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Oryx
Asset 17

Oryx

Where to see Oryx in Botswana

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

The top camps for seeing oryx in Botswana

Based on 16 reports by our travellers since Aug 2018, visitors at these camps in Botswana have the best chances of sighting oryx.


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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Our best Botswana holidays for oryx sightings

Based on our travellers' reports, these ideas for Botswana safaris are likely to give the best oryx sightings


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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$4,630 - US$5,920 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$4,790 - US$6,650 per person

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Black-footed Cat Safari

14 days • 6 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

Combine three of southern Africa's most iconic destinations in this exciting and varied safari. Discover the world's oldest desert in Namibia, seek iconic wildlife in Botswana and gaze in wonder at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

US$11,080 - US$19,510 per person

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Sable Self-drive Safari

12 days • 7 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

A great value southern African self-drive adventure from Namibia along the Caprivi Strip to Botswana and Zimbabwe, combining otherworldly landscapes, unforgettable wildlife spectacles, rarely visited places and ending at Victoria Falls.

US$2,860 - US$3,900 per person

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Porcupine safari

11 days • 4 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Visit dramatically contrasting landscapes boasting a variety of species during this exploration of Botswana’s top-safari destinations. A combination of national parks and private reserves allows for a range of activities.

US$9,000 - US$13,570 per person

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Honey Badger Safari

6 days • 2 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Two smart sister-camps offer access to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the heart of the Okavango Delta. Experience a spectacular range of habitats and wildlife through diversely exciting safari activities.

US$4,960 - US$6,940 per person

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African Jacana Safari

7 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

An adventurous introduction to Botswana blending prolific wildlife, incredible landscapes and varied activities staying at relaxed camps in the Chobe Enclave, a community-owned reserve bordering the Moremi, and Makgadikgadi Pans.

US$6,140 - US$8,110 per person

View all holidays to Botswana

More information about oryx in our other destinations

Click here for detailed information about oryx in other countries, including the places for sighting oryx.


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