Safari & Wildlife

Where to Spot What on an African Safari

Where to Spot What on an African Safari

We all have our favourite animals, some are dog-lovers, some prefer cats and some (i.e. our Africa team) like cats and dogs of the much wilder kind.

Since it seems lots of you share our love for African wildlife we've compiled a handy guide to help you decide which African destination is the best bet for you to spot your own favourite animal species in...


Best for Elephants: Addo Elephant Park, South Africa

Elephants are not only the largest land animal in the world, but also incredibly emotionally advanced; known to play, express compassion, greet old friends and mourn their dead, elephants have been melting human hearts since the dawn of time.

Just up the coast from South Africa's beach resort, Port Elizabeth (making it a great Garden Route addition), Addo Elephant Park is a haven for ellies and an all-round great safari destination. Back in 1931 when the park was reclaimed there were just 11 remaining elephants in the area, now there are over 420 taking sanctuary here.


Best for Leopards: South Luangwa, Zambia

Leopard print lovers who are desperate to see their style icons in real life need look no further than South Luangwa in Zambia, also known as 'the valley of the leopard'.

Frequently spotted lounging leisurely on the high branches of trees, or darting across the bush at up to 35 miles per hour in hot pursuit of their dinner, you'll soon realise leopards have far more than their beautiful looks.


Best for Black Rhinos: Desert Rhino Camp, Damaraland, Namibia

One of the world's rarest species, the black rhino, should be on any wildlife lover's bucket list. These magnificent creatures can grow up to 45 feet long and weigh up to a staggering 3,900 pounds, though most impressive are their sadly sought after horns. A horrific tale of poaching means that over 90% of the East African population were killed in the 1970s, leaving less than 2,500 in the wild today, having been placed on the critically endangered list in 2012.

It's not all doom and gloom though, Namibia's Damaraland is lucky enough to host the largest free-roaming black rhino population in Africa, and so makes the prime spotting destination. A number of camps we work with offer adventurous and educational rhino tracking programmes which are both incredible experiences and important conservation projects.


Best for African Wild Dogs: Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

Lovers of the domestic dog cannot fail to be charmed by the large round ears and somehow smiling faces of the African counterpart - although you might not want to cuddle these ones. With an 80% success rate as predators, African wild dogs are some of the bush's fiercest hunters. Sadly their hunting success has not been replicated in their survival rates and less than 5,000 are left in the world today.

For the best chance of capturing an adorable doggy snap, head to Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana, where some of the best sightings in recent years have come from. Due to its abundance of water sources and large unfenced surrounding game areas Moremi is the ideal home for packs of wild dog, which need space, water and distance from their farmer enemies.


Best for Rarer Nocturnal Animals (e.g. pangolin, honey badger, aardvark and aardwolf): Okonjima Game Reserve, Namibia

Those with a fascination for the unusual will appreciate the lesser known wonders of the night, found frequently on the popular night drives in Okonjima Reserve in Namibia. And if you're a cynic who's wondering why we have bothered including these animals on our favourites list, listen up and learn a thing or two to change your mind!

First up, the armoured pangolin, whose scaly hump shaped back looks battle safe but is sadly not saving him from being the world's most hunted animal. And our favourite feature? Their long sticky tongues which can reach up to 15 inches long - that's longer than the average pangolin body length!

Next, the honey badger aka the Guinness Book of World Records' ""World's Most Fearless Creature"". These skunk-like mammals really do love honey but will also tuck into almost anything else, from roots to reptiles their palates could rival Bear Grylls.

Finally the aardvark and aardwolf. Despite their similarity in names these two animals are actually very different in appearance. The 'earth pig' or aardvark is a pig-snouted, rabbit-eared and kangaroo-tailed creature who spends most of his time sticking his tongue into termite mounds. The aardwolf is a shy, fur-backed and hyena-like mammal, which sprints stealthily across the bush at night, but also enjoys termites for dinner - up to 200,000 a night in fact.

So there you have it, our guide to where to spot which animals in Africa. Of course, these are only a few of the many animals you can find whilst on an African safari. For more information on our favourite animal-spotting safari destinations across the continent visit our African Safari Collections page.