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This fascinating antelope is one of the most common ones found in Africa. The Tsessebe or sassaby is part of the Bovidae family which comprises of wildebeest, blesbok and hartebeest. Much like the aforementioned animals, these mammals also have the distinctive high shoulders and smaller rump build. In fact, this medium-sized animal can even be found grazing alongside other herds of antelopes, zebras, wildebeest and more.

What They Are:

Their lean and sleek build is ideal for sustained speed while their brown and black colouration can assist them in blending in with savannah grasses. It’s because of this that they don’t have many predators except for fast cats like cheetahs. One of their biggest threats is, in fact, humans that destroy their natural habitat or hunt them. They have small crescent-shaped horns that aren’t very strong but are rather distinct and grow to be about 30 to 40cm long. The males can grow to 1.2 metres at the shoulder, weighing around 140 kg.

What They Do:

The Tsessebe is a grazer that enjoys various fresh grass species, which is why they’re often found near recently burnt areas that are going through a period of renewal. They’re also social animals that form small breeding groups consisting of females and their offspring while the males form bachelor and bull herds. They can be found in open savannahs, plains, wooded areas and grasslands. The males are very territorial animals and often try to establish their dominance and territory by parading around with their noses in the air, striking the ground with their horns, defecating, high stepping and mud packing which entails throwing mud at other males.

Interesting Facts:

  • Their gestation period is 7 to 8 months and they generally give birth around September and October
  • Their Latin name is Damaliscus Lunatus
  • They can reach a running speed of about 80km/h
  • They can live for about 15 years in the wild
  • They’re considered one of the most social mammal species in the Serengeti

For a chance to view these wonderful animals, a visit to the Kruger National Park is a must. Get in touch with Yingwe Lodge for great accommodation.