Eco Travel Africa Guide to accommodations, adventures, African safaris, eco-tourism tours, wildlife, maps and routes

Southern African Mammals Guide - Class Mammalia

Mammals of Southern Africa
Travel Writer: EcoTravel Africa  

The "Big 5":LionLeopardElephantBuffaloRhino
Large Mammals of Southern AfricaSmall Mammals of Southern Africa

Photographer: EcoTravel Africa 

There are 293 species of land mammals and 37 species of marine mammals in the Southern African subregion; all belong to the Class Mammalia.

In spite of their adaptations, some mammals inhabit seriously reduced habitats, while others, such as the black rhinoceros, the riverine rabbit,  roan antelope and the wild dog, are endangered.

This is largely due to conflicting land use with man: most of the larger mammals are present within game reserves only, or in the more remote parts of southern African countries. 

Species that were classified as 'endangered' and are now present in greater numbers due to careful conservation measures (although some of these species are still considered vulnerable) are the bontebok, cape mountain zebra, white rhino and the tsessebe.

Due to their highly developed brains and adaptability, mammals are the dominant group of land animals in Southern Africa.

Like other animal groups, most Southern African mammals are superbly adapted to their environment, and tend to blend in with their surroundings as a survival mechanism.

For the same reason, most are fairly elusive: these factors combine to make it difficult to spot many mammals, with the exception of large herds.

In order to better observe mammals in one of the many Southern African game reserves, and to make your holiday more enjoyable and rewarding, follow these tips:

Southern African Mammal Spotting Guide:

* the best time to spot mammals is dawn and dusk, particularly at waterholes
* try to stay down-wind of animals
* wear 'neutral' coloured clothing - move slowly, speak quietly
* avoid shiny jewellery (that may catch the light)
* avoid strong perfume
* don't smoke: the smell of tobacco smoke is a foreign smell to animals that signals danger

Country Guide: The Mammal Species of Southern Africa by Country
Printable List: Southern African mammal species checklist.


Southern Africa
Southern Africa has many top Game / Nature Reserves, and is home to many of the mammals of southern Africa. Numerous wildlife safari and tour companies operate guided tours to Southern Africa. Popular adventure travel activities in Southern Africa include: horse riding safaris, elephant back safaris, mountain biking, birding, wilderness walking trails, science safaris and volunteering especially for GAP year students.
Southern Africa Wildlife - Fauna & Flora
Amphibians Ecology
Birds Trees
Fishes Shrubs
Mammals Grasses
Reptiles : Snakes Herbaceous Plants
Invertebrates Fungi : Mushrooms
Copyright Information: The travel information, images and, landscape, safari lodge and wildlife photographs on this Southern Africa XCatX page are the © of Eco Travel Africa and the Travel Writers / Photographers. Royalty Free Images and Photos of African wildlife, including Southern Africa's XCatX are available on this website.