Where to see Roan antelope in South Africa
The roan is Africa’s second largest antelope and one of its most handsome, with a powerful build and distinctive markings. Wary of people, it is renowned for its bravery in fighting off predators.
Quick facts about Roan antelope
|Scientific name:||Hippotragus equinus||Habitat:||Savannah woodland|
|IUCN status:||Least Concern||Adult weight:||180–300kg|
The roan is the largest of the ‘horse-like’ antelope (Hippotraginae) and is indeed horse-like in stature, with a fawn coat and stiff mane. A relative of the slightly smaller sable antelope, it has a similar black-and-white face, but is paler, with shorter horns and tasselled ears.
Roan inhabit woodland savannah, where they graze on tall grasses and visit water daily to drink. A bull presides over a group of five to fifteen females and young, which he defends vigorously from rivals, going on his knees to strike sweeping blows with his horns – a technique also used against predators such as lions. A female keeps her single calf concealed in thick bush for the first month of its life.
Max. horn length
Bull’s shoulder height
Min. bull’s territory
The top camps for seeing roan antelope in South Africa
Based on 2 reports by our travellers since Jun 2018, visitors at these camps in South Africa have the best chances of sighting roan antelope.
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Where to see roan in Africa
Although the roan enjoys a wide distribution, it is relatively seldom seen. Shy and reclusive, this handsome antelope is most conspicuous when visiting waterholes. Allow it plenty of space or it may disappear.
Top tips for viewing roan
Roan occur widely but sparsely across Africa: to the north, they roam across the Sahel; further south, they occupy a discontinuous range from northern Tanzania to northern South Africa.
Nowhere are they numerous, however, and this remains one of the rarer antelopes seen on safari. Typically, small groups are seen when venturing warily out of cover to drink at a waterhole, often at mid-morning, before departing the same way. Roan are shy, so be prepared to enjoy your sighting from a distance rather than scare them away.
Good areas for sightings include Moremi (Botswana), Hwange (Zimbabwe) and Kafue (Zambia). Perhaps the most reliable viewing is on Malawi’s Nyika plateau, where larger herds graze the montane grasslands and are more approachable than usual.
Our best South Africa holidays for roan antelope sightings
Based on our travellers' reports, these ideas for South Africa safaris are likely to give the best roan antelope sightings
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$3,140 - US$3,550 per person
13 days • 4 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT
Victoria Falls, Botswana and Cape Town – a classic southern African itinerary combining luxury, wilderness, safari and culture. We can't think of a better way to spend two weeks.
US$9,210 - US$13,040 per person
The Highlights of Africa
17 days • 7 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT
An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.
US$14,300 - US$18,160 per person
More information about roan antelope in our other destinations
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