Amazing Animals in Africa
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What animals can you see in Africa?
Bloggers tell all!
Everybody has heard of the big 5 of wild African game animals. And you’d be crazy if seeing an elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo wasn’t on your bucket list. But did you know what countries you can see what animal? And do you know there’s so much more to the African continent than these 5? Here is a list of African animals you should know about, as spotted by travel bloggers! Including some African savannah animals, you might never have heard of!
Sylvester the Cheetah Ambassador, Victoria Falls
Sylvester is a cheetah living in Zimbabwe. His mother and siblings were killed by a lion just two days after his birth. He was rescued by – and named after – a game scout, and kept alive by two conservationists. Unfortunately, Sylvester could not be released back into the wild as he did not learn what he needed to from his mother and was also imprinted on by humans. Cheetahs are on the endangered species list and national organizations helped secure Sylvester a permanent home at the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Sanctuary.
We were introduced to Sylvester while staying at the Elephant Camp, which is located on the Sanctuary. For a short time in the morning, guests can meet and learn about Sylvester and cheetahs. Though he is a wild animal, he is incredibly docile, since he was never taught to hunt by his mother. That’s one of the reasons why he can’t be released into the wild. His caretakers said he’ll sometimes pounce on another animal and then just lay on top of it, not knowing what to do. He would starve out in the wild if he wasn’t killed by another predator first. Guests can also accompany Sylvester on a bush walk (the fee to do this goes towards his care). We elected not to do this, but actually ran into him when we were on our own bush walk. While it was cool to see him up close and actually touch him (did you know a cheetah’s spots are raised?), it was absolutely amazing to see him in his own habitat, stalking around.
In addition to greeting guests at the Elephant Camp, and getting tons of exercise roaming the sanctuary throughout the day, Sylvester serves as a local cheetah ambassador. He interacts with schoolchildren and other Zimbabweans, teaching them about cheetahs and being on the endangered species list. He even has his own Facebook page. So even though it’s sad he can’t live in the wild, Sylvester is still leading a pretty incredible life.
How to meet a Cheetah in Zimbabwe
Gorilla Trekking in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Gorilla trekking in Africa has to be one of the most amazing experiences in this world. There are only 800 mountain gorillas left on this planet and the only place you can see them is in the Virunga mountains in the DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda and also in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. We chose to go in Uganda because it is cheaper than Rwanda and more stable than the DRC.
How much is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
The cost to go gorilla trekking anywhere is not cheap, but for the chance to get up close to gorillas it is worth it. For a $600 permit (per person) you can expect to get up with the sun in the beautiful Ugandan forest.
You will be split into groups and paired with a tracker. Together your group and tracker will venture into the jungle in search of Gorilla families. The trek isn’t super difficult but does some level of physical strength. Once you see the first gorilla your eyes will be fixated until you leave.
By Natasha | The World Pursuit
Chimpanzee experience in the Kibale Forest National Park
Most people associate Uganda with gorillas but they’re not the only great apes you can see in the wild. If you’re a primate lover, you’ll be both pleased and surprised to learn that you can also track chimpanzees in their natural habitat for a fraction of the cost to track gorillas. Kibale Forest National Park in southwestern Uganda (5 hours from Kampala) is home to 1,500 chimps.
There, you can get up close and personal to the apes for an hour or take part in the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience, a full day of observing their natural behaviours from grooming to tree-swinging. They are quick-footed and agile on uneven terrain and in dense vegetation, making them a challenge to keep up with. The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience, however, is a rare opportunity to be in the presence of our closest living relatives on their own turf.
By Helen | Not Without My Passport
How to see chimps in Uganda
If seeing chimps is on your bucket list, make sure you check out some tours. Below is one which covers accommodation, permits, guides and transport.
Namibia is an amazing country with unreal wildlife that offers a great biodiversity. Here you can see the Big 5 and many other African animals including hundreds of hippos in Caprivi strip, the North of Namibia. We saw hippos many times in the wild while travelling Namibia, but one encounter was very memorable.
We had a long day of driving and arrived at a small town Kongola after sunset. We couldn’t find a campsite that we had on our GPS so, we decided to camp at the first campsite nearby. There was a big sign and a turn off saying “Camping” we drove there in the dark and were relieved to see a sort of reception and a person working here. The campsite looked a bit abandoned and had no electricity we were very tired pitched our tent and went to sleep.
Sometime during the night, we both woke up from strange noises. Somebody was walking near our tent, luckily, we decided to stay inside. Next morning, we discovered that our tent was pitched right at the river and a group of hippos was chilling in there. Later we saw many hippos’ footprints around our tent.
Seeing Hippos in Namibia
If you want to see the hippos, the best way is to do a sunset boat trip from one of the campsites at Okavango river. By the way, hippos are quite aggressive and territorial animals. Don’t stand in their way!
By Campbell | Stingy Nomads
Seeing Seals Cape Cross Reserve
On the West coast of Namibia, a 1.5-hour drive north of Swakopmund lies Cape Cross Seal Reserve. Here, more than 100,000 Cape fur seals and their pups come to bathe on the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean and feed on the rich concentrations of fish in the cold Benguela Current, making it one of the largest seal colonies in the world.
A wooden boardwalk allows you to wander amongst a small section of a seemingly endless stretch of seals draped over rocks (and each other) or playing in the surf. You are literally inches away from these chilled-out seals, who don’t seem at all offended if their neighbour flops over their flipper, and some will be wriggling under the boardwalk.
They seem to be in constant chatter with each other so expect it to be quite loud. But just be prepared for the overwhelming smell of seal poo; you may want to wear a bandana over your nose and mouth! This encounter is a must see in Namibia and certainly gets our seal of approval.
Entrance fee to Cape Cross Seal Reserve
The Cape Cross Seal Reserve is open from 1000 to 1700. Park Entrance Fee is N$80 per person and N$10 per vehicle. There is also a boardwalk to allow you to get close to the seals.
By Jenny | Travelynn Family
Lemurs in the Palmarium Reserve
When in Madagascar, there are many ways to see lemurs, especially in the wild. Hiking through the forests, or visiting rehabilitation centres or sanctuaries. There is no shortage of ethical ways to get up close to lemurs.
My favourite experience I had was at the Palmarium Reserve, in the middle of the Pangalane channel. You must take a boat to get there, but once there it is an absolute dream. The reserve is actually just a forest, where the lemurs are free just as the others we saw in any other forest.
We stayed in a bungalow where lemurs used our porch as just another place to stop and rest or even to swing past amongst the trees. My favourite part was meeting the sifaka lemur who was the only sifaka on the reserve, as it had been orphaned there. It was very friendly, and we were told loved attention, and not just ’cause it expected food from you.
There were fruit trees and plenty of food for the lemur to get itself, but it just loved jumping onto people and using you as another tree to keep moving along. There were plenty of other lemurs on the reserve but this one was definitely my favourite.
By Sara | The Life of a Solivagant
Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park
Gorillas are one of the most endangered species on the planet. Last count 880 and can be only found in Rwanda, Uganda or DR Congo Having been able to stand near gorillas and watching them at their daily routine, was the wildlife encounter of a lifetime.
A reasonably difficult trek through muddy, steep jungle took us about three hours to reach gorilla base, where we were allowed to spend one hour at a safe distance and not a minute more.
How to see Gorillas in Rwanda
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is probably the most expensive tour in Africa. At the time of writing the cost is 1500 USD. Despite the price tag, gorilla trekkings are in high demand throughout the year and it is best to book the date at least six months ahead. Each day a limited number of people may visit a limited number of gorilla groups. Regulations for visiting gorillas are very strict and at the time of visit, each visitor has to be in perfect health condition otherwise they will reject your visit in order to avoid contamination of the gorillas.
The best tip for this trek I can give is, don’t have any expectations what you will see them. The gorillas are in natural habitat, doing the things they do, you could encounter playful funny moments between the gorilla family or just watching them sit and chewing bamboo sticks.
By Nina | Safari Junkie
Lions in the Serengeti National Park
There are several parks in Tanzania where you have a good chance to see lions, including Serengeti National Park, Arusha National Park, Tarangire National Park, and within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. We probably saw the most lions in Serengeti National Park, but my favourite experience was watching a group of lion cubs play next to our jeep in the Ngorongoro Crater.
We were one of the first jeeps in that morning and we were lucky to get within a few feet of 5 lion cubs and three lionesses. They were the most adorable things I had ever seen as they played with each other and they made the cutest sounds. I could have stayed there all day but we eventually had to move on to see other animals, and later saw more adult lions, including an older male lion who crossed the road within a few feet of our jeep!
When to see the lions in Tanzania
The best time of year to see lions in Tanzania is during the country’s dry season and the best times of day are in the early morning or later in the evening when they are most active. We booked our safari with Tanzanian-based locally-owned Amani Afrika, but there is a range of safari operators.
By Jessica | Independent Travel Cats
Giraffe spotting in the Maasai Mara National Reserve
The Maasai Mara is a National Reserve in Narok County, Kenya, Africa. I made the trip to the Park in mid-December, at the very end of the rainy season and after the Great Migration.
Even though it was off-season, I saw hundreds of safari animals including four of the big five. But the animals that impressed me the most were the giraffes. There are actually nine different species of giraffes throughout the world and three of them can be found in Kenya’s Maasai Mara.
They are the reticulated giraffe, Rothschild’s giraffe and the Maasai giraffe, and I was lucky enough to see all three on our safari drives. All giraffes are gorgeous and graceful, they are the tallest land animal in the world, and when you see them in the wild you really get a true sense of their size.
When you should visit the Maasi Mara National Reserve
Tourist crowds can be overwhelming during the Great Migration, so I highly recommend taking this trip during the offseason as the prices are a bit lower and the crowds are much smaller. There are dozens of tour options to consider, and if you’re budget conscious the price may be lower than you think.
By Cherri | Bucket List Travel Club
Feeding Wild Hyenas
Feeding wild hyenas? Yes, that is possible. Namely in Harar, a beautiful walled city in eastern Ethiopia.
The story behind it is pretty impressive. For centuries, the hyenas have been present in the ancient city for at least 500 years. They had protected the city and freed the place from rubbish. To thank them, the inhabitants collect meat leftovers from the butchers in town and feed them to the animals – every single night. The best thing is that it has always been the same family who feeds the hyenas, now in the third generation.
Photo credit: Stephanie Watson Photography / CC BY-SA
How to feet hyenas in Kenya
As a visitor, you are allowed to see the feeding and even feed the huge animals yourself (Just ask for the hyena men, everyone knows them.)
Although the practice is considered to be on the decline, with only two practising hyena men left in Harar, it is a beautiful and sustainable tradition that shows once again how well humans and animals can live together.
By Clemens | Travellers Archive
Wild Warthogs in the Diawling National Park
A few years ago, I was crossing West Africa from Morocco to Guinea Bissau with a few friends. It’s a great journey full of adventure, road and sand. You can visit unique cities like Marrakech or Nouakchott, buy food in traditional markets and enjoy the view of an endless desert coast.
We decided to enter Senegal from Diama instead of Rosso. It’s a bit shorter, and we’d been told we would have an easier time at the border.
To do so, we had to cross the Diawling National Park in Mauritania. The park is not touristy at all, and although this part of Africa isn’t really known for animal sightings, we had a great experience.
First, we saw lots of flamingos and other birds, which was cool. Then we encountered a group of warthogs by the road. I’d never seen any of those in my life. At first, they look like pigs, but when you get closer, you can see how big and strong they are.
Most of them ran away as we continued driving. However, two of them held their ground and watched us until we left, like they were protecting the pack. It was a very close, unforgettable encounter.
By Miguel | Travel Sauro
In 2015, I went with my family to Botswana. We were all camping and at night we would sit around the campfire. Two of my cousins and myself would stay up until the early hours. The hyenas would circle our campsite and we constantly chase them away. At times there were even five around the site!
One night we even spotted a tierkat. They will not attack a group but you would be in danger if you were on your own. For this reason, you would avoid going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Plus with no fences around the campsite, you had no idea what else was lurking outside. Early one morning a pride of lions walked through our campsite. This trip still remains the highlight when it comes to family get-togethers and next year a trip to Namibia is being planned.
By Petro | World Mission 196
Rhinoceros at the Aquila Game Reserve
Rhinoceros are the largest mammals, after elephants, and famous for its huge horn. According to an article published by The Atlantic, Rhino horn now costs more than gold on the black market. Some Asian countries believe in the power of its horn to heal cancer while others obsess about Rhino’s horn as an ornament and hunting trophy. Because of these reasons, Rhinoceros are critically endangered animals due to excessive poaching.
When my South African colleague asked me to join him on his safari trip to see the Rhinos, and his purpose to bring awareness on saving the Rhinos through his vlog, I did not hesitate. Our trip was organised by Kumba Safari who joined Rhino conservation efforts with Aquila Game Reserve in Western Cape, South Africa.
The trip has been enlightening and mesmerizing. Seeing these gentle giants felt like being taken to a pre-historic world. But at the same time, it’s heartbreaking to know that we might only see Rhinos in pictures in the future. If we don’t get our act together in protecting them.
By Christine | The Travelling Pinoys
How to see African savannah animals in South Africa
You can do a full day Aquila Wildlife safari tour which includes lunch and a pickup/drop-off to your Cape Town hotel. This is a great way to see the Big 5.
Why did the Tortoise cross the road? Cape Point National Park
Driving through South Africa you come into contact with all kinds of animals including baboons, impala, mongooses, dassies, and tortoises – all of them just by the side of the road.
And that’s how I ended bumping into this guy. I was driving through the Cape Point National Park, at the tip of the Cape Peninsula, when I spotted him trying to cross the road. Tortoises are common in this park, and there were signs up advising drivers to watch out for them. Luckily, I managed to spot him and was able to pick him up and put him on the other side where he was trying to get to.
At first, he was incredibly shy and he hid in his shell. I waited and waited, and eventually, he stuck his head out and begun to wander around. Realising I wasn’t a threat, he stopped caring when I moved and eventually even began to let me feed him bits of grass and other tortoise-friendly snacks.
How to visit Cape Point National Park
Cape of Good Hope is open from 0600 to 1800 (October – March) and 0700 to 1700 (April to September). It will cost Adults R$145 and Children R$75.
You can self-drive around the park, jump on a ‘hop on hop off’ tour bus called the ‘The Cape Point Explorer” or alternatively book a private tour.
By James | Worldwide Shopping Guide
It’s always amazing to see rare or endangered animals or animals that you grew up watching on TV in real life. But before you do any activity that is animal-related, always ask yourself this: “Is this animal suffering for my benefit?” and then decide if the activity is still worth doing.
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