When it comes to experiencing and discovering African wildlife, East Africa is often the most sought after destination. With a diverse range of national parks and game reserves, adventures here are teeming with wild animals and phenomenal landscapes.
What kind of animals will you see on an African safari? While there are a diverse range of wildlife that can be encountered, over the years we’ve found favorites among both ourselves and our guests. Here are our top ten animals you’ll want to see while on safari.
Seeing elephants is usually part of every traveler’s bucket list when planning to go on safari. As the largest animal walking the Earth, it’s easy to understand why witnessing these massive creatures in their natural environment is so memorable. Botswana’s renowned Chobe National Park possess the biggest number of elephants in the Africa. With an approximate population of around 50,000-60,000, a safari here is is the perfect opportunity to get up close and personal with these gentle giants.
Known as the symbol of Africa, the powerful big cat is a top predator in their natural environment. One of the most significant roles the play in the animal kingdom is that they establish a balance for numbers of other animals, especially herbivores like zebra and wildebeest. This not only helps with maintaining a healthy population, but also protecting the grasslands and surrounding plains.
Divided into two species, the black rhino and the white rhino are one of Africa’s most treasured animals. Fortunately, their numbers have both equally grown in the past couple of years due to a variety of highly effective conservation efforts, especially in South Africa. Ol Pejeta Conservancy, located not far from Nairobi offers the chance to interact with two of the world’s last remaining northern white rhinos, and a sanctuary for over 110 critically endangered black rhinos.
Recognized as the fastest mammal on land, the cheetah can reach speeds of 60 miles an hour over short distances. Seeing them in action while on safari is always a special treat for our guests as the athletic demonstration they provide is mesmerizing to watch. Found mainly in open grasslands and bushy areas, they often come close to the vehicles and in the past have even posed for picture perfect moments like above.
Being the national bird of both Botswana and Kenya, spotting what many claim as one of the most beautiful birds in the world is always a welcomed sight while on safari. With its pastel plumage and striking appearance, they are often photographed by some of Africa’s top photographers resulting in vibrant images that capture the true essence of their beauty.
Closely related to lions, tigers, and jaguars these big cats won’t be seen frequently on the ground. Being strong climbers, they spend a majority of their time high up in the trees even when stalking prey and for eating. With their distinctive spots and majestic demeanor accompanied by a perfect backdrop, seeing them in their natural state is always memorable.
The world’s largest bird, although flightless are frequently found throughout Africa’s plains and woodlands. With a restricted diet of berries, insects, and small reptiles they are known for their zig-zag chasing patterns that often result in plenty of laughs due to their awkward nature. Fun fact: while not exactly a roar, males have a boisterous warning call that can sound like a lion heard from miles away.
African Cape Buffalo
Part of the “Big Five” and distinguished by their stature and unique horns, the African Cape Buffalo always tops the lists as one of the animals our guests want to see while on safari. Being herbivores, they are frequently found grazing in the open grasslands and are hard to miss. Despite being known for their aggressive behavior, they aren’t territorial creatures. This allows you to witness them in their natural habitat at a safe distance without any issues.
Known for being continuously on the move, these animals are often sighted during the Great Migration as they seek new areas of grass and water. If you’ve been doing research on planning a safari, you’ll frequently find photos of them crossing the Mara River which results in stunning imagery. Nothing really captures the size of the animal kingdom then witnessing a couple hundred thousand wildebeest on the search for greener pastures.
Being a personal favorite, there’s more than meets the eye with these water loving animals. The Greeks named them the “river horse” and seeing how they spend 16 hours a day submerged in rivers and lakes, it proves more than accurate. While the image of their eyes and nostrils hovering above water frequently comes to mind, many are surprised when they leave the water at sunset to travel overland to graze. What is even more astounding is they often can travel up to six miles in a night, along single-file pathways, to consume some 80 pounds of grass.
If you are interested in joining us in Africa, please don’t hesitate to contact our team of experts here. We look forward to having you!