Vocabulary Related to Safari Animals

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Do you want to explore the incredible world of safari animals? If you do, understanding the related vocabulary can enhance your experience. This guide aims to teach English language learners the names of various safari animals and their habitats. You will discover various types of safari mammals, birds, fish, and insects, along with their visual descriptions. 
Exploring the Guide to Safari Animal Vocabulary in English.

Types of Safari Mammals

Get familiar with some of the mammals that roam the African plains. These mammals are often the stars of the safari, and understanding them can bring your safari experience to life.

  • Elephant: The largest living land mammal, known for its long trunk, large floppy ears, and sturdy ivory tusks.
  • Lion: Also called the "King of the Jungle", lions are large carnivorous cats with a majestic mane around the male's head.
  • Leopard: A large, carnivorous cat, recognized by its rosette-patterned coat and powerful physique.
  • Rhinoceros: A large, herbivorous mammal with a thick skin and one or two horns on its snout.
  • Buffalo: Large, heavily built animals known for their broad, curved horns and defensive nature.
  • Hippopotamus: An enormous, semi-aquatic mammal with a barrel-shaped body, large mouth, and short legs.
  • Giraffe: The tallest land animal, with a very long neck and legs, small horns, and a patchy coat.
  • Zebra: A wild, horse-like animal with a coat featuring distinctive black-and-white stripes.
  • Cheetah: The fastest land animal, known for its slender body and black "tear marks" running from the inner corner of their eyes.
  • Gazelle: A graceful, swift-running antelope, often targeted by predators such as lions and cheetahs.
  • Hyena: A carnivorous mammal known for its strong jaws, slightly hunched back, and laughter-like sounds.
  • Warthog: A wild pig species recognizable by their flat faces, tusky snouts, and the 'warts' on their heads.
  • Baboon: Large, omnivorous monkeys with a dog-like snout, pronounced buttocks, and a tendency to live in troops.
  • Wildebeest: Large, antelope-like animals renowned for their annual migration in large herds across the African plains.
  • Meerkat: Small, burrowing mammals known for their upright 'sentinel' stance and cooperative social structure.

These mammals often serve as poster children for African wildlife. By understanding them better, your command of English, as well as your appreciation of safari wildlife, will deepen.

Types of Safari Birds

Recognizing these birds will lend another layer of appreciation to your safari experience and help build your English vocabulary.

  • Ostrich: The world's largest bird, notable for its flightless nature and long, slender neck.
  • Flamingo: Known for its vibrant pink feathers, long, thin legs, and a habit of standing on one leg.
  • Hornbill: Named for its large, horn-like bill, often adorned with bright colors.
  • Secretary Bird: A large, raptor-like bird known for its long legs, and black crest of quill-like feathers.
  • Guineafowl: A small, round bird covered in dark, spotted feathers and a bony crest on their head.
  • Kingfisher: Small, brightly colored birds, known for their excellent fishing skills.
  • Weaver Bird: Named for their elaborately woven nests, these small birds are often yellow or red.
  • Vulture: Large scavenger birds with a bald head, hooked beak, and wide wingspan.
  • Eagle: Large, powerful birds of prey with sharp talons, a hooked beak, and keen eyesight.
  • Stork: Large, long-legged, long-necked birds often associated with water areas.
  • Herons: Wading birds with a long bill, known for their ability to stand still for long periods while hunting.
  • Lovebirds: Small, colorful parrots known for their strong pair bonds and social nature.
  • Hoopoe: Recognizable by its distinctive "crown" of feathers and black and white wings.
  • Kori Bustard: The heaviest flying bird, known for its bulky body and broad wings.
  • Peacock: Known for the male's extravagant eye-spotted tail, which can be fanned out in a display.

From the ostrich to the peacock, birds on the safari offer an unparalleled spectacle of colors and behaviors. Their presence illuminates the African skies and underscores the biodiversity of these habitats.

Types of Safari Fish

Exploring the African safari isn't limited to land and air. It extends beneath the surface of rivers and lakes, where numerous fish species reside. Here are some of them to expand your English vocabulary and understanding of safari wildlife.

  • Nile Perch: Large freshwater fish known for its silver-colored body and distinctive dorsal fins.
  • Tilapia: A group of freshwater fish known for their flat bodies and large scales.
  • Electric Catfish: Known for their ability to generate an electric charge to stun prey or discourage predators.
  • African Tigerfish: A predatory fish known for its fearsome appearance with sharp, protruding teeth.
  • Cichlids: Freshwater fish famous for their vibrant colors and diversity of species.
  • Rainbowfish: Small, brightly colored fish that inhabit freshwater bodies.
  • Nile Crocodile: Though not a fish, this large aquatic reptile is important to include due to its iconic status in African waterways.
  • Bichir: A primitive-looking freshwater fish, noted for their elongated bodies and large pectoral fins.
  • Clownfish: Popular and recognizable due to their bright orange body with white stripes.
  • Knifefish: Named for their long, flat, knife-like body shape.
  • African Lungfish: Known for its lung-like swim bladder which enables it to breathe air in low-oxygen environments.
  • Bull Shark: While not solely found in Africa, these adaptable predators are notable for their ability to thrive in both salt and fresh water.
  • Guppy: Small freshwater fish known for their variety of colors and patterns.
  • Kribensis: A type of cichlid, these small, colorful fish are popular among aquarium enthusiasts.
  • Elephantnose Fish: Named for the elongated, trunk-like structure extending from its mouth.

With the knowledge of fish species, you've explored the lesser-seen underwater world of the African safari. This foray into aquatic life not only expands your vocabulary but also enriches your understanding of the diversity that lies beneath the surface of the African water bodies.


Types of Safari Insects

The world of safari insects, from the malaria mosquito to the African swallowtail butterfly, shows that even the smallest creatures have a significant role in the ecosystem. Here is a list of some common insects that you might see on safari:

  • Malaria Mosquito: Transmitters of malaria, they are distinguished by the white bands on their legs.
  • Dung Beetle: Named for their habit of rolling dung into balls for use as food or breeding chambers.
  • Tsetse Fly: A large, biting fly known for transmitting sleeping sickness.
  • Safari Ant: Also known as Driver Ants, they are known for their aggressive behavior and painful bite.
  • African Honey Bee: More aggressive than their European counterparts, they are crucial for pollination.
  • African Mantis: Predatory insects known for their distinctive praying posture.
  • Locust: A type of grasshopper known for their ability to form massive, destructive swarms.
  • African Monarch Butterfly: Known for its distinctive orange and black patterns.
  • Stick Insect: Camouflage experts, they resemble twigs or branches to avoid predators.
  • Army Ant: Named for their aggressive hunting behavior and tendency to move in large groups.
  • Africanized Bee: A hybrid of South African and European honey bees, they are known for their aggressiveness.
  • Dragonfly: Recognizable by their large, multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and elongated body.
  • Goliath Beetle: One of the largest insects on Earth, they are famous for their size and strength.
  • Anopheles Mosquito: Known for their ability to transmit malaria to humans.
  • African Swallowtail Butterfly: A large butterfly, known for its striking black and yellow patterned wings.

Each new term you've learned deepens your understanding of the importance of these small beings and adds to your growing English vocabulary.

Safari Animal Habitats

A key aspect of understanding safari animals is familiarizing yourself with their homes—the diverse habitats of the African safari. These habitats, as varied as the animals they house, offer a fascinating study of how different species have adapted to different living conditions:

  • Savanna: Open grasslands with scattered trees, frequently home to many large African safari animals.
  • Desert: An arid environment with little rainfall, hosting unique wildlife adapted to survive with minimal water.
  • Wetland: Areas of marsh, swamp, or other water-saturated land, providing habitats for a variety of birds and aquatic species.
  • Jungle: Dense and lush vegetation, often hosting a wide range of bird species and smaller mammals.
  • Mountain: High-elevation environments inhabited by certain species adapted to the cold and thin air.
  • Forest: Areas densely covered with trees and undergrowth, providing shelter to a diverse range of species.
  • River: Freshwater bodies that provide sustenance for many different species, including mammals, birds, fish, and insects.
  • Grassland: Expansive areas covered mostly with grass, home to herds of grazing animals and their predators.
  • Ocean: While not typically associated with safaris, the African coastline offers opportunities to observe aquatic and semi-aquatic species.
  • Lake: Inland bodies of water that serve as watering holes, attracting a variety of wildlife from the surrounding areas.

Learning about different habitats, from the savanna to the lake, has given you insights into the diverse living conditions of the African safari. These terms provide a framework to understand the habitats of safari animals, enhancing both your vocabulary and your understanding of the interplay between different species and their environments.


Understanding the diversity of safari animals is key to fully appreciating the rich wildlife that African safaris offer. This guide provides a list of safari animals and their habitats, opening a window to the remarkable world of safari wildlife. As an English language learner, you are now equipped with the vocabulary to engage in fascinating conversations about these beautiful creatures and their captivating habitats.

Quiz for Safari Animals
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Reuben FowlerNov 23rd, 2023
It's impressive to see a wide range of safari animals included in the vocabulary list