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Where to see Aardvark in South 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

The top camps for seeing aardvark in South Africa

Based on 2 reports by our travellers since Jun 2018, visitors at these camps in South Africa have the best chances of sighting aardvark.

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.


Our best South Africa holidays for aardvark sightings

Based on our travellers' reports, these ideas for South Africa safaris are likely to give the best aardvark sightings

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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$2,830 - US$4,400 per person

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Black Wildebeest Self-drive Safari

19 days • 10 locations

Journey from South Africa’s cosmopolitan Cape Town to central Namibia’s Okonjima Nature Reserve during this self-driven safari. The route passes through a stunning variety of landscapes, offering access to this beautiful continent’s rich diversity.

US$3,280 - US$3,780 per person

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Leopard Safari

13 days • 4 locations

Victoria Falls, Botswana and Cape Town – a classic southern African itinerary combining luxury, wilderness, safari and culture. We can't think of a better way to spend two weeks.

US$12,200 - US$17,980 per person

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The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations

An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.

US$14,360 - US$18,230 per person

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Cape Mountain Zebra Self-drive Safari

12 days • 4 locations

Fine dining, luxurious accommodation and a wide of range of leisurely activities make this a superbly comfortable self-driven safari. Visit the cosmopolitan Cape Town, tranquil coastal retreats, stylish wine farms and spectacularly peaceful nature reserves.

US$3,660 - US$6,780 per person

View all holidays to South Africa

More information about aardvark in our other destinations

Click here for detailed information about aardvark in other countries, including the places for sighting aardvark.

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