10 Africa’s Fastest Animals

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April 18, 2020
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10 Africa’s Fastest Animals

African Cheetah

Africa is popular not only for the rare mountain gorillas but also for variety of fastest animals in the animal kingdom. Most of the Africa’s fastest animals are savanna dwellers and they are commonly spotted while wildlife viewing safari experience in most of the safari destinations. The most popular safari destinations to visit for you to catch a glimpse at Africa’s fastest animals while on African safari include among others South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, Botswana.

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

Cheetahs are some of the Africa’s fastest animals you shouldn’t miss to see while on your next African safari holiday. They range mostly in the Southern, Northern and Eastern Africa. Their bodies are comprised of black spots with a stride of about 6 to 7 meters. Cheetahs are believed to be the fastest land animals on planet earth with a speed of about 113 kilometers per hour. However, they can get tired easily.

Cheetahs belong to big cat family and they are smaller in size, weighing between 45 and 60kgs. They can easily be recognized by their long, black lines that stretch from the inside of their eyes to the mouth, famously known as ‘tear lines.’ Amazingly, they are the only big cat family members that do not roar and don’t climb trees. Unlike lions and leopards, cheetahs hunt during day time. Because they are light in nature, cheetahs usually find it challenging to protect their prey and also defend themselves. In case an aggressive creature comes, they can easily give up their prey as a way to avoid fights. This is also attributed to their blunt claws.

Lions (Panthera Leo)

Lions are renowned and the most sought-after big Africa game species by most travelers on African safari. They are amazing species in the family Felidae. Lions are muscular in nature, deep chested with short, rounded head as well as reduced neck and round ears. They accelerate about 81km/hr making them a few Africa’s fastest animals. They weigh about 250kgs.

Lions are the only cats that live in prides which usually include 3 males, several females and their cabs. Most of the African wild lions range in the Eastern African countries, especially Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Southern African states like South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.


Leopards feature among the big five African game and they are largely nocturnal mammals. Unlike other big game, leopards are not social and usually, they live in isolation. They are among the best swimmers and can accelerate about 54kms/hr. Leopards can leap up to 6meters and they normally take their prey on trees where they think is more secure. Leopards have gestation period of about 3 months and give birth to about 1 to 6 cubs.

They have the largest territory compared to other big cats. They are carnivores and very good at ambushing their prey.


Wildebeests are some of the fastest animals in Africa and the largest antelopes. They can take off at 80kms/hr. However, they have poor eyesight. In Africa, they come in two species; Connochaetes gnou-the black wildebeest and Connochaetes taurinus-the blue wildebeest.

The blue wildebeests range from Kenya to Northern South Africa. They thrive mostly in the dense bushlands, vast grasslands as well as woodland floodplains. They are largely grazers and very sociable.


Ostriches feature not only as the fastest bird runners or the largest living bird species but also Africa’s fastest animals. They belong to a family Struthionidae and they exist in two species; the common ostriches and the Somali ostriches. They accelerate about 72kms/hr but they can’t fly. These bird species can reach a height of 1.6m and weigh about 130kgs.

Ostriches exist in arid and semi-arid areas with the Somali ostriches ranging in the Horn of Africa. On African safari, ostriches are best spotted in Tanzania, Southern Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan.

Giraffe (Giraffa Camelopardalis)

On African safari, giraffes are some of the interesting mammal species that always welcome you in the wild. They are the tallest mammal species on earth with height of about 6 meters and can easily be spotted foraging. They have long necks and when running, their speed may seem like it is a slow motion. However, they can accelerate about 50kms/hr.

They are hunted by hyenas, lions, leopards, crocodiles and others. They have gestation period of about 13 to 15 months. Giraffes thrive in the desert landscape, woodland and savanna grassland. They can be spotted in Etosha National Park in Namibia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, Rwanda among others.

The African wild dog (Lycaon pictus)

The African wild dogs feature among the Africa’s fastest animals. They can take off at 64km/hr and because of their speed, they are extremely successful predators. They range mostly in the Sub-Saharan side of Africa.

They are bulky and built among the African canids. They stretch from 60-75cm with weight of about 18-36kgs. They live in countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Senegal and others.

The Thompson’s Gazelle (Eudorcus thomsonii)

The Thompson’s Gazelle derives its name from Joseph Thomson and in most cases, it is popular as tommie. It is one of the fastest animals in Africa and known for its exceptional endurance. They can take off about 64kms/hr. They are hunted by cheetahs but in most cases, hunting them is not an easy thing.

African elephants

The African elephants are some incredible mammal species visitors on African safari expect to see. An adult African elephant weigh about 6000kgs and 10feet tall. However, they can take off at 9 to 12kms/hr. The full charge speed can go up to 40kms/hr.


Rhinos are second largest mammals after the elephants. They can be spotted while you are on big African game safari experience in Africa. They exist in both the black and white rhinoceroses. The black rhinos can take off at 45kms/hr and the white rhinos at 40kms/hrs.


Hippopotamus are perfectly spotted while you are on boat cruise. It can accelerate up to 48kms/hr. Hippopotami feature as the third largest mammals on earth and they range mostly in East Africa while the pygmy hippos, thrive in West Africa.

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