African Animal Safari, What to look For on Your Photo Safari
Need help planing a perfect African animal Safari? Wonder what you will see, whats out there waiting for you to photography, where to go for the best wildlife sightings? Here we have provided information about everything you need to know about planning your next Africa Travel adventure. Whether it’s a luxurious all-inclusive vacation or a simple self-guided tour.
Why go on an African animal safari?
Safaris give you a change in scenery and take you away from the stresses of western society. African animal safari is also a great way to recharge your batteries, explore untamed places, and have fun. It’s wild, it is mesmerizing; it gives you a rush – but, importantly, it’s what every person should do in their life! An African animal safari is fun, adventurous and a great experience.
There’s plenty of budget-friendly safaris out there delivering excellent value for the money. You can manage your budget closely during a trip. Almost all African animal safaris include accommodation, meals, sightseeing, and wildlife viewing.
Photograph wildlife in its natural habitat. Go on safari to experience nature first-hand! See wild animals roaming free, fall asleep to the sounds of the Africa’s natural world, and search for those elusive lions and leopards on a 4x4s.
Guided tours are easy to book. When you book a safari package, someone else takes care of the planning. You’ll save time and slip simply onto an Africa trip with an experienced guide with whom you can trust.
With expert guides, you avoid getting lost or arriving at the gates of a game reserve as they close. Plus, your African safari animal guide is an expert who know where to go to get the best experience out of your time in Africa. You’ll be able to identify animals easier thanks to them!
Africa is a diverse continent that offers many types of safaris catering to a variety of travellers. There are suitable African animal safaris for every budget and there are family-friendly holiday accommodation for all tastes as well. If you want an adventure, African animal safari companies know Africa, so you can be at ease knowing that your journey will be successful.
The Wonders! Witness the awesome sights that surround you on your photo safari. On an African animal safari, the opportunities for amazing photographs are end-less.
Attend a heritage tour, experience lush African cultural sights. While some tourists stay in luxury tents or exclusive resorts, there is always a chance to meet new people.
Diversion-filled itineraries ensure you see as much of Africa’s wildlife as possible on your trip, and don’t miss out on key highlights along the way. A well-selected mix of famous safari destinations and hidden wildlife, makes for a more memorable adventure through Africa.
What are Africa’s Big 5 Safari Animals?
The Big Five are the African animals that were considered the most dangerous and difficult to hunt.
They are the elephant, rhinoceros, lion, leopard and buffalo.
The name comes from big game hunters who hunted them for their hides. Now it’s used by most Safari guide and tour operators. Of course there is more than just these five types of mammals on safari but most visitors will see at least one if not all five. Today they are also the most poached animals in Africa.
Top predator in African is the lion, whether it’s on the grasslands, Savannah or an open forest. Lions play a crucial role in the health of the ecosystems. By keeping animal populations at an optimum balance, especially the zebras and wildebeest.
The most interesting thing about the lions is, despite losing most of their natural habitat, they can be found in certain areas of sub-Saharan.
By protecting a lion’s land, we’re giving the planet more resources for wildlife and for the people who rely on local natural environments.
Leopards are large, wild cats that have a spotted coat. Their pattern is different in each type of species but they all share black spots on their coats with irregular shapes called rosettes.
Leopards are the strongest climbers of all big cats, and they have overlapping home ranges. They have large shoulder blade muscles to climb trees, where they feed on their kill and get away from predators when hunting at night. Lions and hyenas often steal leopard’s food.
3. African Elephants
Elephants are the largest land mammals in Africa. They can be found in 37 countries throughout the continent. Elephants only have one calf every 3 to 6 years and tend to herd in groups led by a female matriarch.
The population of elephants in Africa has decreased due to poaching. Ivory poachers endanger the species because they are often killing males, who tend to roam alone or with small groups.
Elephants can be seen and photographed almost anywhere in Africa, from Etosha National Park to Masai Mara and many private game reserves.
4. Cape Buffalo
Cape buffalo are called “the king of the savanna.” They stand at about 130-150 cm (51-59 inches) and can weigh up to 100 kg (220 pounds). Cape buffaloes have thick, wide horns that grow up to a maximum of 100 cm across. The animals thrive in virtually all types of habitat and are able to adapt to many different conditions.
Another popular animal which can be found from Kruger National park in South Africa to the Serengeti National Park
Rhinos are divided into two main species—the black rhino, which is mostly concentrated in Northern Africa, and the white rhino. White rhinos, predominantly in southern Africa.
Just 150 years ago, Africa’s savannahs teemed with over one million black and white rhinos. But demand for horns led to poaching, leading to the near-extinction of both species.
Poaching exploded in the 1970s and 1980s, but some quick action by the ACF helped reduce the population from working without stops – especially in South Africa, Sudan, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
The Ugly 5 African Animals
We just discussed the big 5 in Africa. Let’s discuss the ugly five.
There are a lot of animal “lists” when you go on safari in Africa. Perhaps the list that no animal wants to be on is this Ugly List. There’s something about them even if they’re less than ideal looking; for example, their cute little baby faces or some attraction to them despite their odd looks like big eyes and big ears!
Be sure to keep your eyes open for these on your next African Safari Adventure. All living things deserve love (even if it makes us giggle), after all.
Hyenas communicate with one another in a variety of ways, including vocalizing and scent marking. They have strong jaws and sharp canine teeth and can be skilled hunters. There are more than one species of hyena found throughout Africa’s national parks and reserves.
Baby hyenas have a cute factor, but it does not take long to lose that appeal. Eeerie vocals and being over confidence, the hyena fits into this list.
Blue Wildebeest or AKA Gnu, are iconic in African. The wildebeest is a large antelope with short legs and a slim build. The front of their body is massively built, while the back-end is slender with skinny legs. They have a grey coat and a black mane as well as a beard that can be ether black or sometimes white.
They are found in many regions of Africa, including the drier Savannah, forested Savannah and the Sahel.
The wildebeest is a herbivore and prefers to graze on grasses and other low-lying plants.
Wildebeest Migration is one of Africa’s top wildlife experiences. The major predators are lions, Cheetahs, Hyenas and Wild Dogs prey on Wildebeest in the Savannah and plains throughout Southern Africa.
3. Vulture in Africa
Vultures are large birds that are usually found in Africa. They vary in size and appearance depending on their species, but they always have a bare crown, face and neck. . Agricultural expansion is pushing ungulates out of vulture’s territory which is causing a decrease in their population because they need to find more food sources.
When birds congregate around animal carcasses, their excrement often gives away the site’s location. Therefore, poachers, knowing this, have turned to kill them. What’s more, they are increasingly targeted for their heads, which are widely sold in traditional medicine.
The warthog is a tough, sturdy animal that weighs 9 to 23 kilograms (20 to 50 pounds). Both sexes arguably have large heads and “warts” and a thick protective pads that appear on both sides of the head.
The Boars have large, upper tusks that extend on both sides of their snout forming an arc. Their lower tusks are so worn they are knife-edge sharp.
Warthogs are covered in sparse hair that covers their body and a mane on the top of their back. Their long tufted tail ends with bristles, and is pointed upright when running.
5. The Marabou Stork
The Marabou Stork is a bird with an 11-foot wingspan that has a dagger-like bill and a naked pink head. They are commonly found near carrion, which they opportunistically snatch scraps of meat to eat. They also scavenge around humans and waste dumps.
Known as “the undertaker bird” because of it appearance. From behind, the marabou stork’s back and wings appear cloak-like, the legs are thin and pale, You may notice a tuft of hair on back of its head.
The Impossible 5 African Animals
Many guides help tourists and photographers check these iconic animals off their list, but there’s more to safari wildlife than these so call big five. We have discussed the big 5, Lions. Leopards, Elephants, buffalo’s and rhinos, and the 5 ugly ones. Now, If you want a real challenge, how many of the African Impossible 5 can you photograph?
Aardvarks are solitary animals that feed on ants and termites, and it’s one of Africa’s unique animals. They are typically active at night when ants and termites come out to search for food. The best place to see Aardvarks is in the burrows where will be near anthills or termite mounds.
The best places to see aardvarks is the Kwandwe Reserve in the winter months – May to August – when aardvarks are the most active hunting for termites during the day.
Female aardvarks give birth to one newborn each year and young remain with their mother for up to six months
2. Cape mountain leopard
Cape Mountain Leopards are a large cat found in 10 African countries and is the what legends are made of. It’s not found in many places, and only a few have been spotted. There average lifespan is only 6 years and the Cape Mountain Leopard is hunted for its fur by indigenous people in Botswana, as well as trophies by hunters in South Africa.
Their habitat consists mainly high up rugged mountain ranges that are otherwise inhospitable for humans!
Pangolin can be found in Africa and Asia. There are four species of pangolin in Africa. The most popular species, black-bellied, having a wide range within the continent of Africa and Southeast Asia. Other popular Pangolin include the white-bellied , giant ground pangolin, and the long-tailed giant ground pangolins.
Pangolins are mammals that have short, strong limbs, 3 sharp claws on their forefeet, 5 toes on their front feet and surprising run with great speed. They’ll capable of sniffing out nest of ants and termites or whatever is nearby. Some are nocturnal black-bellied, a few species of pangolin are either completely terrestrial or adept climbers with claws and long semi-prehensile tails—such as brown mountain pangolins (Dochytherinus stadii) which use them to forage for food low on trees or climb up into the canopy.
A pangolin uses its long tongue to pick ants from anthills and dry leaves in search of food. They are the most trafficked mammal in the world.
4. Riverine Rabbit
The Riverine rabbit is on the endangered species list, numbers are dwindling in the Karoo Desert, but has lost habitat due to conversion of the land into agriculture. The population declined by 60% or more over last 70 years and will decline by 10% between 2002 and 2022. Habitat degradation is the major threat to this species.
The Riverine rabbit is a small, short-lived breed of wild rabbits which only produces one helpless young in their burrow underground. Due to the low number of offspring and generation times that are longer than 12 months, these rabbits have difficulty reproducing successfully.
5. White Lion
White lions are a majestic creatures that are revered by the tribes in Southern Africa. After almost being hunted to extinction, the White Lion Protection Trust is committed to reintroducing them into protected areas. They possess a rare recessive trait which causes their white coloration; unlike albino animals, they produce lighter pigmentation and not red or pink in their eyes or nose like an albino would.
A natural habitat for these animals can be found around savannas, woodlands, desert areas- pretty much anywhere!
Other African Safari Animals
Don’t worry. It’s not just lions, elephants and giraffes you’ll see on your safari in Africa. You’re sure to spot a wide variety of animals including hippos, zebras, rhinos etc..
Here are a few of the African safari animals you’re may to see on your trip:
The mountain gorilla is primarily an herbivore, meaning it mainly eats plant-based food like leaves, flowers, fruit and stems. They move through the trees very quickly and usually travel in groups, which is why they are often seen moving up to four times their own body length per second!
The mountain gorilla has two subspecies, the Eastern mountain gorilla and the Western mountain gorilla. The eastern sub-species is found in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo while the other lives mainly in Tanzania
Hippopotamus are herbivores, and eat about 35 kg of grass per day they can run up to 30km/h and can’t swim, but rather they walk along the bottom.
The hippo is the third-largest mammal and can measure up to 3.3 m in length, 2.5 m at shoulder height and weigh over 1 tonne! Their bodies are covered with tough bristles that have evolved to keep them cool. The hippo’s mouth and eye-holes are small, so they tend not to use their vision unless it is absolutely necessary.
A hippo’s powerful jaws can crush bone and its feet have large, flat nails that are usually used to dig for food.
People are advised not to go near a hippo’s as they are aggressive animals that have large teeth for fighting off threats. Sometimes, their young animals, which can be very small in size, can get caught between adults who are fighting. A young or very small hippo can get seriously hurt during a fight between two adult hippos.
The giraffe is the tallest animal on Earth and has a distinctive blue tongue. They also have horns that look like they could be used in combat. There are nine subspecies of giraffes found throughout Africa, making them very diverse animals to see during your next African safari. They are herbivores that spend most of their time grazing and browsing for food. Their spots help them camouflage themselves in the Savannah.
Males are called bulls, and females are called cows. The males form small groups that compete for dominance.
African Wild Dogs
African Wild Dogs are one of the most endangered mammals in the world.
African wild dogs typically live in a pack of around ten members, but some packs can be bigger than 40. They are exploit opportunistic predators who search for medium-sized animals In a sprint, African wild dogs can reach speeds of more than 44 miles per hour
The Nile crocodiles are the largest living reptiles in Africa. Crocodiles can be found in freshwater rivers and lakes during the dry season. In addition to being predators of fish 70% of their diet, they also feed on birds and other smaller mammals that live near bodies of water . There are actually 5 species of crocodiles in Africa.
Jackals are related to canines (dogs), coyotes, foxes. The jackal is a carnivorous mammal with long legs and an elongated snout which enables it to detect small prey.
Jackals live for about 8-9 years in the wild and up to 16 years in captivity. They are also known as ‘common jackals’. Jackal prefer open, grassy plains and hunt small antelopes, reptiles, insects, ground-dwelling birds, fruits, berries, and grass.
The cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal with a top speed of 70 miles per hour. The Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is where you can see the most number of cheetahs.
The cheetah can easily outrun lions, hyenas, leopards. They live in family groups with 2-3 brothers to avoid competition for food or mates. The population of these creatures has decreased due to habitat loss and hunting by humans. Around 7,100 individuals are left in the wild and listed as an vulnerable species on the endangered list.
Antelope are an animal that is native to Africa. There are different types of antelope found in the continent, such as eland, nyala, waterbuck, gerenuk, hartebeest and topi. The male antelopes’ horns will grow in order to prove their superiority during mating season. Antelopes have a diet composed of leaves from flowering plants and supplemented with shrubs and grass.
The most common animal you’ll see in Africa are the plains zebra or the mountain zebra., Both are related to donkeys and horses. They have distinctive brown or black patterns on their coats and they can communicate with each other through body language: baring teeth, widening eyes, braying, huffing, snorting. They are the favorite prey for lions and other big cats.
Top African Animals: Birds
With more than 2,500 species of birds, Africa is indeed a bird photographers paradise. From tiny brightly coloured and feisty little bee eaters to the evil looking marabou storks, prehistoric shoe-bills and even penguins; African birds come in an almost infinite number of sizes shapes and colours.
While wildlife photographers tend firstly to focus on Africa’s safari animals; its wonderful feathered creatures should not be overlooked. If you are heading off on an African safari or if you just want find out about some amazing Africans like the shoe-bill (a prehistoric looking bird) then this list is great place for discovery!
The ostrich is the largest living bird, and it’s too heavy to fly. But it runs really fast up to 70 km/hr! Ostriches also have powerful weapons: they can kill a human or would-be predator like a lion with one kick of their long legs. These African birds congregate in “herds” during breeding season, led by 1 male who has up to 7 females in his harem. You can see ostriches across Africa, they are common grassland inhabitants.
Vultures are nature’s garbage collectors. They are scavengers of flesh and bones. Often eating the rotting, poisonous remains that no other animal will touch and can clean a carcass in just a few hours. Vultures have a unique stomach acid balance that helps them digest rotting meat without getting sick.
Their neck and head have feathers, so when they bury their head into a carcass, bacteria and parasites do not infect them. How cool is that?
Because they their excellent sight and smell, vultures can spot a dead animal miles away.
They are most often seen in southern Africa, but they can also be spotted at the top places to see vultures on safari: Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Botswana.
The saddle-billed stork is one of the more photographic birds you may spot during your African Photo Safari. They get their name from their colourful beak and eye-catching pattern and bright yellow frontal shield. What we call a “saddle”. Notice the unusual yellow patch on their chest. Called a “brood patch” which provides warmth for eggs when breeding season starts later in the year. They can be found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in East Africa, Gambia Senegal and Chad in West Africa too as well as South Africa, where they are endangered.
One of my favorite birds to photograph is the Hornbill. They are native to Africa and easily recognized by their long, curved bill. It is the only bird that has its first two neck vertebrae fused together. They also have powerful necked muscles! One intriguing aspect about this animal’s behavior is how breeding females will lay eggs inside tree holes or crevices, sealing themselves off completely. The male partners bring food while she incubates her eggs for up to three months.
One of my favorite birds is the Kori Bustard. (I just like the name) They are one of the largest and beefiest flying birds in Africa. Spending most of their time on the ground, taking to the air only to escape from predators- landing again as soon as possible. Males can weigh up to 40 pounds, which is quite a difference from an agile flamingo! Male Kori Bustards are thought to be among the heaviest flying animals.
Try photographing them while they are “taking a ‘dust bath. Unlike other African birds they don’t have glands that produce oil for keeping feathers clean- instead they rely solely on dust for this purpose.
In some parts of Africa, these birds are hunted for their meat; These popular creatures inhabit Eastern and Southern Africa, countries such as Botswana, Tanzania and Namibia, where open grassy spaces exist with zebras grazing nearby looking out for disturbances created by hooves.
Grey Crowned Crane
The Grey Crowned Crane, or Crested Crane, is a small, stocky bird found in Eastern and Southern Africa. They have a wingspan of 2 metres and are 1 metre tall with a bright red throat pouch, white face, blue eyes and an eye-catching crown of gold feathers. They are one out of only two types of cranes that can roost in trees! Like many birds, they have an elaborate mating dance involving bowing to each other and jumping up into the air, but this isn’t just done during mating season. You will see them all year, so be sure to keep your camera handy! The Grey Crowned Cranes range from Eastern and Southern Africa, including Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa; its national bird for Uganda, where it appears on the country’s flag center.
Africa’s most impressive looking bird is the secretary bird. They can be photographed in open grasslands and savanna regions. The odd time you find them in trees or bushes. Standing over 4 feet (1.3m), this mostly ground-based bird of prey immediately recognizable from its long pink legs, bare red face and sharp yellow beak that curves like a quill horn.
It’s believed their name comes from the idea that with its knee-length black ‘pantaloons’, black coat, and quill-like head feathers. This bird looks like an old school (18th century) clerk or secretary when they wear their uniform, tailcoat dress trousers paired with a white shirt dress blouse under a dark suit jacket).
Secretary birds are one of only two birds in all Africa who hunt on land instead of by air. They eat small rodents, amphibians, reptiles and snakes. Stomping them to death using its powerful claws for leverage, then pushing down hard upon its prey with stiffened toes to kill it quickly before eating it whole. Secretary birds can be found throughout sub-Saharan region: Senegal through Somalia down to south Africa!
Guarantee, you will see an oxpecker if you do a game drive or photo safari. There are two types of Oxpeckers: red-billed and yellow-billed, and both freely live alongside large mammals like buffalo, giraffes and zebras feeding on the flies and ticks.
However, while this might seem like an ideal relationship, the animal gets relief from parasites. It turns out there is more to the story. Oxpeckers love fresh meat, which they get by opening up the old wounds with their beaks, eating their host.
Oxpeckers can be found anywhere they’re large mammals; So look to photograph them wherever you go!
Where in Africa Can You See the Most Animals?
A difficult question to answer there are so many places and so many national parks in Africa. Africa is a diverse continent, with different regions hosting unique animals. In some regions like the Sahara Desert, it’s possible to see more than 100 species of wild animals in one day.
African animal safaris are an excellent way for families and friends of all ages to explore the beauty, culture, natural habitats and wildlife of Africa. A photo safari experience is a great opportunity to see and learn about the wildlife such as lions, giraffes, elephant and even the elusive leopard in their natural habitat with knowledgeable guides.