There are more antelope in Africa than any other continent. Of the world’s 91 antelope species, most are native to Africa, and all belong to the family Bovidae. Here are a few of my favorites.
Many continents do not have native antelope: Europe, Australasia, Antarctica and the Americas.
What a beautiful, natural sight it is, then, to observe antelope grazing and leaping across Africa’s savannahs.
They vary tremendously in size.
Larger antelope include the kudu and waterbuck.
Antelope horns vary also. Unlike deer antlers, antelope horns grow continuously and are never shed.
The horns are used as weapons, especially when fighting among their own species.
Sometimes both genders of a species have horns, with the male horns often bigger; but there are variations. In kudus, only the males have horns.
Beisa Oryx, below, have incredibly long horns.
We were lucky one day to come across this elegant sable with its pronounced horns and velvet-black coat. The birds on his back are oxpeckers, they’re taking care of his ticks.
Although all antelope in Africa are speedy out of necessity, the medium- and smaller-sized species are especially fast. Open-grassland species are agile and have powerful legs, endurance.
You can see how fine this impala’s lithe body and long legs are–he runs like the wind.
But no matter how fast they are, they are prey to many other fast, wild beasts. The young antelope are especially vulnerable. And cheetahs are the fastest land animal on earth.
Another antelope species, the wildebeest, migrates across the continent. They travel in impressively large herds, giving them protection from predators. Serengeti Migration Wikipedia.
While most antelope prefer grassland habitat, species like this klipspringer, below, prefer rocky habitats.
Wildlife on the African savannah are beautiful, even elegant, but they are also tough. They come in all sizes, with and without horns, and grace the grasslands, rocky cliffs, and waterways of this immense continent.
How lucky we are to share this planet with such a diverse family.
Written by Jet Eliot.
Photos by Athena Alexander.