15 Heaviest African Animals. What is the heaviest animal in Africa?

Africa is blessed with so many animals, and seeing animals in the wilderness is one of the top things that attract people from other continents to visit countries in Africa.

While most people will already know that African elephants are the heaviest land animals, this article will let the other animals weigh in and compare with each other.

elephants in tsavo east np

Weight Chart of African Animals

Here is the quick and easy weight chart of African animals showing their weight range in adult animals.

# Animal Weight (kg) Weight (lb)
 African Elephant  5,200 - 8,000 kg   11,464 - 17,636 lb
 Rhinocerous  3000 - 3600 kg  6,613 - 7,936 lb
 Hippopotamus  1210 - 3000 kg  2.667 - 6,613 lb
 Giraffe  700 - 1400 kg  1543 - 3,086 lb
 Eland  400 - 1200 kg  881 - 2,645 lb
 African Buffalo  300 - 870 kg  661 - 1,918 lb
 Zebra  280 - 400 kg  617 - 881 lb
 Okapi  200 - 350 kg  440 - 771 lb
9  Wildebeest  180 - 250 kg  396 - 551 lb
10   Gorilla  68 - 230 kg  150 - 507 lb
11   African Lion  120 - 170 kg  264 - 374 lb
12   Chimpanzee  40 - 70 kg  88 - 154 lb
13   Cheetah  21 - 70 kg  46 - 154 lb
14   Hyena  40 - 65 kg  88 - 143 lb
15   African Leopard  40 - 60 kg  88 - 132 lb
16   African Wild dog  20 - 25 kg  44 - 55 lb

Heaviest African Animals

1. African Bush Elephant

muddy elephant

The African Elephant is the heaviest land animal in Africa and in the whole world. There are 2 species of elephants in Africa, the African Bush/Savannah Elephant, and the African Forest Elephant. The Savannah elephant is bigger in size than the forest elephant.

An adult male (bull) elephant can weigh up to 8000 kilograms (17,636 pounds) but females are often smaller in size.

As their names suggest, the forest elephant lives in forested areas and the smaller size is an adaptation to easily move through the forested habitat. Another obvious physical adaptation is the tusks that are smaller and more downward-facing in comparison to their savannah counterpart.

2. Rhinoceros

white rhinoceros

The rhino is the third heaviest animal in Africa. Of the 2 species of rhinoceros found in Africa, - black, and white rhino, the white rhinoceros is the bigger and heavier species. An adult male white rhinoceros can weigh between 3000 and 3600 kilograms. 

Related article: Interesting facts to know about rhinos

3. Hippos

grazing hippo in kruger np

The common Hippopotamus is the fourth heaviest land animal in Africa. An adult male hippo weighs between 1,210 kilograms and 3,000 kilograms. Male hippos are larger than females because they are bigger in size.

Here is a full article that looks at 21+ facts about hippos and how they are interesting animals.

4. Giraffe

giraffe on the road in uganda

The Giraffe is not only the tallest land animal but it's heavy enough to become the 5 heaviest wild animals in Africa. Because of their tall stature, most people don't consider how heavy and big a giraffe is until they are face to face with it.

Male giraffes are often bigger than females and can weigh up to 1400 kilograms.

Related article: Where to see giraffes in the wild

5. Eland

zebra and eland in lake mburo np

The Eland is the biggest African antelope and can weigh up to 1200 kilograms. There are 2 subspecies of eland - giant eland and common eland.

The giant eland is bigger in size and an adult male will often weigh around 200 kilograms more than the biggest of the common eland.

6. African Buffalo

african buffalo head

The African Buffalo is among the most dangerous animals in Africa. African buffalos weigh between 300 and 900 kilograms, with males weighing the heaviest.

7. Zebra

grevys zebra

While zebras are known for their striking black and white stripes, they are among the big land animals which can weigh between 280 and 400 kilograms among adults.

Related article: Where to see zebras in the wild habitat

8. Okapi


The Okapi is a relative of the giraffe that lives only in northeastern DRC. It is also called forest giraffe, Congolese giraffe, or zebras giraffe.

This is because okapi looks like the cross-breed of a zebra and a giraffe. It has the long neck of giraffes as well as the black and white stripe pattern of zebras.

Adult Okapi weighs between 200 and 350 kilograms with males being bigger and heavier.

9. Wildebeest

blue wildebeest running

The Wildebeest are well known for their huge population and the migration they make every year in millions to search for water and pasture. Adult male wildebeests can weigh up to 250 kilograms but females are often lighter. The Blue Wildebeest is the heavier of the subspecies.

10. Gorilla

gorilla eating bamboo

Gorillas are the biggest - and heaviest primate species in the world. Of the 2 gorilla species (Eastern and western gorilla) the Eastern gorillas are bigger and heavier. 

In gorillas, the males are significantly larger than the female gorillas and can weigh almost twice as much. Gorillas weigh between 68 and 230 kilograms with females rarely weighing more than 130 kilograms.

An adult silverback Eastern lowland gorilla can weigh up to 230 kilograms. 

Related article: Fascinating things to know about gorillas.

11. African Lion

two grown male lions

The lion is called the king of beasts because of its strength and delivery. On the weighing scale, the lion is the 11th heaviest African land animal.

Adult lions often weigh between 120 and 170 kilograms - with males being bigger and heavier. While a lion is clearly not the heaviest or biggest animal in Africa, the fact that it will go after much heavier animals for prey is part of the bravery that justifies calling it the king of the beasts.

Related article: Where to see lions in the wild in Africa.

12. Chimpanzee

chimp in Kibale np uganda

Chimpanzees are the closest animal relatives to humans. Unlike gorillas, male chimpanzees are not much bigger than females. Adult Chimpanzees weigh between 40 and 70 kilograms, with males weighing the heaviest.

As our close animal cousins, chimpanzees have complex social structures and on a visit with them, you can observe a lot of what could be called 'human' behaviour and mannerisms.

Related article: 13 Captivating Facts About Chimpanzees.

13. Cheetah

cheetah in kruger np

The cheetah is the fastest land animal and being lightweight is a great part of being fast. While cheetahs stand tall, they are very light and adults can weigh between 21 and 70 kilograms. 

Since the cheetah's speed is helpful for its hunting of prey for food, fewer cheetahs come close to the maximum weight of 70 kilograms.

14. Hyena


The hyena is probably one of those animals whose popularity is based on a love-to-hate idea. Hyenas are actually quite interesting.

An adult hyena often weighs between 40 and 65 kilograms with males being bigger and heavier than females.

15. African Leopard

leopard walking on tarmac

The African leopard is the sneakiest and most solitary of all African animals. A sight of a leopard on a safari is a joy but sighting 2 or 3 adults together is essentially divine intervention.

The leopard is shorter and smaller compared to lions and cheetahs, and an adult will weigh between 40 and 60 kilograms. For its size, the leopard is storky and strong.

Besides, its seemingly physical shortcomings, a leopard can carry a kill 2 or three times its own weight up a tree.

16. African Wild dog

pack of African wild dogs

The African wild dog is another great carnivore on the African savannah that can hunt animals several times bigger in size. The painted wolf, as it is also called is a small animal than can weigh between 20 and 25 kilograms.

Despite their small size, African wild dogs are by a large margin, the best hunters in Africa with a hunt success rate of more than 80%. Unlike cheetahs whose lightweight helps them run faster for short period, African wild dogs chase their prey until it gets completely exhausted and stops.

Related article: Facts about African wild dogs. 

Final Thoughts

when thinking about wildlife and how several animals all survive in the harsh wilderness, it can seem like some animals are lucky and others are not.

Truthfully, it seems like every animal has enough shortcomings but uses them to its advantage. Without this precise balance, one animal that is the bravest, heaviest, biggest, and fastest animal would make kill off the ecosystem. 

On earth, the animal with the most advantages overall is humans. And this is why our human activity has the biggest impact on ecosystems around us. In true optimism fashion, this is also why we are truly capable of protecting and restoring natural ecosystems.

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