The kudu is the world’s second largest antelope species (behind the eland), reaching up to 1,2 m at shoulder height and weighing as much as 270 kg. It is by far one of the antelopes I admire the most, and always a delight to watch in the wild!
These rather shy browsers are found in well-bushed regions and hills, and can remain motionless for long periods of time when feeling threatened. Kudu bulls have highly recognizable long, spiral horns (above). As with most antelope species, females are hornless and relatively smaller in size.
There are two types of kudus: Greater kudus and Lesser ones. The greater kudu is most common, while the lesser kudu is confined to East Africa. One way to differentiate the two (other than by looking at size), is to observe the number of white stripes on the side of the animal’s body. The lesser kudu can have up to 14 stripes, while the greater kudu barely has 6 or 7.
Have you ever checked the animal’s ears? They are unmistakably large; very funny to watch when they hear intriguing sounds!
Also one of the largest antelope species found in Africa. Both sexes have imposing razor-sharp horns and magnificent black and white markings on the head. Males however are usually darker, whereas females and youngsters have a paler chestnut colour.
Love the animals, yet they are seldom seen. Encountered them a couple of times only, in places like Ruaha National Park (Tanzania) and Kafue in Zambia!
Were you aware that sable horns could measure up to 154 cm in length?! Impressive, huh?!
Yet another handsome, striking antelope which inhabits dense bush and riverine areas covered in vegetation. The nyala is relatively similar to the kudu, and females are often confused with the bushbuck. Males are conspicuously different from females both in terms of coat (dark and shaggy) and horns (females don’t have any).
The fourth-largest antelope species of the continent. Not to be confused with the sable; it is lighter in colour, has shorter horns with long tasseled ears and a clown mask! Absolutely stunning creature!
The most common African antelope species out of them all. Known as the “McDonald’s” of the bush for their black and white “M-shaped” markings on the bum, it is the one animal that you just can’t miss while on a safari!
Impalas have acute hearing and are known for their loud uttered snorts capable of frightening elephants. They are extremely agile fellows and excellent jumpers. The antelope is preyed upon by most of the big predators: the lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, etc. In my opinion it is the most gracile animal of the African savanna!
N.B. The black tufts above the hooves on the hind legs conceal scent glands, which they use to attract a mate.
When one first thinks of the gemsbok (also known as the oryx), it is immediately associated with sand dunes and desert regions. As some people put it, it is “the spirit of the desert embodied in an antelope”. Although arid habitat is typically where the animal is found, it can also occasionally be encountered in savanna and mopane woodland. If you’re a fan of these breathtaking antelopes be sure to visit Tsavo National Park in Kenya, or the well-known Etosha Pans of Namibia.
A robust, somewhat “overweight” animal found in small herds and dominated by a bull. As its name implies, waterbucks love water though they will often venture some distance away from it to feed. Two subspecies co-exist: the Common Waterbuck with a distinctive white ring on its rear (see below), and the Defassa Waterbuck that has a white rump patch.
Did you know?
Just for the fun of it: do you know why common waterbucks have an elliptical ring around the rump? No? Read on…
When Noah built his Ark, the vessel’s toilet seats were painted in white. Unfortunately for the waterbuck, it had drank too much water (as always…), and couldn’t resist the loo even though the toilet seats weren’t dry yet…very funny I know!
“Springs” into the air with a pronking action! The springbok is the only gazelle found beneath the Zambezi river. It has very good eyesight and is highly gregarious. It is the symbol of South Africa’s rugby team: the “bokke”!
Springbok Pronking Video!
A slender mix between an impala and a giraffe, which, just like the latter, also happens to eat acacia leaves! The gerenuk is considered as a browser and inhabits areas of dry bush and scrub.
Attractive medium-sized antelope found mostly around rivers, forests and dense bush areas. The bushbuck is mainly nocturnal but may sometimes be observed on early mornings/late afternoon game drives (when undisturbed). Interestingly enough, the bushbuck varies from light to dark brown in colour according to the region in which it lives.