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.


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



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



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



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



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



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



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 photographs 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 photographs.

Say Good Bye To Kaziranga and Hello To Ranthambore Bengal Tiger Harbor

Ranthambore National Park, the home of Bengal Tiger, Sloth Bear, Leopard, Samba Deer and many more Indian Wildlife


We arrived late night in Sawai Madhopur at a farm house. Farm house, in India? Yes, it is possible. My friend Ravindra from the Ranthambore Regency has built a farm house in a wonderful setting at the edge of the Ranthambore National Park. He offered us the house, which has 5 beautiful big rooms. It was brand new; we were the first guests among Swedish guests. The staff service was beyond many can imagine. Just one example, I have asked Ravindra for wheelchair ramps for Jan. They have put in ramps at all steps, these ramps were a tad to steep. I asked for better longer ramps not steep, showing them how long they should be. Same day, few hours later, after our safari, the new ramps were installed. This made it easier for Jan to use and move around. Special thanks to the great staff and Ravindra. You have made our stay in Ranthambore special.

Bengal Tiger eyes portrait, two eyes looking into camera

Bengal Tiger Portrait. FujiFilm X-T2; XF 100-400mm & 1.4x TC

The Exiting Wildlife, The Bengal Tiger

Yes, I stop with yada, we come to the exiting wildlife of Ranthambore. I was in touch with my guide Nafees the last 6 month to organize Ranthambore through and through. All needed to sit on the dot, which is in India quite a challenge sometimes. Here it comes, the word “but”. But when you know a bit the Asian culture and customs, as well follow the words of Jeske: “go with the flow”, nothing will be a problem, it always will work out. No worries, be happy!
Nafees organized and guided for us unforgettable safaris. He booked us 2 jeeps for the upcoming 14 safaris in Ranthambore. Himself guided us on one jeep; the second jeep took over Hansraj, fantastic great spotter & Jahid great driver and spotter as well. My compliments to them.
We had plenty of sightings of Tigers on this trip, Jan’s Indian wildlife photography wish list got shorter day by day, once a trick has been accomplished. We have sighted 2 Tigress, each with their 3 playful youngsters on a kill and in the water. It was a scene of such bliss to watch these young cubs playing. Sometimes some challenges were included to get a good composition. Branches or grass in the way and some other unwanted things. Hmmm, no hmmm, this makes you move on the jeep and not just sit and push a button. You needed to work your way around all this. Move up or down to the side and floating if you are able to. I love these challenges in photography. It makes you see not only the animal in the viewfinder, you observe around the animal. You have to work on your photograph; you take your time to accomplish it with or without branches the way you want. Oh well, if all odds were against me, the tiger did not fit into the photograph, I squeezed the tiger into a landscape photograph. (insider info of this great group, see an example of a wildlife landscape photograph

Two Bengal Tigers, mother and cub sharing a tenderness moment rubbing heads

Bengal Tigers tender moment. FujiFilm X-T2; XF 100-400mm & 1.4x TC

Seeing And Photographing A Bengal Tiger

Indian Leopards or even the very shy Sloth Bear can transform a wildlife photographers face into a very happy glowing face. Evgeny had such a face when he had his first Tiger sighting, smile from ear to ear, he was very happy with what he captured with his cameras.

One day we entered Peacock paradise. Jan & Evgeny’s playground to photograph these big birds. Big birdies everywhere, on trees, on ground, on the big wall of the Ranthambore Fort, where you looked you saw them. The mission peacock started. Get the “bigger chicken” of the jungle as you would like to photograph it. We all gave our best, not quite sure that the peacocks gave their best! We photographed them flying, dancing with their beautiful long feathers spread to a wheel to impress the females, good luck, or just doing the “gugg in die Luft” position. (gugg in die Luft > doing nothing, or in other words, the empty box is in use. Maybe zen?)

Last day has arrived and with that the last 2 drives into the bush. Carole had to fly back to Europe one day earlier, due some work related obligations. At that stage we still did not see the Indian leopard or a sloth bear. At the last safari, late afternoon, Evgeny, Jan and Jeske hit the little Jackpot. They had the pleasure to capture the Indian Leopard and Sloth Bear. Both animals are quite shy, not easy to spot. Their guide and driver managed to spot these two animals, they even spent quite a while with them. I envy them for that. What a great finale of this photo tour with a bunch of great people 🙂

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