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Oryx
Asset 17

Oryx

Oryx in Africa

Oryx are impressive antelopes, with a powerful physique and elegant markings set off by rapier-like horns. Adapted to arid habitats, they cut a distinctive dash in some of Africa’s harshest landscapes.


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Quick facts about Oryx

Scientific name: Oryx beisa and Oryx gazella Habitat: Arid savannah
IUCN status: Endangered (O.b) /Least Concern (O.g) Adult weight: 120–210kg (O.b) /180–240kg (O.g)

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to two species of oryx: the endangered East African oryx (O. beisa), which occurs in two subspecies; and Oryx gazella, the gemsbok (pronounced “hemsbok”), its slightly larger and more numerous south-west African cousin.

Both are sturdy, short-legged members of the Hippotraginae antelope tribe, with a pale grey or fawn coat, smart black markings and impressively long, straight horns that are slimmer but slightly longer in females. Gemsbok have more extensive black markings.

Adapted to arid savannah, both species generally form groups of 10–40, supplementing their grazing during the dry season by digging up tubers and other underground plants. Dominant bulls clash horns in jousts with territorial rivals.


1.25m

Record horn length

3.5 months

Age calves develop adult markings

3 weeks

Duration mothers hide new-born calves

45%

Gemsbok population on private land

Africa's top camps for seeing oryx

Based on 643 reports by our travellers since May 2018, the camps below have the best chances of sighting oryx. Simply follow the key below.


Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Top 10 camps for oryx

% of travellers who saw oryx

Top 10 camps for oryx

% of travellers who saw oryx

Where to see oryx in Africa

Gemsbok are easily seen in the Kalahari regions of southern Africa and abundant on private reserves. The East African oryx takes more finding, but occurs in suitable habitat across Kenya and Tanzania.


Top tips for viewing oryx

A line of gemsbok cresting the apricot dunes of the Namib desert is one of Africa’s picture-book wildlife spectacles. This antelope is synonymous with the thirst-lands of the southwest, ranging from Namibia east across the greater Kalahari. Top spots include the Etosha and Namib-Naukluft national parks (Namibia), Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Botswana) and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Botswana/South Africa).

Look out for their distinctive large-hooved tracks in the sand. Habituated gemsbok are surprisingly approachable, and you should take care on foot, as some individuals can be aggressive.

The East African fringe-eared oryx (O.b callotis) occurs as far south as Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, while in Kenya, the Laikipia conservancies, Samburu Reserve and Meru National Park are home to the endangered northern subspecies (O.b. beisa), known as beisa oryx.

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Holiday ideas to see oryx

Based on our travellers experiences, these are the holidays which will give you the best chances of good oryx sightings


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Chongololo Self-drive Safari

21 days • 11 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

This self-drive safari focuses on the best walking experiences in Namibia. Get your boots ready for the apricot dunes of the Namib Desert and the ancient hills of Damaraland.

US$6,040 - US$6,700 per person

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Rock Hare Self-drive Safari

20 days • 12 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

An in-depth look to Namibia including from the Namib Desert to Victoria Falls and everything in between. This three-week self-drive adventure includes unrivalled mix of environments and great value.

US$4,670 - US$5,970 per person

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Black Wildebeest Self-drive Safari

19 days • 10 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

Journey from South Africa’s cosmopolitan Cape Town to central Namibia’s Okonjima Nature Reserve during this self-driven safari. The route passes through a stunning variety of landscapes, offering access to this beautiful continent’s rich diversity.

US$3,310 - US$3,400 per person

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Pygmy Mouse Self-drive Safari

18 days • 10 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

A truly epic southern African self-drive safari adventure from Namibia’s mountains and deserts, along the lush Caprivi Strip to Botswana and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe staying at luxury lodges throughout.

US$4,830 - US$6,690 per person

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Hartebeest Self-drive Safari

16 days • 8 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

This self-drive safari focuses on the best cultural experiences in Namibia. Visit a Himba village and enjoy three days living with the San Bushmen interspersed with some excellent wildlife watching.

US$3,530 - US$3,860 per person

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Our top destinations for oryx

Click below for detailed information about oryx in these countries, including our latest sightings data from the camps and lodges there.


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