If you plan on spending your future vacation in Africa, you need to be aware of the possible dangers. Although it has become a safer destination in the past years, there are still plenty of things that could go wrong and turn your beloved holiday into a nightmare. However, with just a little bit of planning and some safety measures, you’ll have the time of your life.

One of the most popular concerns when traveling to Africa is related to animal and insect dangers. However, contrary to the general opinion, it is not the lion or most of the snakes that prove to be the most dangerous species. Here are the top 5 animals you should stay away from, no matter if you choose a five-star resort or a 2-person backpacking tent under a million stars.



Despite their vegetarian tastes, it is estimated that hippos are responsible for the death of 3,000 people per year. The male hippos are known for their aggressive behavior, but females can become extremely violent too, especially if you go near their babies.

These large animals defend their territories and can run at speeds of over 20mph, so it would be better to stay out of their reach.

African elephant

The elephant is the largest terrestrial mammal and statistics say this animal is responsible for over 500 human deaths per year. Most of the attacks occur in musth, the peak period of male sexuality when usually, testosterone levels are high. However, male elephants come just as aggressive in all stages of life, especially if you cross their territories.

Nowadays it is unlikely to see an elephant outside a safari or a protected wildlife reserve, so you don’t have to worry about that. Although you will be able to watch elephants on a safari closely, you will be kept at a reasonable distance from their natural habitats.


The Black Mamba

The largest snake in Africa doesn’t take its name from its color but more from the inky black lining in its mouth. It is extremely dangerous and can chase its victim at a speed of 12 mph, so it’s rather hard to catch it using a regular animal trap. Its venom is powerful enough to kill a dozen men at once. Once bitten, the human body will collapse in under one hour and the person will die in less than seven hours unless an antidote is provided.

Nile Crocodile

One of the deadliest animals on the continent, the Nile crocodile hovers underwater with only its nostrils remaining above. Crocodiles are considered to have the strongest bite of all animals and are very ferocious predators. They usually live between 70 and 100 years, so chances are they can make a few hundred victims during their life.

Thanks to their ectothermic metabolism they can survive for long periods of time between meals. However, when they do feed, they can eat as much as half of their body weight at a time. They mainly strike in water and are not as fast on land.


African Rhinoceros

This endangered species of animals is known for its bad manners. Rhinos are bad tempered and will not hesitate to attack you when they feel threatened. The weapon of choice is the rhino’s deadly horn. An adult rhino can weigh up to 6,000 pounds and can be as fast as 40 mph on short distances.

Unfortunately, these animals have been haunted by humans for the past centuries up to the point of their extinction. The attacks that rhinos caused on humans don’t even get close to the damage humans caused to these animals and their natural habitats. Sadly, the last known male white rhino died in Kenya, in March 2022.