Going on a safari is a bit like playing a game in that you see how many animal species you can spot during your drive or walk. The Secret 7 is a game within the game, if you will. It’s a way to up your chances of seeing some of Africa’s more elusive wildlife. One of the Madikwe Safari Lodge’s Secret 7 is the aardvark.

Nocturnal loners

Aardvarks are fascinating looking creatures with long pig-like snouts and large ears. Their bodies are covered in short, sparse hair and they have a long kangaroo-like tail. They are family of the anteater and related to the elephant. They’re native to Africa and can weigh up to 68 kilograms (150 pounds). The aardvark is a nocturnal creature that is tricky to spot in the wild as it only comes out at night to forage for food. They are mostly solitary creatures but will sometimes form small groups of 2-3 individuals. The aardvarks at Madikwe have become used to people and often come out during the day.

Captivating eating rituals

Aardvarks are interesting animals because they’re one of the few mammals that can eat termites. In fact, termites make up most of their diet. They use their long, sticky tongues to capture these insects. When it scents termites, the aardvark will start to dig with its powerful front legs and sharp claws, breaking through the hard outer shell of the termite mound. They make a ‘churning’ sound when they are digging. It is an incredibly important animal in the African ecosystem as it helps to control the population of ants and termites. They can go without water for long periods of time since they get most of the water that they need from the termites.

An aardvark digging for insects to eat.
An aardvark digging for insects to eat at Madikwe

Extroverted at Madikwe

These mammals are quite shy and will often flee if they spot people. Contrary to this instinct, the aardvark at Madikwe are used to being around people and less likely to be scared off.

Madikwe is a great place to spot an aardvark. But don’t forget, they’re mainly nocturnal creatures, so it is best to look out for them during an evening safari. Book your stay at Madikwe today!