Gray countries with texture denote areas of future engagement.


An ecological paradise that is home to some of the world’s rarest species

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Southern Africa


  • Quick Facts:


    659,508,700 hectares (2,546,369 sq. mi.)

  • Key Landmarks

    1. Epupa Falls
    2. Cape Floral Kingdom
    3. Kruger National Park
    4. Chobe National Park
    5. Tsodilo Hills
    6. Sibebe Rock
    7. Ngwempisi Gorge
    8. Victoria Falls
    9. Banhine National Park
    10. Hwange National Park
    11. Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park
  • Animals

    White rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, elephant, lion, kudu, wildebeest, leopard, dik-dik, wild dog, puku antelope, zebra, cheetah, riverine rabbit, blue crane

  • Primary Ecosystems

    Desert, savanna, montane, forest

    Tags: Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Southern Africa, Kazungula, Limpopo, Zambezi, Etosha-Skeleton Coast, Great Fish River

  • Lupani School Becky Walter
  • Lupani School Nasson Tembo
  • Lupani Nasson Tembo
  • Lupani School Perrin Banks
  • Manyara Ranch IT Lab Craig R. Sholley
  • Manyara Ranch IT Lab James Mithamo
  • Manyara Ranch IT Lab James Mithamo
  • Manyara Ranch IT Lab Craig R Sholley
  • Inyambo Nasson Tembo
  • Southern Africa includes:

    Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritious, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

  • The terrain here has a little bit of everything:

    Deserts, woodlands, lush forests, grasslands, coastal areas, and mountains. It also has some of the world’s most spectacular flora and fauna, including the Succulent Karoo—an incredible ecosystem with a third of our planet’s 10,000 succulent species.

  • Mining plays a crucial role in many Southern African economies.

    This region has the world’s largest reserves of platinum, making it one of Southern Africa’s biggest exports, along with diamonds, gold, and uranium.

  • The region’s wildlife includes:

    White rhinos, elephants, lions, and the vervet monkey, which has human-like characteristics. They have the ability to identity their offspring by scream alone. Southern Africa is also home to the riverine rabbit, one of our planet’s rarest and most endangered mammals. It is estimated there are less than 200 of these nocturnal rabbits left.


Water security threatens wildlife and is creating conflicts between neighboring communities.

While Southern Africa is breathtaking with its long coastlines, extensive dry woodlands, and sand dunes that can rise close to 1,000 ft., the geography has a dramatic impact on the lives of the people here. 

Poverty is exacerbated by overpopulation and a lack of economic opportunities and infrastructure. As a result, many depend on natural resources and subsistence agriculture for their livelihood. As more people turn to the forest for fuel, medicine, shelter, or profit, deforestation is accelerating at an alarming rate. This habitat loss is threatening some of our planet’s most endangered wildlife.

Historically, Southern Africa has suffered from water shortages. Its coastal deserts, rocky gravel plains, and drier terrains mean water is more scarce here than other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. And, its booming population makes water security a real issue for people and wildlife alike.


Will you show your support for Southern Africa?

African Wildlife Foundation’s efforts in Southern Africa include protecting the desert-dwelling elephant, developing ecotourism lodges that can help entire communities, and more. Donate for a cause that will help the people of Southern Africa, its wildlife, and its landscapes.

  • Rhinos at the rhino sanctuary at Hluhluwe iMflozi
    Rhino Sanctuary at Hluhluwe iMfolozi
    Protecting white rhino at one of their last remaining refuges

    Even protected areas are not completely safe from poaching. 

    Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, in South Africa, is one of the flagship protected areas of the Ezemvelo KwaZulu–Natal Wildlife,...

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  • Zambia Rhino Relocation Joreck Chisshika
    Zambia Rhino Relocation
    Protecting and strengthening rhino populations in Zambia

    Rhinos face extinction in Zambia.

    Zambia once had a healthy population of white rhinos, but by 2010, there was only one still alive. Poaching had decimated local...

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  • AWF's Machenje Fishing Lodge in Zambia
    Machenje Fishing Lodge
    A tourist destination that benefits animals and people.

    A need to protect Africa’s largest elephant population.

    The Kazungula District of Zambia, the location of the Sekute Chiefdom, lies...

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  • Elephants Robyn Gianni
    Zambezi Elephant Conservation
    Securing habitats for Southern Africa’s giants

    Elephants don’t know borders.

    Elephant populations in Southern Africa roam freely across many countries, seeking food, water, and suitable habitat. As a result,...

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  • Close up of chimp in a tree.
    African Apes Initiative
    Saving Africa’s great apes from the brink of extinction.

    All of Africa’s great ape species are either endangered or critically endangered.

    Africa is home to four of the world’s five great apes: the...

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