Antelopes in Kenya : Tourists embark on a breath taking experience on a safari in Kenya. The desire to see Africa’s big five species and possibly the great wildebeest migration is a common starting point for a journey. The antelopes, a common species of animals on the Kenyan plains, are frequently disregarded. Kenya has a large and healthy population of antelopes, which range in size from the tiny dik-dik to the giraffe-necked gerenuk. There are 91 different species of antelope in Africa, and at least 12 of those may be found in Kenya, where they represent a vital component of the environment there.
Beisa oryx has four different subspecies. The horns of the female Beisa oryx are shorter and more thin than those of the males, making it difficult to distinguish between the sexes from a distance. Beisa oryx have black ears with fringes and black hair tufts that extend past their ears. They have long, lean bodies, wide necks, and powerful, long legs. They are dense and muscular. The beisa oryx consumes a variety of vegetation, like all antelopes do. The Laikipia Conservancies, Samburu National Reserve, and Meru National Park are good places where tour operators in Kenya organise safaris to see this species.
The common eland, which may reach heights of 7 metres, is the second-largest antelope in the world after the giant eland. With a few minor variations, both males and females have twisted horns. The females have spiral horns, while the males have slightly bigger horns. They use their horns as defence against predators for both themselves and their offspring. A dewlap is the loose skin hanging from their necks. The dewlap shields them from strikes that normally aim for their throats by predators. The sound of a common eland’s hoof can be heard within a short distance, and leaves and flowers make up the majority of its food. Nairobi National Park, Tsavo East and West National Parks, and Masai Mara National Reserve are three places where visitors on Kenya safari tours can see common eland.
A huge antelope with an unusually formed horn, a wide forehead, a short neck, and sharp ears is known as a Coke’s hartebeest. It has a huge face, big chest, lengthy black patterns on its legs, lustrous brownish coat, and a sharply sloping back. These characteristics aid in separating it from other antelopes. Female hartebeests have slightly smaller horns than males do. There are 20 to 300 hartebeests in a herd, and grass makes up the majority of their food. With a top speed of more than 70 km/h, it is one among the swiftest antelopes. The Kenyan highland hartebeest, a cross between the Lelwel and Coke’s hartebeest, is also found in Kenya. West-central Kenya, the Laikipia Plateau, and Mount Kenya are all home to Coke’s hartebeest.
Impalas are among the most prevalent antelope species. They have a medium stature, long neck, slender body, and bright tan coat with a reddish-brown saddle. Only the males of the species have the largest antelope horns in east Africa, which have a lyre-like structure. Impalas utilise their horns to defend themselves from predators and to fight other males. Impala females are more delicate and petite than male impalas. The female herd can have 6 to 100 members, whilst the males can form bachelor herds of up to 30 individuals. One of the quickest antelope species in the world, the impala can run at speeds of up to 75 to 90 km/h. It can jump quite high thanks to its large legs, and it employs speed to avoid predators. They may consume both grass and leaves. They may consume both grass and leaves. In many of Kenya’s parks, including Lake Nakuru National Park, visitors can see impalas.
Thomson’s and Grant’s Gazelle
Red-fronted gazelle subspecies with the name Thomson’s gazelle was given to explorer Joseph Thomson. These gazelles have bent, backward-curving ringed horns with the ear points facing forward. With a white belly and black patterns on both sides, they have a buffy yellowish-brown coat. They eat bushes, seeds, and dried grass. These parks are Masai Mara National Park, Amboseli National Park, Nairobi National Park, and Nakuru National Park. Visitors can discover them there.
There are three subspecies of Grant’s gazelle. Their coat is white underneath the belly and orange on the back. Their horns are ringed and lyre-shaped, with a thick base. The Grant’s gazelle may consume both plants and grass. They don’t require a lot of water to be hydrated since they get enough from the plants they eat, which helps them avoid dehydration during the dry season. In Kenya’s Amboseli and Nairobi National Parks, you can see Grant’s gazelles.
The Kirk’s dik-dik is one of the smallest antelopes in the world and is quite wary. Its large eyes are ringed by white rings, and its coat is yellowish-grey to reddish-brown on the back and greyish-white on the belly. Because of the sound they make when startled, they were given the nicknamed dik-dik. The horns of male dik-diks are hidden by their turfs, while those of the females are not present. They are little, but because of their fast metabolism, they eat a lot. Their long, thin snout, which resembles a little tusk, helps them control their body temperature and keep from overheating. They are a monogamous species that remain married till the death of the other partner. In Nairobi National Park, Tsavo East and West Park, Amboseli National Park, and Masai Mara, visitors can see dik-diks.
When in danger, the swift Topi antelope may run up to 90 km/h. Topi and hartebeest share a similar appearance, but there are two key distinctions: they are slightly darker, and their horns are less pointed. They have reddish-brown fur with purple patches on the upper legs and lyre-shaped horns with rings. While both sexes guard their areas, males are larger and darker than females. The female topi is aggressive when compared to other antelopes. They eat grass and reside in grasslands. Topi are plentiful in Masai Mara and are available to anybody planning a safari to Kenya.
Large and powerful, the common waterbuck is an antelope. Male waterbucks have ringed horns that can reach a height of 100 cm, are widely spaced, and curve up and backwards. Fighting for territory with their horns can be harmful for both males in waterbucks. Common waterbucks are named waterbucks because of their brown coats, which secrete an odorous material that is thought to be waterproof and deters predators. They are frequently found in moist settings. It is known that waterbuck live in herds of six to thirty animals, typically divided into nursery herds, which contain only females, and young and male bachelor herds. The majority of the waterbuck’s diet between 70 and 90 percent consists of grasses.
Since they have long necks like giraffes, gerenuk are often known as giraffe-necked antelopes. It stands on its hind legs, has a small head and large ears, and has a coat that is a combination of red and brown. It can reach the top branches of trees. In contrast to their female counterparts, gerenuk males have short, triangular horns. When it comes to the young, female gerenuks are extremely maternal. Small herds of five to six Gerenuks are formed. The national parks of Meru, Tsavo East and West, and Amboseli are among those where visitors can see them.
One of the swiftest antelope species in Kenya is the blue wildebeest, which has a top speed of 80 km/h. They have a huge head, dark coat, shaggy mane, pointed beard, and a long tail that resembles a horse. Its name is an Afrikaans word that refers to its appearance as a “wild beast.” Males tend to be bigger and heavier. The horns of blue wildebeest are pointed and curved, while females have smaller horns. While grass is their preferred food, they can also consume herbs and shrubs on occasion. A super herd of wildebeest forms when the herds begin to migrate annually from the southern plains to the northern plains. Blue wildebeests can be found in great numbers in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve.