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 Brian McBrearity
  • 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.

  • 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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  • Limpopo Leopard Conservation Theodore Mattis
    Limpopo Leopard Conservation
    Studying leopards to ensure their future

    Little is known about the leopard’s conservation status.

    Leopards are solitary, nocturnal creatures that prefer to live in dense bush where their camouflage helps them...

    Read more
    All Projects

  • Banhine National Park Revitalization Simon Munthali
    Banhine National Park Revitalization
    Restoring a jewel of Mozambique

    Banhine is an overlooked but rich national park. 

    Southern Africa’s vast transnational Limpopo Heartland is perhaps best known for the world-famous Kruger National...

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    All Projects

  • Chiawa Cultural Village Craig R. Sholley
    Chiawa Cultural Village
    Celebrating the Goba people and their deep connection to the environment

    Local tourism was not benefitting the community. 

    The banks of the Zambezi River are home to the Goba people who constitute the Chiawa Chiefdom, located in Zambia. The...

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  • African Wildlife Foundation Canine Detection Unit program
    Canine Detection Unit
    Sniffing out illegal wildlife traffickers

    Wildlife trafficking keeps the poaching industry alive.

    Motivated by a lucrative illegal wildlife trade, poachers target Africa’s iconic species like the elephant and...

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