The most popular African animals
Kenya is a world attraction for its rich abundance of wildlife, most of which can be found in its national parks and reserves.
Popular Kenya animals include the lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. These are collectively referred to as the "Big Five".
Still, the lion remains Kenya's most sought after tourist attraction on the country's many African wildlife safaris.
The "Big Five" - African Animals found in Kenya
As the largest of Africa's big cats, the lion is highly regarded by man. Its massive size, majestic walk, power and hunting prowess make it very fascinating to watch.
It's no wonder that the lion draws so many people to Kenya. Lions are ferocious hunters, but are not normally dangerous to man unless they are wounded or cornered.
Unlike the other big cats, lions are social animals, living in prides of 20-30 members. Each pride may have one to three males. You are guaranteed to see Kenyan lions on a Kenya safari tour to the Masai Mara National Reserve.
The African elephant is the world's largest land mammal. Due to its gigantic stature, the elephant has no predators apart from men who hunt it for its tusks. However, elephant hunting and ivory trade are prohibited in Kenya.
Elephants have a sharp sense of smell and are highly intelligent. They are reputed to be the only animals that recognize one another, even after death. Kenya wildlife is scattered in various wildlife parks throughout the country. Amboseli National Park is home to most elephants and is the best place to see them.
The elephants in Tsavo National Park have a distinct reddish-brown color that they obtain from the red volcanic soil in Tsavo. Elephants in other parks are grayish in color.
Famed for its boiling temper, the buffalo is one of the most feared animals. It is not only feared by humans but also by some of the most daring predators in the wild.
The mighty lion rarely ever hunts a buffalo. Most lions that try end up dead or badly injured. Lions and hyenas are only known to hunt solitary aging buffalos that are either too weak to fight or greatly outnumbered.
The buffalo resembles the typical cow but has a distinct grayish black color. It also has up-curving horns with bases that meet across the forehead. This gives it a very dangerous look. The male horns are usually thicker and more profound than the female horns.
Buffalo live in herds of several hundred led by one dominant bull. Old, defeated buffalo bulls are the most dangerous. They either live alone or with other bulls. They often lie in wait to ambush people.
To enjoy a view of the buffalo and other Kenya animals, go on an African safari tour to the Masai Mara. The Masai Mara is home to the largest buffalo herds.
There are two species of rhinoceros found in Kenya: white and black rhinos. Both are endangered species. The white rhino derives its name from the Dutch word Weid meaning broad.
White rhinos have a broad, wide mouth adapted for grazing. They often hang out in large groups.
The biggest white rhino population in Kenya is found in Lake Nakuru National Park. The black rhino has a pointed upper lip adapted for browsing. It feeds on dry bush and thorny scrub, especially acacia.
Black rhinos have a sharp sense of smell and hearing but very poor eyesight. They lead a solitary life and are the more dangerous of the two species. Masai Mara National Reserve has the largest population of black rhinos, along with many other Kenya animals.
Dubbed the "Silent Hunter", the leopard is a very elusive animal with a gorgeous skin.
It is nocturnal, hunting at night and spending its day resting in trees. The leopard lives a solitary life and only pairs up during the mating season.
Leopards hunt on the ground but take their "kill" up into the trees, out of the reach of scavengers such as hyenas.
Most people fail to draw the distinction between Leopards and Cheetahs, but they are two very different animals.
- A leopard is stouter while a Cheetah is slender
- The Leopard has a shorter body length while the Cheetah has a longer body length
- The Cheetah has black tear marks running down its eyes while a Leopard doesn't
- Although both have golden yellow fur, a leopard has black rings while a Cheetah has black spots on their fur.
Other African Safari Animals outside the "Big Five"
Kenyan zebras are beautiful, horse-like animals with a striped skin. There are two types of zebras in Kenya - the common zebra and Grevy's zebra. The common zebra has broad black and white stripes that continue down into the belly, while the Grevy's zebra's stripes are very narrow and stop on the lower flanks, leaving the belly clean and unmarked. Grevy's zebras are the larger of the two and are found in the drier regions of Northern Kenya and the Samburu National Park. Common zebras are popular in most of Kenya's other parks.
Known to be the world's tallest animal, there are three different sub-species of giraffes found in Kenya.
- The reticulated giraffe, which has a bold network of white lines that give it a very regular pattern. It is only found in Samburu National Park.
- The Maasai giraffe, whose patches are leaf-like in shape and lack the clean lines of the reticulated giraffe. Maasai giraffes are found in Amboseli, Tsavo and the Maasai Mara.
- The Rothschild's giraffe has patches similar to those on the Maasai giraffe. However, the Rothschild's giraffe has no spots below the knee, giving it the appearance of wearing socks. Rothschild's giraffes are found in Lake Nakuru National Park.
The cheetah, the fastest animal on land, looks like the leopard but has longer legs and a smaller head. Cheetahs hunt during the day; they use their sheer speed to run-down their prey, then trip and knock them off-balance before seizing them by the throat or muzzle. It is very thrilling to watch a cheetah hunt. Unlike other cats, cheetahs cannot retract their claws into flesh sheaths.
Other Animals found in Kenya
Other popular animals in Kenya include the African wild dog, African civet, large-spotted genet, banded mongoose, black-backed jackal, common jackal, bat-eared fox, spotted hyena, striped hyena, aardwolf, common baboon, vervet monkey, sykes monkey, common eland, greater kudu, lesser kudu, bongo, sitatunga, bushbuck, Thompson's gazelle, Grant's gazelle, gerenuk, impala, bohor reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, black & white colobus monkey, bushbaby, roan antelope, sable antelope, oryx, fringe-eared oryx, beisa oryx, common waterbuck, defassa waterbuck, common wildebeest, hartebeest, topi, klipspringer, steenbok, common duiker, Kirk's dik-dik, hippopotamus, warthog, giant forest hog, aardvark, cape clawless otter, spotted-necked otter, scrub hare and squirrel.
All of these animals are a wonder to see on a Kenyan wildlife safari.
Where to Book a Kenya Wildlife Safari Tour
Finding the best African wildlife safari tour to view Kenya's animals should not be difficult or time consuming. There are reputable online Kenya tour companies and traditional agents who can book and arrange a guided, all-inclusive Kenya wildlife safari tour for you before your arrival. These Kenya tour and travel safari packages normally include accommodation, travel and tour to see the animals, park fees, English-speaking tour guides, food and other activities to encapsulate a memorable experience of a Kenyan wildlife vacation.
Related Information About Kenya Animals
- Kenya National Parks and Game Reserves - the sites where you can experience an African Safari in Kenya
- Want to try out different experiences? see the various Safaris in Kenya that you can take
- The African lion - the main attraction to an African lion safari
- Kenya's wildebeest migration - the world's greatest wildlife spectacle
TOP of Kenya Animals