps them outpace predators, especially lions who get tired rather quickly.Zebras are wary of being hunted by lions or hyenas and usually run on sight of these predators. They run zig-zag from side to side making it more difficult for the predator. Zebras are extremely fast and can run up to 40 miles per hour.  The other zebras will come to the aid of a wounded one.  When chased, a zebra will   rear up and kick its attacker. A kick from a zebra can be fatal. Zebras will bite their attackers as well. It is thought if they can stay ahead of a lion for 6 seconds or more they’re most likely going to escape.

The common three kinds of zebras in Africa are the common Plains Zebra and the rarer Grevey’s and Mountain Zebras. These species have several races that are differentiated by the colors and patterns of  their stripes.

These animals have excellent eyesight and night vision. They may be able to recognize other zebras by the pattern of stripes on their bodies.

Zebras feed on grass, shrubs and herbs. Mountain zebras take a dust bath almost everyday.

Did you know zebras live their parents?

The female zebra usually gives birth to one foal after a gestation period of about one year. The foal is nursed for about 12 months much like a human child.  After one to three years, the zebra leaves the mother.

Take some time off and travel with Sabili Tours to view the zebra in their natural habitat. They can be found in Lake Mburo National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park. Lake Mburo is usually accessed en route to parks like Queen Elizabeth National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with its ideal location a mere 3 hours drive from Kampala. In Uganda you will find Plains or Burchell Zebras living in small family groups . Kidepo Valley park is the most remote park however its variety of animals makes up for that distance traveled.

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PLAYING TOURIST

Traveling is something you dream about doing and plan for time and again. It’s easier to plan for something in the far distance instead of tomorrow or tonight. The stress of running around last minute to settle tiny details will get most of us anxious and sweaty but that is easily solved by having someone plan for you.

Sabili Tours planned a trip to Queen Elizabeth National Park and advertised for two months, giving people ample time to clear their schedules and plan for it. 24th August came sooner than expected and we departed from Oasis Mall Nakumatt, a busy center in Kampala.

The road trip was 7 hours and we felt every minute of it.  We had the amazing scenery to distract us and keep us excited. The roads were traffic free and we whizzed by most towns. There was lots of green around and few people. The air felt cleaner and less used.

We had breakfast at a restaurant located right at the equator, with chapattis and soda. A few people had toast and tea.

FUN FACT ABOUT THE EQUATOR

  • You weigh more on one side than the other.

Believe it or not, science can explain this fact. The Earth bulges outward at the equator due to the planet’s rotation and movement in a straight line. This creates an uneven gravitational pull with more on the poles than in the middle. Standing at the Equator means you are further away from the majority of the earth’s mass than someone standing at either of the poles. 

Sadly, the weight difference is less than a pound.

After breakfast, we continued on our merry way.  The drive loomed before us and we tried to make time fly by reading books, chatting, singing and listening to music. None of these worked! At one point all of us were dosing in our seats.

We came to, when the tour guide announced zebras. They looked majestic as they fed around vegetation in Lake Mburo National Park. We could see them quite clearly from the road. The sighting rejuvenated us and we were anxious to get to Queen Elizabeth and start our holiday.

We got to the park at 2.30pm and only had 30 minutes to spare for our lunch before the boat ride at 3.00pm. Knowing very well that food service took over 30 minutes, we opted to skip lunch so as to make our boat ride.

The boat ride was amazing!!

We passed by hippopotamus lying idly on the shores, crocodiles too lazy to submerge themselves completely in water, birds flocking on trees and sand. The highlight of the cruise was elephants playing like children in the water. One climbed on the others back and submerged it into the water gleefully. The one under waster rolled over taking the instigator down with it and they seemed to tug each other playfully. They got water in their trunks and drenched each other, chuckling with delight.

After the boat ride, we returned to the restaurant and ordered fries and fish fillet which were well done. Sated and content, we embarked on the drive to Kingfisher Lodge Kichawamba where we would sleep that night.

It was beautiful, mystic and exotic!

We arrived at 7.00pm when it was dark and were welcomed by bright lights in the rustic courtyard which had vines and flowers. We checked in at reception and walked down the stairs, past a dining decorated with stone and wood. The rooms were cottages joined together with beautiful flowers outside and a breathtaking view. They were stone paneled with beds purely of stone and mattress. The attic bunk was a lovely surprise, bringing out the child in us as we each wanted to climb up and enjoy the bed. We eventually had dinner and settled to sleep in comfortable beds set in stone. It was cozy and comfortable and felt like an adventure.

After breakfast, we set off for the game drive. We saw water bucks, kobs and warthogs. Chancing upon elephants crossing the road excited us. They marched in a line for over a minute. We searched every nook and cranny for the lions but those cats were on a holiday of their own. We then set off for Kampala, a drive that seemed longer than going had been. We feasted on a wonderful buffet with rice, irish, matooke, potatoes, yams, ground nut stew, meat and chicken for lunch. We then continued on our drive, passing by the vast and enormous trees that made up Kibale Rain forest. We eventually arrived back in Kampala, tired but glad to be home.