Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Nyala Antelope at Game Haven -near Blantyre, Malawi

The second day after I had arrived in Blantyre, Malawi, Judith, and my 2 grandchildren and I went to Game Haven which was 15 minutes from their home.  It is a small game park and although it does not have some of the ‘bigger’ animals, you can see more Deer/Antelope there. The Nyala was one of the first antelope I saw and wish to show you today.

It is a medium-sized antelope with a body that appears slender.  Male bulls are dark brown to grey, growing more grey with age.  Legs are tan.  Nyala are noted for their striking white body striping and long, bushy tail with white underside.  Both sexes have a white throat patch, lips and chin and spots that may persist on hindquarters and 2 to 3 spots on cheeks.   

 Females lack horns and have a burnt orange coat with slender white stripes like young.  Females 3 ft at the shoulder, weighing 120 to 150 lbs.

Nyala have a very shy, reclusive nature, appraoching open spaces with caution.  Prefer life in dry savannahs with dense brush near water.  Do not venture far from water sources.  Stage in brush during daylight hours, coming to water around sunset.  Generally docile, but will attack humans if cornered and males spar casually in the presence of an estrous female. 

Nyala are almost exclusively browsers of leaves except when grass shouts are young and green.  They feed on fruits, pods, twigs and leaves.  Acacia leaves and pods are most utilized in the wild.  May dig up tubers and gnaw tree bark.  Most browsing takes place during late afternoon hours, moving into open areas to graze only in darkness.

I was wondering what the difference between Deer and Antelope was and in case someone (like me) does not know, here is the answer.  

The most prominent difference between antelopes and deer is that male deer have antlers which they shed and grow every year while antelopes have horns that are permanent. Another difference is that deer antlers are branched and antelope horns are not. Antelopes belong to family Bovidae (as do sheep, goat and cattle), while deer belong to family Cervidae. Both are even-toed ungulates (hoofed animals) and ruminant mammals.

Majority of breeding takes place in spring and autumn (can occur year round).  Females mature at 11 to 12 months and males at 18 months (though not socially mature until around 5 years of age).  A single young is born, normally from August to October, after a gestation period of 8 to 9 months.

 They breed at any time, but peak season is spring and autumn.  After nyala ewes give birth they will hide the newborn for the first 3 weeks or so, returning to nurse and relocate the lamb. When the lamb can keep up on its own it is allowed to join the herd.  This behavior is similar to that of kudu, sable and some other species of antelope.  Their alarm call is a sharp, dog-like bark.

Bulls have a white chevron across face.  Males develop manes along upper and lower neck, belly, and ridgeline of their backs.  Horns of bulls grow upward and spiral loosely 1 to 1.5 times.  Reach lengths of 21 to 33 inches and are yellow-tipped.   Males stand 3.5 ft and weigh 190 to 290 lbs;

Manes of males fluff as animal becomes excited.  Males also use this fluffing as part of an elaborate display of dominance.  I wanted you to see the  display between the bulls so you can access this video (not mine) at

Thank you Kim Wolhuter from Wildcast for the video.

Nyala generally live 14 to 16 years.

I made a short video of the female Nyala and in the last few frames of the video you will see a Roan Antelope.  More about them another day!

You can access it at

If there is a black space below, click it and the video will appear.

I hope you enjoyed this first animal I saw in Malawi because I have many more to show you over the coming weeks! I had to photograph with the
vehicle running all the time and excited children jumping around!!

By the way, my camera gave up the ghost (remember I got water in it before I left for Malawi), well yesterday I bought a new up dated one and took it out for my first photo shot) to the Walled Garden in Bangor.  I will have to get used to it!

Thank you for visiting.

Many thanks for all your comments.


  1. They are very beautiful with these thin stripes on their bodies This is the first time I have ever seen or heard of one!

  2. These are beautiful.
    I have mixed feeling about antelopes as there are so many of them and crossword compilers seem to be able to make the most unlikely letters into an antelope.

  3. What absolutely glorious eyes. And superb camoflage.

  4. Adorable creatures and, again, great wildlife photography.

    Mersad Donko Photography

  5. those are so beautiful deers. Loved to see them.

  6. such beauties. love their stripes.

  7. They appear to be very sweet animal. Cute for sure!

  8. Oh goodness what a collection of beautiful shots!

  9. RIP your camera. Wonder filled visit to your daughter's area of the world! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Wow, what beautiful and fascinating creatures they are.

  11. Oh Margaret
    Your photos are wonderful.
    I love to watch them. I always surprise us with something.
    I'm rarely at you
    For several days haunt me trolls.
    It is very annoying.
    I send kisses and greetings.

  12. What a wonderful animals.
    I am delighted with them.
    Greetings from Polish.

  13. I love their stripes, very pretty animals.. Great post and photos..

  14. They are beautiful, love the stripes. Thanks for all the interesting info Margaret.

  15. Fascinating antelope! I love your photos and all the great information! The two videos were excellent!

  16. Oh wow! So lovely! And the stripes are fascinating.

  17. Beautiful animals with pretty stripes. I loved to see the giraffe in the next post as well. I wish you a wonderful weekend!