Aardwolves occur solely on the continent of Africa. There are two separate populations. One population is found in southern Africa (including the countries of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, southern Angola, southern Zambia, and southwestern Mozambique). The other northern population ranges from central Tanzania through northeastern Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, along the coast of Ethiopia and Sudan, and the southeastern tip of Egypt (Koehler and Richardson, 1990; Richardson and Bearder, 1999).
The aardwolf is considered an indicator species for the Somalia-Kalahari semi-desert axis, although it now occurs in two discrete populations separated by wetter woodlands in Zambia and southern Tanzania (Kingdon 1977). In southern Africa the prime habitat appears to be open, grassy plains but the aardwolf still occupies most habitats that have a mean annual rainfall of between 100 and 800 mm. It is most common in the 100-600 mm range and does not occur in forests or pure desert (Smithers 1983). In eastern Africa the aardwolf also occurs in open country and scrub regions. This species can also be found in savanna and rocky habitats, but not in forest or pure desert areas. (Koehler and Richardson, 1990; Richardson and Bearder, 1999). It is independent of drinking water. It makes extensive use of springhare and aardvark burrows for refuge during the day, but can also dig its own burrows (Richardson 1985, Anderson 1994).