What animals can you encounter on an African Aerial Safari? Here is a guide.

Rhino's without borders darting with game rangers

What Endangered Animals can you encounter on Safari?

Which endangered animals can you encounter on Safari?

There’s something innately special about encountering animals in their natural habitat. Perhaps you could put it down to feeling a truer, more authentic connection to them as you observe them going about their lives. For most safari guests in Africa, spotting the Big Five (lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard, and rhino) is reason to celebrate. Consider how much more exceptional then, to be able to chance upon an endangered species.

Whether it be climate change, human encroachment, or poaching, a staggering number of animals are creeping towards extinction. There are currently 16,306 of these animals on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) endangered species list. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (a collective of over a thousand experts) estimates that 24 species are added to the list every day.

With an aerial safari (such as the incredible experience African Aerial Safaris provide), your chance to encounter an endangered species is heightened. A private aircraft allows you to seamlessly connect some of the most exclusive wildlife locations in one journey. We’ll now take a look at what endangered animals you can encounter on safari. Ready? Let’s go!


endangered Pangolin on safari

Spotted in: South Africa; Namibia

An encounter with a pangolin – with prehistoric-looking scales covering its entire body, giving it an otherworldly appearance – promises to be a unique experience.

This dweller of sub-Saharan Africa has a long, sticky tongue perfectly suited to finding and guzzling ants and termites. Why are pangolins on the critically endangered list? Unfortunately, it is one of the most trafficked animals on the globe. With its meat considered a delicacy and its hard, keratin shell used for traditional medicines. They are extremely shy and impressively adept at climbing trees.

At African Aerial Safaris, with our strict “look, don’t touch” policy, we give you the opportunity to experience these ethereal creatures from a vantage point as unique as they are.

African Wild dog

Spotted in: South Africa; Botswana; Zimbabwe

If you thought your pet dog was fantastic, consider the African Wild Dog. The pack hunts together, they share their food, care for the injured and ill, play rambunctiously and are ferociously family orientated. These spotted sentient beings are, unfortunately, one of the most critically endangered mammals in the world. Mainly due to disease, targeted killings, and habitat fragmentation. Indeed, there are only 5,000 of these so-called “painted dogs” (their fur is gloriously hued) left in the wild.

Spotting these guys while on an African Aerial safari is sure to make you miss your pooch and galvanise you into wanting to take action to guarantee their survival.

Black rhino

endangered Black Rhino on safari

Spotted in: South Africa; Namibia

As a species, the Black Rhino dates back 50 million years to the Eocene period. How long will they still be here? That’s up to all of us. These gentle giants are being hunted for their distinctive horn, which is prized for its perceived medicinal powers and, unfortunately, for decorative purposes. Today, only an estimated 5500 remain. The Black Rhino is distinguished from the White Rhino not by color (they are both grey), but by its lip. It’s pointed, in order to pluck leaves and fruit from trees, whereas the White Rhino has a square lip perfect for grazing.


Honey Badger

Spotted in: Namibia; Botswana

Think of the toughest, most fearsome animal on the planet. Did you picture a black bear? Or a lion? How about a panther? No, none of those. Arguably the toughest of them all will match up in height to your house cat. Don’t believe us? Just ask the Guinness Book of World Records (yes, it has been certified) and allow us to introduce you to the honey badger. It’s famously omnivorous, with cobras and even porcupines featuring in its diet. The latter’s sharp quills are unable to penetrate its thick black and white fur. The honey badger is also fearlessly (and fearsomely) pugnacious, taking on such large animals as the Cape Buffalo, hyenas and the aforementioned lion. If that’s not tough, we don’t know what is!

These nocturnal weasels are famously skittish of humans, so if you spot one, you’re certainly lucky. A memorable moment to share with the rest of your African Aerial Safaris group. #africanaerialsafaris


endangered Hooded Vulture on safari

Spotted in: Sub-Saharan Africa

If we’re talking about aerial safaris, we definitely have to include a fellow winged creature. The Hooded Vulture is nothing if not resourceful, feasting on anything from animal carcasses to dead fish, mussels and mollusks to grasshoppers. From open plains to the coast, these “collectors of the dead” can scavenge like pros. Sometimes following a farmer’s plow and grabbing any insects that are being dug up. They’re also smaller than you would expect and are therefore able to ride air thermals while searching for their next meal. They seem like true survivors but are in decline due to the poisoning of carcasses, hunting, habitat loss, and an unfortunate trade for medicinal use. Spot them, and you’ll appreciate their ancient will to survive in the face of extinction, as well as their ability to make use of just about anything for their food.

With African Aerial Safaris, your chance of seeing the Hooded Vulture is heightened.

How can you make a difference by going on safari?

Rhino's without borders darting with game rangers

Project ranger

Children in the wilderness

Solar lanterns

Maasai Olympics

Rhinos without borders

If we want to keep seeing these majestic animals in their natural habitats, we all have a part to play. Many species are on the brink, and at African Aerial Safaris we want to do our part in pulling them back. A large part of this is awareness; when people get to see these animals in real life, they comprehend and appreciate their value. Another way is to actively contribute to conservation projects, focusing on the protection of these remarkable animals and the world they live in. A percentage of each African Aerial Safari trip cost is donated to these projects.

There are some glimmers of hope! With the admirable efforts of conservationists the world over, of the 201 animals on IUCN’s Red List (critically endangered), 10 have seen their populations increase and 12 are stabilizing. Reasons to celebrate, for sure.