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wildlife of Namibia

Introduction: The quagga (Equus quagga quagga) is an extinct animal closely related to the horse and the zebra. It was once found in great numbers in southern Africa. Early explorers to Namibia, especially those on the very first white water rafting trips in the early 1800's on the Orange River, were amazed at the sight of these strange looking animals. The name comes from a Khoikhoi word for zebra and is onomatopoeic, being said to resemble the quagga's call. They lived in the drier parts of southern Africa, mainly on grassland. Crocodiles, hyenas, lions, leopards, and cheetahs preyed upon the quagga and it was hunted for its meat and hide; they were also another victim of 19th century mass extinction philosophies, the last one being shot in the 1870's.

History recorded and observed that the quagga had behavioural patterns similar to other zebra species, notably in their herbivorous diet and herd lifestyles. They were highly social and lived in family groups dominated by stallions. The quagga were difficult to tame and train like other zebra species.

  • The last known specimen in captivity, a mare, died on August 12, 1883 at the Artis Magistra Zoo in Amsterdam.
  • The only quagga to have ever been photographed alive was a mare at the Zoological Society of London's Zoo in Regent's Park in 1870.
  • As a result of the confusion between different zebra species, notably amongst the general public, the quagga had become extinct before it was realized that it appeared to be a separate species.
  • The quagga was the first extinct creature to have its DNA studied.
  • There is a 'breeding back' project in South Africa with an eventual aim of reintroducing the quagga back into the wild, by selective breeding from plains zebra stock.
  • There are 23 known stuffed and mounted quagga throughout the world.
  • They were frequently shot by farmers and hunters who believed them to be pests

Distribution: Quagga were mainly found in the Cape Province and the southern part of the Orange Free State with a northern limit to the Orange River. Sightings in what is now known as Etosha National Park by explorers Andersson and Galton, travelling through the area by ox-wagon in 1851, have never been verified.

Diet: Quagga were grazers with similar eating habits to that of Burchell's zebra, preferring short grass, leaves, bark, roots and stems. They would have occasionally browsed and fed on herbs.

Colouring: A quagga was distinguished from other zebras by having the usual vivid marks on the front part of the body only. In the mid-section, the stripes faded and the dark, inter-stripe spaces became wider, and the rear parts were a plain brown.

Breeding: Mares birthed one foal every year. Foals that did not stand, walk, and nurse within hours of birth were abandoned.

Size: Similar in size to the Burchell's zebra – they stood up to 136cm at the shoulder and weighed between 290 and 340kg.

Wildlife Namibia

  • Namibian Wildlife: Quagga
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The Cababnas | Camp Provenance

Cabana's and permanently erected tents on the banks of the Orange River. This camp also serves as the starting base for several river rafting & canoeing adventures

Goibib Mountain Lodge

An owner run lodge, set in a scenic and mountainous area, just off the main road between Keetmanshoop & Grunau. Comfortable well equipped rooms are complimented by game drives (including night drives) on the large farm

Norotshama Lodge

Nestled in the great valley of the Karas region and situated on the banks of the Orange River, about 50km from the South African / Namibia border post

Orange River Lodge

The Orange River Lodge is situated near Noordoewer on the border between South Africa and Namibia

Sandfontein Lodge

A small lodge set on the third biggest game reserve in Namibia. Expect tranquility and a very personalised service in a remote environment

The White House

Not quite Washington DC! This remote accommodation is basic but extremely popular with those looking for good honest accommodation.

Self Catering Accommodation in Namibia