South Africa’s most dangerous snakes

JOHANNESBURG – Often snakes pose no threat to humans. However, if you were to come across one of these try to keep your distance.

Siyabonga Africa, a travel website that focusses on anything to do with South African National Parks and Game Reserves, has highlighted the region’s most dangerous snakes.

Black mamba

This snake, olive or brown in colour, is found in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West and Nothern Provinces.

The black mamba is said to be the most feared in Africa.

It can be found in trees but is mostly in grass and bushy areas, and sometimes found along the KZN coast.

Mostly active in the daytime, it can move at around 20km/hour and is the largest venomous snakes on the continent. It can grow anywhere between 2.5 – 4.5 metres long.

Puff adder

Most deaths by snake bite in Africa are atributed to the puff adder. This is because the slow moving snake is usually well camoflaged and people accidentaly make contact.

As the “most widespread snake in Africa” is can be found from the Cape to the Sahara.

The large triangular-headed reptile is rarely more than one metre in length, and is also identifiable by the black chevrons on its back. They are mostly active at dusk.

Cape cobra

Common to the Southern regions of the country, these snakes can be found in the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces, as well as in the Free State. Their colouring can vary from yellow to a red or olive brown.

Mostly active during the day and hiding at night, it is found to be nervous and aggresive which leads to its defensive upright stance.

This Cape Cobra was spotted by residents on the shore in Hout Bay.


Varied in colour, the boomslang is mostly seen in trees and bushes and is found across South Africa.

Growing up to almost two metres in length with large eyes, this shy snake is not often seen on the ground.

It has very large fangs and is highly venoumous. The Venom is slow-acting and can take up to 24 hours for symptoms to show.


Found in KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State, the Eastern Cape and southern areas, this true spitting cobra can shoot its venom up to 2.5 metres.

Preferring wet grasslands and high altitudes, rhinkals are identifiable by the spotting or banding on their backs with lighter stripes around their necks.

In its defensive mode, it recognisable by its flared hood and hissing.

The Scouts organisation of South Africa has also listed the berg adder, horned adder and the green mamba to their list of dangerous snakes.



Written by Ph

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