Endangered Animals and Where to Travel to see Them

  1. Elephant

Loxodonta Africana is the largest known terrestrial animal. Known for their tight-knit family groups and their considerable – up to 6 tonne – weight, elephants are synonymous with Africa. Sadly, these giants of the African bush are listed as vulnerable due to a combination of poaching for horn, habitat loss and encroachment. Luckily for us, as a flagship species, elephants are well protected and there are plenty of places where they can still be seen in the wild; alive and free.

African Budget SafarisElephant - African Budget Safaris

Best places to see elephant:

Derek KeatsGorilla - Derek Keats

  1. Gorilla

Critically endangered, Gorilla beringei has felt the full force of unrest in central Africa. Ravaged by war, poaching and habitat loss and human encroachment, these great apes are an icon of the struggle for wildlife in Africa. Adult male gorillas or silverbacks weigh in at about 180kg; not bad for a vegetarian! Sadly, the mountain gorillas are limited to a few isolated groups in East Africa.

Gorillas virunga -

The best places to see gorillas are:

Kostos LimitsiosPenguins at boulders beach - Kostos Limitsios

  1. African Penguin

Aren’t they cute! Sad but true, these little rockstars are perched precipitously on the edge due mostly to dwindling fish stocks and habitat loss. Spheniscus demersus or the African penguin makes its home on the shores of Southern Africa. It’s not every day that you get to see a penguin on a beach while wearing a bikini (or swimming trunks) and basking in the sunshine but there you have it! Penguins in Africa, and another great reason to travel.

Penguin love -

Best penguin spot:

amrishwadekarThree lioness - amrishwadekar

  1. Lion

Pantera leo. In the past 21 years, the population of the African lion has declined by more than 40%. This is largely due to habitat destruction, encroachment and prey depletion. For the undisputed King of the jungle (or savannah for those in the know), life is perilous. The good news is that while the lion is listed as vulnerable; in four countries, here in southern Africa, populations are marginally on the rise. No campfire in the African bush would be complete without the cavernous roar of the mighty lion. 

African Budget SafarisLion eyes - African Budget Safaris

These are the best places to see them:

African Budget SafarisPainted wolf - African Budget Safaris

  1. Painted Wolf (wild dog)

Lycaon pictus has had a bit of a rough ride. These dogs have massive ranges and so have suffered tremendously with the carving up of the wilderness into fenced parcels. They are currently listed as endangered and in need of protection. To help change the negative connotations around their natures and behaviour, the name was changed from wild dogs to painted wolves. They are incredibly social and can be found in packs from 10 to 40 individuals. It is something rare and spectacular to see these wild dogs in the wild.

African Budget SafarisPainted wolves - African Budget Safaris

Best places to see Painted Wolves:

Gerry ZamboniBlack rhino - Gerry Zamboni

  1. Rhino

Earlier this year we witnessed the death and therefore the extinction of the last male northern white rhino. Here in southern Africa, we are blessed with both black and white rhinos. While the white rhino is merely near-threatened, the black rhinoceros is critically endangered. Since 1960 we have lost 97.6% of these creatures. The main reason is man. Diceros bicornis is big, near-sighted and fiercely protective of their young.

While their location is often a closely guarded secret, your best chance for seeing rhino on the brink of extinction are:

Roman BoedRhino - Roman Boed

Tikki Hywood TrustPangolin - Tikki Hywood Trust

  1. Pangolin

The pangolin is a small ground living mammal that is covered with fish-like scales. They are shy and truly remarkable for a number of reasons. Recently they have become famous for all the wrong reasons as the most trafficked animal in the world. Last year all eight species of pangolin won a small victory when they were listed from vulnerable to critically endangered. In southern Africa you are likely to come across the ground pangolin, Smutsia temminckii . While these diminutive creatures are widely distributed, only the very luckiest ever encounter them in the wild, making them truly the jewel in the crown of safari spotting.

Adrian SteirnGround pangolin tikki hywood trust (3) - Adrian Steirn

For the best chance to see a pangolin:

Greg WillisCheetah eating - Greg Willis

  1. Cheetah

Acinonyx jubatus, the fastest land animal on the planet. The cheetah is unmistakable, savannah yellow with black spots with clear tear-lines running from their eyes. These cats need large ranges and open spaces to really stretch their legs, and they too have suffered from habitat loss and are today listed as vulnerable. Once ranging across the African continent, today they are limited to only 6 countries in Southern Africa.

Best place to see cheetah:


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