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14 Underrated Safari Animals You Should Know About

Underrated safari animals
By WildlifeConservationist - Own work, photo taken at Working with Wildlife, CC BY-SA 4.0,

When we think of safari it’s usually the “classic” safari animals that come to mind – elephants, lions, zebras etc. While these are of course must-sees, let’s not forget about their lesser-known (but by no means less than!) savannah neighbours. Be on the look-out for these underrated safari animals as well!

1. African Wild Dog

wild dog
Image by Elli Stattaus via Pixabay

African wild dogs are great team players, living in packs and showcasing some seriously coordinated hunting moves. Sadly, they’re pretty hard to spot these days because of their endangered status.

2. Pangolin

Pangolin. Image via Depositphotos

Pangolins are like the armored knights of the animal kingdom, but are unfortunately facing major threats due to poaching. These shy, nocturnal creatures love ants and termite feasts.

3. Caracal

Image by Michael M via Pexels

Caracals are the high jumpers of the savanna and have ears that look like they’re wearing fancy feathered hats. They are solitary cats who stick to the shadows of Africa’s woodlands and semi-deserts.

4. Aardvark

aardvark vs. gorilla
Aardvark Anteater Digging in the Sand in the Kalahari Desert in Namibia, Africa. Image via Depositphotos

Aardvarks are the oddballs of the African night, snuffling around for ants and termites with their long noses. They’re pretty good at making themselves at home, digging burrows that other animals love to move into.

5. Serval

serval cat
Image by gayleenfroese2 via Pixabay

Servals are tall and elegant with a beautiful spotted coat. But they’re not just good-looking; these cats are skilled hunters and often catch birds mid-flight.

6. Bat-Eared Fox

Bat-Eared Fox
Image by wrangel via Depositphotos

With ears that could probably pick up satellite TV, bat-eared foxes are all about listening for their next insect meal. They’re sociable animals, hanging out in family groups and sharing parenting duties in the African savanna.

7. Bongo

Image via Pixabay

Bongos bring a bit of color to the forest with their striking coats and spiraled horns. These shy antelopes munch away on leaves in the dense forests of Central Africa.

8. Okapi

Daniel Jolivet, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Okapis are like the unicorns of the animal world, with zebra stripes on their body that almost look like giraffes. They’re elusive creatures that live in Congo’s rainforests.

9. Genet

Image by AOosthuizen via Depositphotos

Genets are the night-time acrobats of the African bush who skilfully climb trees with their sleek, spotted bodies. They live alone and eat a diet of small mammals and insects.

10. Honey Badger

Honey badger
Honey badger, Kruger National Park. By Sumeet Moghe – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Honey badgers don’t care—they’re the tough guys of the animal kingdom. They’re completely fearless and always ready to take on snakes and bees. 

11. African Civet

african civet
African Civet – Civettictis Civetta large viverrid native to sub-Saharan Africa, it is threatened by hunting, and wild-caught individuals are kept for producing civetone for the perfume industry. Image via Depositphotos

African civets are the skunks of the savanna, but with a more stylish black and white coat. They’re night owls, foraging for a mixed bag of fruits, insects, and small critters, and they’re known for producing a scent that’s been quite the hit in the perfume world.

12. Bushbaby

Image by ThuyHaBich via Pixabay

Bushbabies are the big-eyed cuties of the night, bouncing between trees like circus performers. They love insects, though they won’t say no to some sweet fruit or tree gum.

13. African Porcupine

African porcupine
By Quartl – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

African porcupines are the punk rockers of the rodent world with a coat of sharp quills to protect them. They’re vegetarians, digging around for roots and tubers when they’re not in their burrows.

20. Marabou Stork

marabou stork
By Charles J. Sharp – Own work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The Marabou Stork might not win any beauty contests with its bald head, but it’s still an unforgettable sight. They’re large birds, standing up to 5 feet tall with a wingspan of over 10 feet.

Underrated Safari Animals: Wrapping Up

underrated safari animals
Image by Michael_Luenen via Pixabay

While all animals that you might spot on safari are amazing sights, spotting these little guys is perhaps even more special than the more well-knonwn safari animals because of how rare they are. Either way, the first rule of safari is to always keep your eyes peeled – the more you look the more you’ll see.

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