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Sable antelope
Asset 15

Sable antelope

Where to see Sable antelope in Malawi

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 Malawi

Based on 11 reports by our travellers since Jul 2018, visitors at these camps in Malawi 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 Selous (Tanzania), Hwange and Matopos (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 Malawi holidays for sable antelope sightings

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


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Utaka Cichlid Safari

10 days • 3 locations
BLANTYRE AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Explore two of Malawi's safari parks - Majete Wildlife Reserve and Liwonde National Park - before finishing your trip with some beach time relaxing, snorkelling and sailing in Lake Malawi National Park.

US$3,730 - US$4,240 per person

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Orange Cap Cichlid Safari

7 days • 2 locations
LILONGWE AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Combine a safari in the lush and resurgent Liwonde National Park with down time at an island eco-retreat in the middle of Lake Malawi. A great way to explore Malawi.

US$3,860 - US$4,360 per person

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Red Zebra Cichlid Safari

7 days • 2 locations
BLANTYRE AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Explore two of Malawi's highlights with a safari in rugged, remote Majete Wildlife Reserve before some beach time relaxing, snorkelling and sailing in Lake Malawi National Park.

US$3,350 - US$4,200 per person

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Hyena Safari

11 days • 4 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Mix relaxation and adventure on a safari combining the South Luangwa with Victoria Falls and the beaches of Lake Malawi. These three locations are among the most iconic in southern Africa.

US$6,580 - US$8,420 per person

View all holidays to Malawi

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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