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Sable antelope
Asset 15

Sable antelope

Where to see Sable antelope in Botswana

The sable is one of Africa’s most handsome antelope and renowned for its combative nature, able even to face down lions. Shy, and restricted in range, sightings of this species are always special.


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Quick facts about Sable antelope

Scientific name: Hippotragus niger Habitat: Savannah woodland
IUCN status: Least Concern Adult weight: 220–235kg

The sable belongs to the ‘horse-like’ antelope tribe (Hippotraginae), along with oryx and the slightly larger roan. Scientists recognise four subspecies, among which the giant sable of Angola is Critically Endangered.

Adult males are a striking glossy black, with a white belly and badger-like white face stripes. Their majestic profile is accentuated by a powerful neck and long, backward-arching horns. Females and young are slimmer and chestnut-brown, with shorter horns.

Small herds of females and young, accompanied by a single bull, frequent moist savanna woodland, where they both browse and graze. Males defend the herd against predators, going down on their knees to strike sweeping blows with their horns. They are known to have killed lions.


165cm

Record horn length (male)

3 years

Age at which young male leaves natal herd

11

Range countries

50–60,000

Estimated population (IUCN, 2017)

The top camps for seeing sable antelope in Botswana

Based on 196 reports by our travellers since May 2018, visitors at these camps in Botswana have the best chances of sighting sable antelope.


Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Top 10 camps for sable antelope

% of travellers who saw sable antelope

Top 10 camps for sable antelope

% of travellers who saw sable antelope

Where to see sable in Africa

Sable range from south-eastern Kenya to northern South Africa. Always quick to retreat from disturbance, they are among more prized antelope sightings on safari.


Top tips for viewing sable

Sable are never easy to find. The largest populations occur in the miombo and mopane woodland belts of southern Tanzania, western Zambia and northern Zimbabwe and Botswana. Top spots include Nyerere National Park / Selous (Tanzania), Hwange and Matobos (Zimbabwe), Moremi (Botswana) and Liwonde (Malawi), while a small herd in Kenya’s Shimba Hills National Reserve also offer reliable viewing.

Like roan, their close cousins, sable seldom linger in the open, but their daily visits to water offer an opportunity to observe the herd, with youngsters shepherded carefully among the adults. Be content to watch from a distance, as the noise of vehicles will often send them retreating towards cover. Lone bulls may be confident enough to allow a closer approach.

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Our best Botswana holidays for sable antelope sightings

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


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Red Lechwe Safari

9 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Superb guiding from three fabulous camps full of character in three contrasting areas for a fabulous safari to the Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert.

US$10,800 - US$25,210 per person

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Great Egret Safari

12 days • 4 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

This wonderfully varied adventure combines Botswana's Okavango Delta and a live-aboard houseboat safari on the Chobe River, with big game in Zimbabwe's dry Hwange National Park and the stupendous Victoria Falls.

US$9,250 - US$17,160 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$6,190 - US$10,430 per person

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Wild Dog Safari

13 days • 5 locations
KASANE AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

An in-depth discovery of northern Botswana’s wilderness, from Chobe and the private Kwando Reserve to the Moremi and iconic Okavango Delta with a great variety of activities and wildlife.

US$12,230 - US$21,930 per person

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Reedbuck Safari

8 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Focussing on the Okavango Delta and combining the crème de la crème of Botswana’s camps – Zarafa, Vumbura Plains and Mombo – this is one of the finest safari experiences in Africa.

US$18,160 - US$36,280 per person

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Bushbuck Safari

8 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Discover three of Botswana’s best game-viewing regions with stays in the private Linyanti, Chitabe and Vumbura reserves. Intimate, smart camps offer a range of activities by which to discover these stunningly varied habitats.

US$13,570 - US$31,740 per person

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Pangolin Safari

8 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Three relaxed, local feeling camps in pristine settings – the Kwando Reserve and Okavango Delta. Guided by a driver and tracker at each, this a great trip for spotting Botswana’s top predators.

US$7,760 - US$16,190 per person

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Mopane Squirrel Safari

6 days • 2 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Visit two wildlife-rich private reserves in an exploration of the Okavango and Kwando regions. Sister camps Splash and Lagoon camp provide a range of immersive activities, and their long-stay discounts make for an excellent-value safari.

US$5,890 - US$11,770 per person

View all holidays to Botswana

More information about sable antelope in our other destinations

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


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