Fantastic Beasts Of Africa And Where To Find Them

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Africa is home to the world’s exotic animals, the continent not only boasts itself with fantastic beasts in the wild but also its diverse flora and fauna. Even though many people from around the world travel to Africa to see these amazing creatures that God has granted to the African sphere, there’s still a lot of threats surrounding our precious animals.

Amongst the most popular animals in Africa are the “Big Five”, these are Africa’s most notable and notorious and they are mostly common in Kenya and South Africa, the “Big Five” consist of; Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, Lion and the Leopard. The term “Big Five” was coined down as early as 19th century to describe the animal’s power and strength and how hard it was to hunt them on foot.

Below is a list of Africa’s fantastic beasts and where you can find them.

1. African Elephant

The African elephant is the world’s largest land animal and can reach up to a height of 13 feet tall at the shoulder. The largest elephant on record was an adult male African elephant, it weighed about 24,000 pounds and was 13 feet tall at the shoulder. The giant animal has the largest and highly developed brain among all land animals.

African elephants can be found in Kenya, Tanzania, Guinea, Niger, Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

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The amazing elephant’s trunk is capable of sensing the size, shape and temperature of an object and to also lift food and suck up water then pour it into it’s mouth.

The African elephant has the longest pregnancy period amongst all animals, where the female takes 22 months from conception to give birth and can reproduce from as early as 16 years old.

2. African Lion

The African lion is an apex predator found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Lions are the most social cats amongst all the big cats, they live in groups called prides, consisting of few males and related females with their offspring.

The African lion is the largest of all the African big cats and the second-largest in the Felidae family, with the tiger being the largest but fact remains, the lion will always be the King of the Jungle.

African lions can be found in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Photo by Francesco De Tommaso on Unsplash

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African lions are the loudest of the big cats and their roar can be heard up to 8 km (5 miles) away. They may roar mightily to show off their territorial ownership and intimidating rivals or to locate other members of the pride.

Related: facts about lions

3. Cape Buffalo

The buffalo is the most common and abundant amongst all large herbivores in Africa. There is only one genus and one species of this beast in Africa, and the single species has two distinct types that include; the large savanna buffalo which is native to Kenya and Tanzania, whereas, the dwarf forest buffalo is native to West Africa. The buffaloes are known for their large, heavy and fierce appearance and have left a bad reputation amongst many hunters and locals living in their proximity.

Buffaloes can be found in Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Zambia, Congo, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Photo by Charl Durand on Unsplash

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Buffaloes depend on water and can not live in regions with less than 10 inches of rain a year.

4. Cheetah

The world’s fastest land animal is found in Africa, this cat species can reach the highest speed of 75 miles per hour. To maintain its balance and change direction while running the cheetah uses its long tail as a radar while at the highest speed. East African cheetahs form the second-largest population after the Southern African cheetah, whereas Kenya is the main stronghold for the East African cheetah, with the largest population of 800 to 1200 adults in the country since 2015.

Cheetahs can be found in Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Somalia and South Africa.

Photo by Dušan Smetana on Unsplash

Did You Know?

The cheetah is the only big cat that cannot roar but can purr unlike the other big cats who can only roar.

5. Giraffe

Giraffes are the tallest living mammals on earth with an average height of up to 19 feet, they are mostly found in savannas and open acacia woodlands across Africa. Their unique coat pattern differs from one giraffe to another and they have two hair-covered horns known as ossicones. These magnificent creatures depend on plant matter and can stay for a long time without drinking water due to the amount of water they get from their leafy meals.

Giraffes can be found in Chad, Cameroon, Kenya, Niger, Namibia, Uganda and South Africa.

Photo by Hailey Sawyer on Unsplash

Did You Know?

Kenya is the heart and soul of giraffes in East Africa with an estimate of 29,000 giraffes which is equivalent to 30% of all giraffes found in Africa.

6. Hippopotamus

Hippos are the third largest land mammals after the elephant and white rhino, these creatures are native to Sub-Saharan Africa and are mostly found in areas with plenty of water where they spend most of their time in the water to cool their skin, they can spend up to 16 hours soaking in the water and come out of the water to graze mostly during twilight or at night.

Hippopotamuses can be found in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Sudan, Somalia, Congo, Gambia and South Africa.

Image by Leon Basson from Pixabay

Did You Know?

When food is scarce hippos store food in their bellies and can go up to three weeks without eating.

7. Leopard

Unlike lions, leopards are the deadliest wild cats in Africa, being solitary creatures themselves, leopards are also the most elusive and secretive of all the big cats and are very hard to trace in the wild. It is also considered the strongest climber of trees amongst the big cats, and they would spend most of the day resting on trees.

Leopards can be found in Kenya, Zambia, Morocco, Botswana, Tanzania and South Africa.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Did You Know?

Leopards would always set a territory which they mark with their urine and claw marks, in these territories the males have much larger territories compared to the females.

8. Ostrich

The ostrich is the largest flightless bird and fastest bird to run on land and can run up to speeds of 70 km/h (43 mph), it is native to East Africa, the species is widely distributed in savannas and woodlands. The bird has a very distinct long neck stretching from its oval-like body and two long legs with two toes on each foot.

Ostriches can be found in Morocco, Sudan, Kenya and Tunisia.

Photo by Philippe Oursel on Unsplash

Did You Know?

It is widely believed that ostriches bury their heads in the sand, however, they do lie down with their heads against the ground whenever they feel threatened and that would look like the ostrich has buried it’s head because it’s head and neck blend in with the colour of the sand.

9. Pangolin

The most trafficked mammal on earth lives in Africa, the mammal is poached for both its scales and meat. Even though there are eight species of the pangolin, four of which are native to Asia and the other four are native to Africa, all of them are threatened to extinction. It is believed that their keratin-rich scales possess properties that are used in Chinese traditional medicine.

Pangolins can be found in Nigeria, Cameroon, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa.

Did You Know?

Pangolins are the only mammals covered in scales. They have large protective keratin scales covering their skin making them the only mammals covered in scales

10. Scimitar Oryx

The Scimitar oryx also known as the Sahara oryx was once widespread in north Africa to as late as 1800s, by the time it was in 1900s the species’ population had significantly declined and by early 2000s it went extinct in the wild. Today the species is highly protected in reserves throughout north and west Africa.

Scimitar oryx can be found in Chad, Tunisia, Sudan, Senegal and Morocco.

Did You Know?

They can survive without water for long periods of time as they get water from water-rich plants.

11. Serval

The serval is a medium-sized wild cat native to Africa with an average height of 24 inches. Its distinctive features include a small head, large ears and long legs relative to its body size. The cat species can be found in areas that are close to water bodies such as savannas and wetlands.

The serval can be found in Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Did You Know?

Servals have long, powerful legs that are important for jumping and they can jump as high as 12 feet to catch birds in mid-air.

12. Springbok

Springboks are small cute antelopes that are reddish-brown with a pale underside. It is one of the fastest land animals on earth and can reach up to speeds of 90 km/h. These animals are very common all over southern and south western Africa and it is also the national animal of South Africa.

Springboks can be found in South Africa, Angola, Namibia and Botswana.

Image by Lando Hamukwaya from Pixabay

Did You Know?

Springboks can jump up to 9 feet from the ground.

13. Rhinoceros

It is one of the most poached animals in Africa for its precious horns which are known to be used in Chinese traditional medicine. Over the years the rhinoceros population has significantly declined due to illegal poaching. Today there are a few rhinoceros left which can only be found in protected sanctuaries in Kenya and South Africa. There are two species of the rhinoceros which are the white rhino and the black rhino.

Rhinoceros can be found in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Image by Nel Botha from Pixabay

Did You Know?

The white rhino is the second-largest land animal after the elephant, it is square-lipped and is actually grey in colour with a hump on its neck and a long face. The black rhino is much smaller with a hooked-lipped and has a thick, hairless grey hide.

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Silvaro D'Silvas
Silvaro D'Silvas

An adventurer on pursuit for knowledge and to share it with the World.

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