Eland Hunting Safari in Namibia
The eland is the world’s largest antelope. But don’t let its size fool you, although it is not very fast, this hardy buck has incredible endurance (it can trot for hours indefinitely) and is very nimble for its size – it has been known to jump as high as 2.5 meters. The common eland (also known as the southern eland or eland antelope) is found in East and Southern Africa, inhabiting savannah and grass plains.
Females are smaller than males, weighing between 300-600 kilograms, and reaching a height of 280cm from the snout to the base of the tail. Male bulls can range from 500-942kgs in weight, and some have been known to weigh up to one tonne! Height in males ranges anywhere from 240 to 345cm. Both males and females have horns, but the female’s horns tend to be much longer and thinner. The life expectancy of this antelope is about 15 to 20 years.
The common eland is fawn or tawny-coloured and turns grey or bluish-grey as it ages. Males grow black tufts from their prominent dewlaps (the loose fold of skin that hangs down from the neck), and a mat of hair on the forehead that grows longer and denser as they get older.
These magnificent creatures are socially different from other antelope, in that younger animals tend to form small groups, with only older males preferring solitude. Females travel much longer distances than the males, who prefer a more sedentary lifestyle. Elands enjoy grazing shrubs and bushes and use their horns to pull down bark or twigs for eating. They have been known to also eat fruit, bulbs and tuberous roots.
Interestingly, their herds are accompanied by a mysterious clicking sound which has been the subject of considerable speculation over the years. It is believed that the sound is caused when the weight of the animal bears down on its hooves, and the two halves splay apart and then snap back together again when it lifts its leg. This sound carries some distance and is fascinating to hear when the herds are large.
Eland antelope are found all over Namibia, and it is best to track them in the morning as they can be very sneaky for their size and difficult to stalk.