Snakes South Africa

Snakes in South Africa


Yes we have snakes in South Africa. Most snakes will avoid people and you will not just encounter them. If you want to see them you will have to put in a little effort and inquire about them.

Common Puff Viper: The most dangerous venomous snake in Africa is the common puff adder. This is not only because it is the most poisonous, but because it relies on its camouflage and does not shy away from people. Unfortunately, his camouflage works so well that people regularly accidentally come too close, he cannot appreciate this and then reacts aggressively.

The puff adder inflates its body (that’s how it got its name) and puts it on the hiss. Should this not work enough as a deterrent, a rapid lunge and bite will follow, injecting poison into the prey that is deadly.

Gabon Pofadder

Gabon pofadder: In the south of Sudan but also in the far north of South Africa you can encounter the Gabon pofadder. The Gabon pofadder is the thickest snake you can encounter in all of Africa. The camouflage of this battle is very impressive and therefore very difficult to spot.

You can recognize the snake by the shape of the head which is triangular and very large. Because he is difficult to spot, there is a chance that you will encounter him accidentally and scare him. The gabonpo viper is very poisonous, but is generally very calm and will not attack quickly.

The Black Mamba and the Green Mamba: Both are highly poisonous and terrestrial. So they live in the same place. You can even find the green Mamba in gardens. They generally avoid people.

The Black Mamba prefers to be in a drier area. He can get quite annoyed by headlights at night and then attack passing cars. So keep your window closed at night when driving through the bush.

Other snakes you may encounter are the (spitting) cobra, python and tree snake.


The geckos can be found everywhere, including in your room. Don’t worry these critters are your best friends. They eat mosquitoes and flies so that you are not bothered by them. They also hardly make any noise.

Chameleons are very special and South Africa also has a number of unique species, especially dwarf chameleons. You don’t see them if you don’t look for them while they are everywhere. Especially in gardens. So if you want to see one, ask around and keep your eyes open when you are waiting next to a bush.


The Nile crocodile is found in most African lakes and rivers. They are not picky about food and will eat whatever is available. These can be small fish, but also water turtles to large ungulates that are waiting for them and dragging them into the water.

So watch out at the waterfront! Every year there are human victims (especially anglers).


There are several turtle species in South Africa and a wide variety of lizards including monitor lizards.

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