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Friday, June 21, 2024

The 9 Biggest and Tallest Animals in Africa

Animals in Africa take many shapes and appearances and are even diverse when measured in length, weight, or height. 

Some are huge and also tall in comparison, and all the animals you can find on our list below are endemic to Africa.

Read more to know the nine biggest and tallest animals in Africa, arranged in descending order. 

1. The giraffe 

The giraffe is the tallest animal in Africa and globally, with a scientific name as Giraffa, and it has a towering leg that allows them to run 35 miles an hour.

What makes the giraffe the tallest and most giant animal in Africa 

Giraffe’s height comes from its long neck and towering legs, measuring approximately 6 ft long. It possesses legs that are taller than many human beings.


The height of a male giraffe is different from that of a female giraffe; thus, the male is 19.3ft while the female is 14 feet.

Physical features

The giraffe has long legs, long necks, hair-covered necks on its head, and a short body.

The giraffe’s long neck makes the animal not have a competitor at the food market since they can pluck leaves directly from branches.

Many giraffes and their subspecies commonly reside in African regions like southern Africa, eastern Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa.


It eats about 75 Ibs of plants in a day, and it strives more in an ecosystem like savannahs and light woodlands.

Gestation period

The gestation period is 15 months, and at birth, the baby falls eight feet from the womb to the ground.

Scientific Classification

Family: Giraffidae

Order: Artiodactyla

Phylum: Chordata

2. African elephant 

African elephant, also known as the African savanna elephant, is the second tallest animal native to Africa.

It has two main species, namely: the savannah elephant and the forest elephant.

The reason the African elephant 2nd the tallest animal in Africa

The large ears, big body size, elongated upper lip, and nose are the primary features that make an African elephant one of Africa’s biggest and tallest animals.

Diet of an African elephant 

African elephant feeds on fruit, grasses, roots, bark, and it consumes enormous quantities of food that helps nourish their weighty bodies.

It drinks by drawing up to 10 liters of water into the trunk and, afterward, squirt it into the mouth.

The animal roams a great distance, does not sleep much, and can eat about 300 pounds of food per day.

Scientific classification

Class – Mammalia

Genus – Loxodonta

Order – Proboscidea

Subfamily – Elephantinae

Phylum – Chordata

Kingdom – Animalia

Family – Elephantidae

Characteristics of African elephant

African elephants have large ears that reduce heat, grey crease skin covered with sparse, columnar legs, and a huge head.

It’s dark gray and primarily inhabits grasslands, forests, and savannas.

The elongated nose, also known as the trunk, is the most sensitive part of its body, and it weighs 130 kg and can lift a load of 250 kg.

Though African elephants can’t jump or gallop, they can run at a maximum speed of 40 km/h.


African elephant’s gestation period is 18 to 22 months, and the calf weighs 100 kg from birth with a height of 3.3 feet.

The sexual maturity of the African elephant is between the age of 10 and 12.

3. Hippopotamus

The hippo or hippopotamus is the 3rd largest animal in Africa. It’s a mammal that is partially aquatic and native to sub-Sahara Africa.

Why Hippo is the third-largest in Africa

The hippo is one of the giant animals on earth, and on average, the weight of the male is 3,500- 9,920 pounds, and the females weigh 3,000 pounds.

The length of a hippopotamus is around 10.8 and 16.5 ft, while the height is over 5.2 ft tall.

Predators of hippo

The hippopotamus is too big to be preyed upon though Nile crocodiles, lions, and hyenas prey on the young hippos.


The natural diet of the hippopotamus is predominantly short grasses, with more negligible quantities of aquatic plants. 

They spend up to 5 hours grazing every night while consuming approximately 150 Ib (68 kg) grasses per night.


Family – Hippopotamidae

Class – Mammalia

Genus – Hippopotamus

Kingdom – Animalia

Order – Artiodactyla

Phylum – Chordata 

4. Ostrich 

With a scientific name as Struthio camelus, ostrich is the largest living bird species (perhaps the 4th largest animal in Africa) and a giant flightless bird native to certain significant African areas.

Why ostrich is among the tallest and largest Africa

The great height of a male ostrich which is 2.75 or 9 feet, is mainly from the neck, and the weight is above 150 kg.

The height and weight are not the same as that of the female, as it appears to be somewhat smaller than the male.

Features of ostrich

Ostrich has two toes per foot, beautiful feathers, and it breaks down their food with the help of pebbles.

It lays sizeable eggs that averagely weigh 3 pounds, 6 inches in diameter, and 150 mm [6 inches] in length.  

The male ostrich is usually black with white fumes on the wing and tail, while the females are brown.

It has tiny legs and thighs, a small reddish head in color, a short bill, and big brown eyes with thick black lashes.  

Ostrich has three stomachs; it secretes urine differently from feces, unlike other animals, and can sprint more than 70 km per hour.


The gestation period of an ostrich ranges from 42 to 46 days. It lays eggs in a nest called a dump nest that can hold up to 60 eggs at a time.

Ostrich lays big-sized eggs, and both the males and females hath the eggs by sitting on them till they produce young ones.

5. Black rhino

With the scientific name Diceros bicornis, the black rhino is the 3rd largest rhinoceros, a rhino species native to southern and eastern Africa.

Ther are widespread in the southern and eastern African regions like South Africa, Angola, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia, Mozambique, Eswatini, Zambia, and Tanzania.

Why black rhino is significantly a tall animal in Africa

No doubt, the black rhino is among the biggest and tallest animals in Africa as it weighs about 1,400 kg, stands 140 to 180 cm, and has a length of 9.8- 12.3 ft.

Color of black rhino 

Both the black rhino and white rhino have a gray color with a difference in the lip shape. 

It possesses a pointed upper lip of the black rhino, whereas the lip of the white is squared.  


The black rhino lives in various places like open plains, savannas, mountain forests, sparse thorn scrub, and thick dry forests.

The behavioral pattern of black rhino 

Black rhinos are solitary animals except for the females and their offspring, although both males and females find territories.

They don’t just use their horns for fighting mates and territories but also use them for a sort of defense from predators like lions, hyenas, and tigers.

Although black rhinos are highly aggressive, adults, especially mothers, usually clear paths for their younger ones.

Physical attributions

The physical attribution of black rhino includes the following;

Body mass: 800 – 1,400 kg (Adult)

Tail length – 60 to 70 cm

Shoulder height – 1.3 to 1.8 m

Body length – 3.75 m


Black rhinos are herbivorous animals that feed on leaves from bushes through the help of their pointed lip. 

Other Characteristics

Lifespan: 35 – 50 years

Gestation period: 15 – 16 months

Conservation status: Critically Endangered (Population increasing)

Scientific classification

Species: D. bicornis

Genus: Diceros

Family: Rhinocerotidae

Order: Perissodactyla

Class: Mammalia

Phylum: Chordata

Kingdom: Animalia

6. Dromedary camel 

Also called the Arabian camel, the dromedary camelis a large even-toed animals native to Africa and western Asia.

Why dromedary camel a big African animal

The dromedary camel is one of Africa’s biggest and tallest animals due to its long curved neck, big body size that weighs 1,320 pounds, and is over 11.2 feet long.


Order – Artiodactyla

Family – Camelidae

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Chordata

Genus – Camelus dromedaries

Sexual maturity

The sexual maturity of the male takes place at the age of 5, and that of females occurs between three to four years.

Life span

The life span of a dromedary camel lasts around [40] forty years.


Dromedary camel lives in an arid and semi-arid region where it is hot and dry.

7. Namib desert horse

Namib Desert horse (Afrikaans: Namib Woestyn Perd), also called Namibs or Garub wild horse, is a feral horse residing in Namibia’s Namib Desert, with a population averaging 90 and 150.

Why Namib Desert horse is amongst the tallest in Africa

The Namib Desert Horse is relatively big in that it weighs a large number and is about 8 feet tall and similar to European sport horses.

Feeding of Namib Desert horse 

The Namib Desert horse primarily feeds on grass and also their dry manure in other to get nutrients.

Features of Namib Desert horse

The desert horse is very muscular, primarily brown, has a well-developed body, short back with good withers.

The horse’s bone is strong, with oblique shoulders and club feet in some foals.

8. Camel

Camel is a two-toed mammal native to parched Africa and Asia, and it can go for months without drinking water.

The basis on why the camel is among the tallest and biggest animals in Africa

Camel is among the big and tallest animals in Africa since it can attain seven feet and weigh about 1500 pounds.

Adaptation and features 

Camels are modified explicitly to the life in the desert; that is why they can go months without eating or drinking water, but when they do, they can drink 40 gallons at a stretch.

The eyes of the camel consist of three [3] eyelids and two rows of eyelashes that avert sand from entering their eyes.

The ears of the camel are hairy, and it can move about effortlessly across the sand since it has specially designed feet.

The presence of humps in camels helps them store fat as an energy resource when other food sources are not accessible.

Their temperature varies at different times of the day (especially morning and night), ranging from 34°C at night to 41°C in the daytime.

Milk produced by camel is healthier, contains less fat, and is rich in iron, vitamins, and minerals. 

Its gestation is between 9 to 14 months, and it can spill greenish substance from the stomach only when provoked.  

9. African buffalo

Among the tallest and most giant animals native to Africa is the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer), a large- sub-Saharan Africa bovine.

The animal is also called the Cape buffalo, or the Syncerus caffer, and it is the only member of the buffalo and the cattle tribe in Africa.

Habitat of the African Buffalo

African buffalos prefer to live in semi-arid bushland and coastal savannas.

One can get this species too in lowland rainforests.

Note: these animals can survive anywhere as long as they’re close to a water source.

The appearance of African Buffalo

They have a varied appearance depending on the subspecies.

You can get them in dark brown or black, but mainly for those living in the savanna areas, while the buffalos residing in the forest have a bright red color.

Also, the African buffalo has a heavy-set, stocky leg, a large head, and a short neck.

Scientific Classification of the African Buffalo

This set of animals belongs to the Animalia kingdom, the Chordata phylum in the class of Mammalia.

Again the African buffalo belong to the order of ArtiodactylaStncerus genus, and species of syncerus caffer.

Characteristics of the African Buffalo

Both the male and female African Buffalos have unridged horns. 

They have dewclaws above their rounded hooves.

They’re very robust animal species with a shoulder height ranging from 1.0 to 1.7 m (3.3 to 5.6 ft).

Their head-and-body length varies from 1.7 to 3.4 m (5.6 to 11.2 ft).

Compared with other large bovids, they have a long but stocky body and body length exceeding the wild water buffalo, the taller and heavier counterpart.

Again, they have short but thickset legs, resulting in a relatively short standing height.


Their favorite foods are grass and herbs.


All the animals mentioned above are native to Africa, and they differ in habitat, gestation period, and features.

Although they are all the tallest and most giant animals in Africa, they still vary in size, height, weight, and length.  

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