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Ungulates of Africa

Ungulates of Africa

Africa has many kinds of ungulates, ranging from the prehistoric seeming rhino’s to the tiny steenbok. That’s why I wanted to give them some special attention in a separate blog and give you an idea of the kinds of ungulates you could encounter in Africa, by showing some of the ones I encountered during my trip through South-Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

I’ll kick-off with the most appealing species, why save the best for last after all? For me that’s the rhino. There are only four species of rhino in the world and they are either seriously endangered or on the brink of extinction. A real shame, especially since they are such extraordinary mammals. In Africa it’s possible to see two species, the White and the Black Rhino. Black Rhino is the rarest although White Rhino also has a decreasing population. The Black Rhino can be quite easily seen in Etosha National Park in Namibia. The first Rhino I ever saw in the wild luckily still had two huge horns: that’s how they are supposed to look!

Black Rhino

Later that day we had the opportunity to view one a bit closer.

Black Rhino

I saw the White Rhino in the Pilanesberg Park in South-Africa. Although the name might suggest otherwise: the colour is not the biggest difference between the two species. On previous pictures you can see that the Black Rhino has a hooklip and a differently shaped head. The White Rhino on the other hand has wide lips. That is the reason why some people also call them hooklipped and widelipped Rhino. Personally I think Black and White Rhino sounds a bit more charming.

White Rhino

Here’s another peculiar animal: the Giraffe. This animal cannot be misidentified!


In the forests of Congo lives really another kind of Giraffe: the Okapi. Although the Giraffe is divided into four species by some scientists, this is not widely accepted. So there are differences between the Giraffes, but they are not very striking. In any case it’s a remarkable animal. What I also found strange to see was that the Giraffe eats thorns of a centimetre long like they are candy!


That tongue must be made out of leather…

The zebra is another one of those cool animals, they can be very easily seen in Africa. The Plains zebra is the most common species, but I’ve also seen another species over there: Hartmann’s zebra: a subspecies of the Mountain Zebra.

Plains Zebra

Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra

The Wildebeest is an animal that migrates by the thousands in some African countries. I only saw small groups of them.

Blue Wildebeest

And then there are the different kinds of antelopes. Of course this is such a large group of species, that there are all kinds of separate families within, but I’ll just throw them into a big pile for now. One of the largest antelopes I’ve seen over there is the Greater Kudu. The males have peculiar shaped antlers. This antelope can be easily found.

Greater Kudu

The Waterbuck is also a large antelope. This antelope is a bit harder to find, but still not that hard. I had one posing very nicely at one point.


A species that is less well known is the Roan Antelope. The animals on the photo don’t have full-grown horns yet, but when they do they will look like a big sized goat. A goat the size of a horse of course!

Roan Antelope

Red Hartebeest is another big antelope with a strangely formed head and small curved horns.

Red Hartebeest

The Gemsbok has a striking appearance with long horns and a white and black coloured head.


I’ll finish with the most common antelopes of Africa. The first one is the Springbok: impossible to miss.


Then there is the Impala, that one is even harder to miss.


The third one is also an Impala but is a rare subspecies: Black-faced Impala.

Black-faced Impala

Just one more! The Steenbok was tiniest antelope I saw. Sadly I wasn’t able to get good pictures of it. But it was nice to see. I did not see the antelope that is even tinier than the Steenbok: the Dik-dik. By all means look it up online, it looks very cool!


For more from my Africa trip see the links below:

How about my encounter with a Cheetah and a Leopard on the same afternoon!

Or a very nice savannah experience involving a lion, jackals, vultures and Secretarybirds!

I also wrote some posts about the specific birds of Africa: birds of the African swamp, birds of the African garden, birds of the savannah and a hornbill special.

And also some posts about other iconic mammals of Africa: elephants and the mammals of the Okavango Delta.

We also enjoyed amazing landscapes like the Okavango, Sossusvlei and Spitzkoppe.


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