Planning a holiday to Africa? They’ve got animals much bigger than those in Australia, so while you might have to deal with errant camels and cattle over here, you could bump into an elephant, hippopotamus or rhino in Africa.
If you hit any animal with your vehicle in Africa, however concerned you are for its health and wellbeing, be aware that an injured animal can be extremely dangerous. Call local wildlife authorities if you know the number.
|Lions are mostly a risk if you have to exit your vehicle to go for help. In general, large mammals like lions will see your vehicle and you as one big animal, not a nice crunchy snack inside of a can. Even if you are outside the vehicle, as long as you are standing right next to it, you will mostly be safe as lions won’t tend to attack a vehicle like a rhino might
|Hippopotamuses are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa, accounting for many human deaths each year – almost 3000. You’ll find them near water sources.
|Baboons are curious, and can also be aggressive. A single baboon is likely to leave you alone, but a congress (pack) of them can be deadly.
|Zebras blend into the vegetation and, being roughly the size of a horse, can cause significant damage to your vehicle if you hit one. Be careful, particularly at dusk when they are difficult to see.
|Giraffes are dangerous if you hit them because you will sweep their legs from under them and they will land on your vehicle. They also have a powerful kick.
|Elephants will generally leave vehicles alone, however there are cases where elephants have rammed vehicles. If you are travelling through somewhere like Kruger National Park, you will see elephants on the roads. Drive very slowly. If an elephant is blocking your path, wait until it moves. If it challenges you, reverse slowly away. You can see how big an elephant is compared to a car here
|Another hippopotamus sign. They may look overweight, but they can run at 25kph, which is faster than the fastest sprinters at the Olympics. There are two types of hippo: the large hippo, which is found in East Africa; and the pygmy hippo which is limited to very restricted ranges in West Africa and is a shy, solitary forest-dweller.
|Hyenas are mainly scavengers, but can be dangerous predators. They will leave a car alone. As they are well camouflaged you may struggle to see them at dusk.
|Large ungulates like ibex, antelopes and kudus can jump out of undergrowth unexpectedly if they get a fright, or are being chased by a predator. Large horns can cause a danger if you hit them, as if the head comes through the windscreen the horns could hit vehicle occupants.
|Predatory cats such as leopards will leave cars alone, but might go for humans who stray too far from their vehicle. Again, leopards are well camouflaged, so be careful when driving through longer grass and savanna areas.
|Dung beetles roll balls of dung with their back legs. They’re found in many places. Try to avoid running over them as they are an important part of the ecosystem.
|Wildebeest and large cattle have little road sense and are difficult to see at dusk. They are sometimes easily spooked and can dart onto the road. If you see one on the road at night it will be blinded by your headlights. Put your headlights on park lights only if you come across them on the road so that they can see an exit. Drive slowly until you are past them.
|More domesticated cattle are also found in Africa
|In certain areas you will find riders and horses. Give them a wide berth as frightening a horse can make it throw the rider into the path of traffic.
|Rhinos have been known to attack vehicles, however, they will mostly leave them alone. They will cause a lot of damage if you hit them
|Long-horned cattle, wildebeest, ibex and similar will try to avoid your vehicles, but they have no road sense and will often stand on the roads at night when they are difficult to see
|Ostriches are large, fast-running birds. They will tend to try to avoid vehicles.
|Ostriches are ridden in some areas, mostly as a sport
|Sheep are also farmed in areas of Africa, and sometimes roam unfenced.
|Wild horses are found in some areas of Africa.
|Warthogs are aggressive, solidly built mammals with strong tusks. They will tend to avoid vehicles, but will cause damage if you hit one.
|Tortoises are slow moving and can’t get out of the way of your vehicle. If you see this sign, slow down and watch out for them on the road.
|Wild dogs are medium-sized dogs that roam in packs. Like other animals they will have certain tracks and trails they use and this means they will cross roads at certain points. They are well-camouflaged and difficult to see.
|Vultures may be sitting on the road eating road kill. They are large birds and will cause minor damage to your vehicle if you hit them.