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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 ‘earth-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.


Insects consumed nightly

13 metres

Max. burrow length


Length of tongue

7 months

Gestation period

Africa's top camps for seeing aardvarks

Based on 68 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.


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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Red Lechwe Safari

9 days • 3 locations

Superb guiding from three fabulous camps full of character in three contrasting areas for a fabulous safari to the Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert.

US$10,800 - US$25,210 per person

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Crawshay's Zebra Safari

10 days • 4 locations

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$9,760 - US$13,820 per person

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Kwandwe Self-drive Safari

3 days • 1 locations

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$2,840 - US$4,410 per person

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Slender Mongoose Safari

5 days • 2 locations

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$6,270 - US$8,400 per person

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Hamerkop Fly-In Safari

8 days • 2 locations

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$6,350 - US$10,960 per person

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Duiker Safari

10 days • 3 locations

Three luxurious bushcamps 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$8,060 - US$10,020 per person

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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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