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Sable antelope
Asset 15

Sable antelope

Where to see Sable antelope in Zambia

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 Zambia

Based on 17 reports by our travellers since Jul 2018, visitors at these camps in Zambia 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 Zambia holidays for sable antelope sightings

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


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Purple Roller Safari

8 days • 2 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Explore the varied habitats and terrain of Kafue National Park with stays in two wonderfully remote bushcamps. Two sister-camps offer access to the park’s centre as well as the wildlife-rich Busanga Plains.

US$7,800 - US$7,800 per person

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Defassa Waterbuck Safari

9 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Stay in three intimate, owner-run camps during this exploration of Kafue National Park. Remote locations, true wilderness and a range of activities make for a real adventure off the beaten track.

US$7,480 - US$7,500 per person

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Hippo Safari

9 days • 4 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LIVINGSTONE AIRPORT

Combining excellent game with aspects of remoter safari in South Luangwa, as well as the cultural delights of Livingstone, this trip also makes use of long-stay discounts, making it an excellent-value and well-rounded adventure.

US$7,480 - US$8,580 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

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Perekani Walking Trail

10 days • 5 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Five smart but rustic bushcamps are the comfortable staging-posts for this walking safari in South Luangwa. The route offers outstanding seclusion and rich wildlife with top-quality guiding throughout.

US$8,730 - US$10,090 per person

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Scrub Hare Safari

7 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Camps run by welcoming owners with a passion for their environment are rare, and Tafika is one of the best. Combine this with walking safaris at equally excellent bushcamps for the best South Luangwa offers.

US$5,500 - US$6,270 per person

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Fruit Bat Safari

6 days • 2 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Offering a highly specialised experienced, this safari uses two simple bases for access to South Luangwa and Kasanka National Parks. Visit between October and December when you will witness the world’s largest mammalian migration of millions of fruit bats.

US$4,520 - US$4,780 per person

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Nile Monitor Safari

6 days • 2 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Great-value South Luangwa safari to two sister-camps: a classic safari camp for 4WD safaris by day and night and its simpler sibling: a remote, seasonal bushcamp for expert-guided walking safaris.

US$3,740 - US$4,050 per person

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Crawshay's Zebra Safari

10 days • 4 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

This superb safari combines two of Zambia’s best national parks, the South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi. The camps are small and high quality with excellent safari guides.

US$8,340 - US$11,530 per person

View all holidays to Zambia

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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