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Aardvark
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Aardvark

Aardvarks in Africa

The aardvark is one of Africa’s most bizarre and enigmatic animals. A shy, nocturnal termite-eater, signs of its presence may be scattered about the bush but sightings remain an elusive prize.


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Quick facts about Aardvark

Scientific name: Orycteropus afer Habitat: Grassland & woodland
IUCN status: Least Concern Adult weight: 60–80kg

The Aardvark is unique. Known variously as ‘anteater’, ‘ant-bear’ and ‘ant-pig’ (the latter being the translation of its Afrikaans name), it is not related to these namesakes but belongs to an ancient order of mammals (Tubulidentata), whose closest living relatives are the diminutive elephant shrews. The confusion is understandable: seen above ground, an aardvark appears assembled from other creatures, with a stocky, pig-like body, an anteater’s snout, a kangaroo’s tail and a rabbit’s long ears.

Entirely nocturnal, it inhabits open country, where it lives in burrows by day and emerges after dark to forage alone for ants and termites, using spade-like claws to break into termite mounds and licking up the occupants with its long, sticky tongue. Females give birth to their single cub underground.


50,000

Insects consumed nightly

13 metres

Max. burrow length

30cm

Length of tongue

7 months

Gestation period

Africa's top camps for seeing aardvarks

Based on 43 reports by our travellers since June 2018, the camps below have the best chances of sighting aardvarks. Simply follow the key below.


Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Top 10 camps for aardvark

% of travellers who saw aardvark

Top 10 camps for aardvark

% of travellers who saw aardvark

Where to see aardvarks in Africa

Aardvarks occur in almost all Africa’s parks and reserves, but you’ll need serious luck to see one. Your only realistic chance is on a night drive – ideally in open terrain and during the southern African winter.


Top tips for viewing aardvarks

Aardvarks are widespread but shy. Their presence is often evident from their burrows, and their diggings around termite mounds. Look out, too, for their distinctive three-toed tracks. To stand any chance of seeing the animal itself, you’ll need to take a night drive. If you get lucky, stay quiet: aardvarks have acute smell and hearing and are quick to bolt for their burrows.

Certain locations are renowned for sightings – notably the semi-arid regions of southern Africa, including South Africa’s Karoo and southern Kalahari, Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans and Namibia’s Damaraland.

The cooler, dry-season months are most productive. Even if you don’t find an aardvark, keep an eye on their disused burrows, which may house anything from pythons and porcupines to warthogs and wild cats.

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Holiday ideas to see aardvarks

Based on our travellers recent observations, these are the holidays which will give you the best chances of aardvark sightings


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Hamerkop Fly-In Safari

8 days • 2 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Different wildlife, contrasting camps and a whole host of activities, this is a safari for those wanting to get out and about and not just sit in a vehicle.

US$5,500 - US$8,280 per person

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Kwandwe Self-drive Safari

3 days • 1 locations
PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT TO PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT

An elegantly stylish lodge that is well suited to families, Kwandwe offers a range of safari activities and the chance to sight all of the Big 5 during exploration of the eastern cape.

US$2,050 - US$2,800 per person

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Crawshay's Zebra Safari

10 days • 4 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

This superb safari combines two of Zambia’s best national parks, the South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi. The camps are small and high quality with excellent safari guides.

US$8,340 - US$11,530 per person

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Slender Mongoose Safari

5 days • 2 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

A detailed exploration of Lower Zambezi from two top-notch sister-camps, each in a prime location in the national park. Expect a high level of care, first-class guiding and superb wildlife.

US$5,890 - US$7,530 per person

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Gorillas and Serengeti Safari

11 days • 4 locations
KIGALI AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

Combine three iconic experiences – Rwanda’s gorillas, and the Serengeti plains and awe-inspiring Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.

US$10,920 - US$11,860 per person

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Duiker Safari

10 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Three luxurious bush-camps in stunning riverside locations, split between the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi national parks, offer a wide variety of expert-guided safari activities in stunning game-rich environments.

US$7,670 - US$9,170 per person

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Ostrich Self-drive Safari

14 days • 9 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

Great value self-drive adventure through the epic desert landscapes of southern Namibia and South Africa’s Kalahari, visiting highlights such as Fish River Canyon, the ghost towns of Lüderitz and Sossusvlei’s dunes.

US$2,000 - US$2,530 per person

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Marabou Stork Fly-in Safari

13 days • 5 locations
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO DAR ES SALAAM AIRPORT

Four luxurious camps enable exploration of Tanzania’s north and southern regions. With a range of land and water-based activities available throughout, decidedly comfortable accommodation and applicable long-stay discounts, this adventurous safari is excellent value.

US$13,390 - US$18,440 per person

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Superb Starling Fly-In Safari

7 days • 2 locations
DAR ES SALAAM AIRPORT TO DAR ES SALAAM AIRPORT

Two smartly luxurious sister-camps allow exploration of the Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park. Situated in wildlife-rich locations, the camps offer a range of land and water-based activities, a superb standard of guiding and access to beautifully contrasting landscapes.

US$6,930 - US$9,310 per person

View all holidays to Africa

Our top destinations for aardvarks

Click below for detailed information about aardvarks in these countries, including our latest sightings data from the camps and lodges there.


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