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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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