Limpopo Wildlife Training Facebook  Africa Expection Linkedin  


The sable antelope (Hippotragus niger) is one of Africa's most beautiful and striking antelopes. It boasts a dainty head, graceful backward curving horns, a brushy upright mane, and a sleek coat. There are four subspecies of sable antelope including the common or southern, the Zambian or Kirk's, the Roosevelt or Eastern, and the giant or Angolan. Depending on the subspecies, the coat of a mature male sable antelope is typically a dark brown to black in color. The female's coat is generally more a rich sorrel or chestnut in color. 

Both males and females have white markings on their face and bellies and a dark marking around the eyes that serve to make them appear larger than they actually are. Females and males both have horns, although those of the males tend to be larger, the longest of all African antelopes apart from the Kudu. Baby sable antelopes are born a light sandy brown, and their coats darken as they mature. 

Predators of this large antelope include lions, leopards, wild dogs, crocodiles and spotted hyenas. When pursued, the sable can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. It will also try to defend itself with its horns when cornered. 

Currently, three of the subspecies, the Kirk, Roosevelt and Common are listed as Lower Risk-Conservation Dependent by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The giant sable, unfortunately, is listed as critically endangered by several organizations, including CITES and IUCN. Over-hunting and loss of habitat are the primary reason these antelope have declined, and it is believed that only 1,000 giant sables remain alive in the wild.