At Qabe Private Safaris we are also passionate about conservation and breeding. To justify the continued existence of protected areas in the context of increasing demand for land, wildlife has to pay for itself and contribute to the economy, and hunting and breeding provides an important means of achieving this. We have a Sable breeding herd, which flourishes in this area.
Known as: Sable Antelope
Size: Body length: 190 – 255 cm
Shoulder height: 117 – 143 cm
Tail length: 40 – 75 cm
Weight: 190 – 270 kg
A large, dark to black coloured antelope with an exceptionally long, upright mane along the neck. The face is white with a black blaze from the forehead to the nose. The belly and the hind of the buttocks is pure white. The front feet are larger than the hind. Calves are a light red-brown and the colour of cows ranges from a light brown to a dark chestnut-brown or brown-black. The back and saddle of young bulls are chestnut-brown, but turn black with age. The colour of the skin is also affected by the concentration of copper in the diet.
Males are black, females and subordinate males are reddish brown, both with a white undercoat and distinct facial markings. Some females are also black regardless of age. Sweeping horns that are ringed, arch back and average 32″ to 41″ in adult males; 23″ to 32″ in adult females. Both sexes have horns, with females’ usually shorter in length than mature males. Have longer tufts of hair on neck and shoulders. Tails are over 2 feet long with a brushy tip.
This stunning antelope rivals even the greater kudus as the most handsome of all antelope, with its powerful, robust build, vertical mane and fantastically long, curved horns, which arch majestically backwards. Calves are born with a camouflaging, sandy-brown coat, but as they grow and achieve herd status their coats continually darken. Mature females eventually become a rich chestnut-brown to dark brownish-black and fully mature males are a glossy brownish-black to pitch-black, varying with the subspecies. Coat colour appears to be controlled hormonally, with castrated males losing their black colour to become brown again, and it is thought to help communicate age, and therefore social status, to others. Both sexes have sharply contrasting white abdominal, rump, and facial patches, and black facial stripes running down the bridge of the nose and from the eyes to the nostrils. The semi-circular, ridged horns are longer and thicker in males, growing up to an incredible 165 centimetres in length, while those of females reach a worthy 100 centimetres. These large horns are very effective defensive weapons against natural predators and are used in dominance fighting.
Distribution: Africa: Malawi to South Africa: Natal.
Habitat: Damp areas of thick grasses.
Food: Leaves and grasses.
Size: 1.8 – 2.1 m (6 – 7 ft); 55 – 126 kg (121 – 278 lb).
Weight: Males 98 – 125 kg. Females 55 – 68 kg
Maturity: 2 – 4 years.
Life span: 15 – 19 years.
Status: Lower risk.
Nyala are seldom far from water in habitats with thick grass and other cover. Nyala are spiral-horned, middle-sized antelopes, and are therefore more closely related to cattle and bison than the grazing antelopes and gazelles.
Amongst all antelope the Nyala exhibits the greatest level of difference between the males and female of the species, in both size and coloration:
- A Nyala bull will eat twice as much as a female.
- Females have the same colouring as the young (a red coat with thin stripes down the flanks) while males are larger and have a grey coat.
- Only males have horns. Horns are 60–83 cm (24–33 in) long and yellow-tipped in adult males. The horns have one or two twists.
- The coat of the females and juveniles is rusty or rufous brown with ten or more thin, white, vertical stripes down the flanks and also have markings that are visible on the face, throat, flanks and thighs.
- Adult males grow a dark brown or slate grey coat, sometimes with a bluish tinge. Stripes are reduced or often absent in older males.
- Males typically have another line of hair along the midline of their chest and belly.
- Both males and females have a white chevron between their eyes and a long bushy tail white underside.
- Both sexes have a dorsal crest of hair running from the back of the head to the end of the tail.
- This dorsal crest is often white in the males. During courtship, males raise the crest. This often engenders fighting among the males, and deaths and serious injuries are not uncommon due to the antelope’s sharp horns.
- The condition of the Nyala often varies between the sexes because of the differences in their body sizes. During nutritional stress, older male adults tend to die in more numbers and it is found that Vitamin E levels also vary during stress.
- Females tend to stay in the same herds (of about 20 individuals) throughout their lives.
- Males are more transitory, forming small, temporary, male-only herds that move between groups of females.
Nyala do not have any specific scent glands, not even the usual glands which most antelope possess under their eyes. They therefore rely on sight and sound for communication.
Nyala eat fresh leaves and buds. They resort to eating grasses and other low-quality foods only during dry periods. The Nyala faeces resemble round to spherical pellets.
The Nyala breeds throughout the year, but mating peaks in spring and autumn. A female Nyala will delay mating until the last opportunity to ensure that the most dominant bull is in attendance. She will do this by only standing for copulation in the last six hours of oestrus. All male Nyala in an area will be ranked in order of dominance which is maintained through visual displays of sizing one another up. This mostly prevents the need for aggression. To demonstrate their strength Nyala bulls will dig up soil by pawing the ground and thrash bushes with their horns. When a Nyala bull tests the reproductive condition of a female he will do so by putting his muzzle between her legs to sniff. Whilst doing so he will often lift her hindquarters clear off the ground.
Gestation is of seven months. A single calf is born, weighing 5 kg (11 lb). Birth takes place away from the sight of predators, in places such as a thicket. The calf remains hidden for up to 18 days, and the mother nurses it at regular intervals. The calf remains with its mother until the birth of the next calf, during which males in rut drive it away from the mother.