Discover The Rarest And Most Elusive Animals In Africa

The Rarest And Most Elusive Animals

 

Do you dream of heading to Africa? Then you are almost certainly eager to see and perhaps even photograph some of the many beautiful creatures that inhabit this content. Many people have their own favourites they would love to spot from the majestic lion to the gigantic elephant. But which animals are the rarest and most difficult to find or see when you visit Africa? Here are a few of the continents most elusive creatures that you’ll be lucky to catch a glimpse of on your safari.

Aardvark

The Aardvark is an odd, native African animal. It looks like an oversized hairless rodent crossed with some sort of pig. With its unique look, you would think it would be quite easy to spot one of these in the wild, but they are quite elusive for a number of reasons.

First, as any safari guide will tell you, these animals are nocturnal. While you might spot one moving around through the day, this is quite rare. As such, when the sun is high in the sky, it is likely they will remain hidden, out of sight in the undergrowth. Despite their nocturnal nature Aardvarks are quite common in sub-Saharan Africa so you may well spot one in the late evening. However, the creatures are also quite shy. They will run as soon as they spot you and are surprisingly fast. So, if you do see one, you’ll need to be as quiet as possible and resist making sudden movements to get that photo.

 

Aardvark searching for food, one of the elusive animals in Africa. The Aardvark walks between grass

This funny animal, Aardvark has so far not crossed my path in bush! Image courtesy goes to @David

 

Panther – Black Leopard

By far one of the rarest animals to see in Africa your chances of seeing one in the wild are sadly quite close to zero. Many people are not aware that panthers are actually born due to a recessive gene referred to as Melanism. This gives the beautiful feline its black coat. A common misconception is that a panther is a type of cat species, but they aren’t. A panther can be a jaguar, a leopard or a cougar that has this recessive gene. Even safari guides will be lucky to spot one of these creatures.

If you want your best chance of spotting one in the wild, you need to head to the beautiful hills of Mount Kenya. Here, you may get lucky and catch a glimpse of one of these cats roaming the jungle terrain.

Actually a picture of the one most Elusive Animals In Africa should be placed here – The panther, or better said a black leopard. Sadly to see this animal would be for me the lotto win. No picture available from my photo galleries. Also I have never seen a image so far of a black leopard in Africa, but in India.

 

Black Rhino

While not as rare as the last two female remaining Northern white rhinos, there are only five thousand black rhinos in the wild today. As such, they are considered to be critically endangered making them an unlikely guest appearance on your African safari. However, sightings do occur, and if you’re lucky, you’ll see the rhino run. Despite their notable size, a black rhino can run at 55 km per hour and is quite aggressive. You certainly don’t want one to hit your jeep, that’s for sure! The difference between a white rhino and a black rhino is; a black rhino has a hooked upper lip and a white rhino has more a square lip.

 

Black Rhino standing in grassland in a Savannah, behind the animal grass. This is one of the Elusive African Animals

Black Rhinoceros, to find them is not an easy task, but when you know what to look for!

 

The Honey Badgers

Known to be fast and fearless, these creatures may also be camera shy as very few people actually spot one. This is perhaps due to their size. While the cute skunk-like creature takes on massive predators in the wild, it’s actually only small and burrows deep under the ground. As fearless the honey badgers are, they even attack snakes. Interestingly, if you’re looking to spot one of these little critters, you may want to head to the Kalahari. According to game rangers, this is the place where most sightings do occur.

 

Honeybadger walking in the grass, it is black with a white back stipe fur from the head to the end of the tail on top. One of the most elusive animals in Africa

One of the funny animals in my opinion, a Honey badger. It’s not often you see these little chaps, but in Botswana we saw some nearly every day on our Photo Tour.

 

African Wild Dog

Another endangered animal, there are only 2000 to 5000 African wild dogs living in Africa. The good news is that if you do manage to spot one, it’s likely that you’ll see a lot more. African Wild Dogs are a pack animal and where one goes as many as twenty more may follow. The African Wild Dog is a beautiful creature despite looking rather odd. With a bushy tail and big bat like ears, the unknowing adventurer may not even realise what they’re looking at spotting one in the wild. While known as a dog, the animal is actually close to a wolf and can be seen around sub-Saharan Africa. So, where can you spot these pack pooches?

Well, you may want to head to Savuti Chobe National Park around December and January. It is during this time that zebra migrate through the park. The wild dogs often show, hoping to get a meal out of the fresh food supply. Alternatively, you can head to Zimbabwe where you might see a few in Hwange National Park or Mana Pools.

 

african wild dog cubs fighting for food, they try to tear apart one piece of meat, behind them big branches. These are some of the elusive animals In Africa

African Wild Dog Cubs fighting over a piece of meat the pack has brought to them. Botswana

 

African Penguin

We bet you didn’t know there were penguins in Africa, but there are. This is the only type of penguin that lives and breeds in Africa. With a white underbelly and a black top, they do look like the typical penguins you’d find in colder climates. One noticeable difference would be the dark stripe over their chest. Sadly, the population of African penguins is declining due to oil spills and other environmental issues. However, you can still spot them dotted around Africa. The Western area of South Africa homes a significant percentage of their population.

 

African Penguins coming out of the ocean and walk along the sandy beach, behind them big rock boulders. These are some of the most Elusive Animals in Africa

African penguins coming back late afternoon from fishing in South Africa

 

Pangolin

Another rare creature to spot that safari guides have a hard time finding is the Pangolin. This creature looks like an anteater with scales. It can also be described as an aardvark with armour. When it’s threatened the creature will roll into a ball, and it looks rather incredible. It’s is most likely the inspiration for the Pokemon Sandshrew. These creatures are nocturnal and after multiple safari trips you probably still won’t have seen one. While they are hunted for meat, these animals are not endangered.

 

Pangolin searching for ants on the ground, this is one of the Elusive Animals in Africa

So far I have not seen any of the elusive Black-footed cat in Africa. Image courtesy “2630ben”

 

African Black-Footed Cat

Finally, the smallest wild cat living in Africa will hardly ever be seen by humans. The black-footed cat actually looks a lot like your typical domestic animal. However, its stripes and colours make it a rare beauty, and with only ten thousand in the wild, they are very hard to find. As well as this, the little cats are shy, nocturnal and live a life of solitude. Often referred to as the ‘anthill lion’ due to its ferocious nature and tiny if you are lucky enough to see one make sure you snap a photo. You’ll certainly have earned bragging rights if you do!

 Black footed cat stretching in grass, this is one of the elusive animals in Africa

Black-footed cat this is one of the most elusive animals in Africa. Image courtesy “wolfavni”

 

Images of Aardvark, Pangolin & Black-footed Cat

The images of an Aardvark, Pangolin and the black-footed cat are not from my photo library. I have bought them in nature agency for this blog post. So far none of these 3 elusive animals have crossed my path in Africa, sadly. I do hope they will some day. Every image is labelled with the image courtesy what I purchased. I am very sorry that never is the full name mentioned who took the images. It was just not given!
 

Did I wake your curiosity for Africa? The African landscape is just as amazing. This continent is a dream and when you get up early enough, you will see it’s upmost beauty it has to offer for you. African landscape pictures taken early morning, enjoy.

In my photograph galleries I also offer stock images to buy online. More info about to purchase pictures as photography prints.

 

Review Of Some Of The Most Famous African Animals

What is Africa known for? Of course for it’s sheer diversity and grandiosity of its wildlife above all else.

 

They are one of the continent’s greatest assets, an attraction to tourists the world around and a delight to photographers and nature enthusiasts alike. If Africa is known for anything, it is known for the sheer diversity and grandiosity of its wildlife above all else. Here, we are going to look at some of the continent’s most famous animals, the significance they have built up over the years, and why they make thrilling subjects not just to photograph, but to study and learn about as well.

Rhinos

The second largest land mammal in the world (the first will come a little later). There are two species of rhino, black and white, that live in Africa. Besides their immense size and impressive horn, they are best known for their cantankerous nature. Rhinos have long been assumed to be highly solitary, but more recent evidence suggests that the huge creatures come out under the stars not only to socialize with one another but to cohabit peacefully with other creatures at their favourite watering holes. Though rhinos are hard to spot, they live in a variety of different locales in Africa, from broad sweeping savannahs to within the dense jungle vegetation. One of the more noteworthy sights of the African rhino is their unique method of bathing, which primarily includes soaking their tough skin in mud to protect it from the sun and biting insects.

 

African Rhinos, Black Rhino grassing in grassland, Land Mammal in the world, savannah of Namibia, behind salt pan

 

Lions

The “king of the jungle”, lions do not, in fact, tend to live in jungles very often. Rather, these majestic big cats are the kings and queens of the vast savannahs. A true apex predator, lions have no predators of their own and represent a threat to the vast majority of other creatures they share a habitat with. Lions strike the most impressive figure while hunting. Using pack tactics, males and females alike will join together not only to hunt small game like antelope but to collaborate and take down bigger creatures like buffalos and even giraffes. Living in prides as large as 30 cats, seeing a family of lions roaming the savannah is a sight unlike any other.

 

Review of some of the most famous African animals, two lions in the Savannah in front passing a antelope

 

Giraffe

One of the more outlandish of the African mammals, giraffes have been part of human history for millennia. Some folk tales including those from East Africa speculate as to how the giraffe got such a long neck, including one tale about eating one too many magic herbs. Indeed, giraffes spend a great deal of their life eating. Those long necks allow them to reach leaves from trees that other animals have no chance of eating, meaning they can linger in solitude for long around patches that other animals have long abandoned. Giraffes aren’t entirely sociable, however, and when two male giraffes meet, it is often to compete over a female. These clashes almost resemble fencing or a boxing match, with both bulls looking to land blows using their strong, long necks and horned heads.

 

largest land mammal, giraffe drinking water at a river in Botswana, many trees and bushes

 

Leopard

Contrary to the pack life led by lions, the second largest cats in the world, the sleeker, spotted leopard lives a much more solitary life. Incredibly fast and stealthy felines, they are some of the smartest hunters on the continent. Using their spots to blend in with the tall grass and bushes, they stalk hoofed animals like antelopes, getting closer until they can use their superior speed to catch them in one dash. After hunting, leopards show the rather odd practice of carrying their prey up into treetops, where they can come back and enjoy their meal after it has time some time to warm in the sun.

 

Famous African animals, African leopard walking in grassland, motion blue picture, taken in Botswana

 

Hippopotamus

If there’s a large body of water in Africa, there are likely to be hippos. Hence how they got their names from the Greeks, with “hippopotamus” meaning “water horse”. They are much bigger than horses, of course, making the third largest land mammal in the world. Hippos spend up to 16 hours a day in the water, and can most likely be found bathing at day or hunting at night. Despite their seemingly peaceful lifestyle, however, hippos can be very aggressive and vicious animals. Their huge teeth and tusks are used to fight off those they see as threats, including humans from time to time. This is mostly for defence purposes, however, as hippos eat little else but grass, up to 80 lbs of it a night.

 

Hippopos, two hippos in the water, one has its mouth open showing it's teeth, famous African animals, Land mammal in Botswana

 

Elephant

The African elephant is the animal that draws the most attention, from tourists, photographers, and conservationists alike. They are the single biggest land mammal in the animal kingdom, measuring up to 3.3 meters tall up to their shoulders. Also known as African savannah elephants or bush elephants, their tusks, ears, and trunks are all equally iconic. African elephants are known as “gentle giants” and can relatively peaceful, but when they are defending their young, sick, or wounded, they have been known to cause massive damage. Elephants have a strong pack bond and can mostly be seen migrating as a family. Because of their immense size, very few predators attempt to attack them unless desperate.

 

Review of some of the most famous African animals, African elephant eating in the African bush in Botswana, land mammal in the world

 

Antelope

Though perhaps not as majestic as the elephant or rhino or as fierce as the lion or cheetah, the antelope still attracts a lot of attention from visitors. There are 91 species of antelope, most living in Africa, throughout its savannahs, woodlands, and deserts. Unlike deer and other horned animals, antelopes keep their antlers throughout their lifetime. Skittish, graceful, and small, they are some of the most common prey for predators but their high speed and sensitivity to danger helps them escape more often than not. Though quiet and spending most of their time grazing, photographers and tourists hope to catch antelopes “stotting”, an odd behaviour that involves repeatedly jumping straight up in the air in a graceful motion that has often been compared with watching the ballet.

 

Lechwee Antelope, two land mammals, famous African animals, lit with background light early African morning in the savannah of Botswana

 

The wildlife of Africa will constantly continue to keep drawing attention from visitors, photographers, documentarians and all kinds of people. If you want to see more of these beautiful beasts up close, then take a look through our gallery of wildlife images and our beautiful landscape pictures.
Discover the rarest and most elusive animals in Africa
All our pictures we are selling as photography prints as well. Information about animal photo prints for sale and about stock photography images.