Hunting Nyala in Africa


This beautiful member of the spiral horned African Antelopes is native to South Africa’s Zululand.  Male nyala are closely related to the bushbuck family.  Male nyala are easily identifiable by their chocolaty gray color, their longish erectile mane that extends from the back of the head to the rump, by the narrow white vertical stripes that adorn their sides and by their reddish brown stocking feet.  Only the males carry the long white-tipped spiral horns.   Female nyala have yellow-brown coats with thin vertical stripes.

Hunting nyala in Africa occurs in South Africa and Mozambique.   Some nyala hunting also occurs on ranches where they have been introduces on Botswana and Namibia.  The nyala’s range has been greatly expanded by these game ranch introductions, and nyala may now be hunted on game ranches spread throughout South Africa.  Nyala populations have been greatly reduced in Zimbabwe and Malawi and are not currently hunted there.  Free-range hunting for nyala does exist in Mozambique and some areas of Kwazulu-Natal.    South Africa is believed to have more than 30,000 nyala.

Nyala are commonly found in dense woodlands cover.  They may venture into open plains areas during times when the grass is sprouting.  Nyala are mixed feeders and may be found both grazing and browsing.   Nyala tend to graze during the cool hours and may extend grazing into the night, and will typically rest during the heat of the day.  Nyala are fairly water dependent and usually drink daily.  Rams do not typically claim territories, but use elaborate dominance displays by raising back hair hackles and walking stiff-legged.  Nyala occur in small family groups without a dominate male.  Nyala are found in mixed groups, nursery groups with ewes and their young, bachelor groups and solitary animals.  Large gatherings of mixed animals are sometimes observed at waterholes.  Home ranges for common nyala are small and range from 100 acres to 1,000 acres.

Hunting nyala in Africa employs several methods.  Nyala may be ambushed when traveling to or from watering holes or feeding areas.  Nyala may also be hunted by slowly driving and scouting in a vehicle, and then transitioning to a stalk on foot once a suitable trophy is spotted.  The most popular method for hunting nyala in Africa is by slowly hunting on foot in areas that nyala are known to frequent.  A thorough glassing of areas should be performed before moving, as nyala are adept at remaining hidden in the shadows and may be difficult to spot. Nyala will move into openings in the early mornings and late afternoons to graze and sun themselves.

This makes early morning and late afternoon hunting the beast times to look for nyala.  Tracking nyala from waterholes is also an effective technique.  Like many animals, when pushed, nyala may stop and look back at their pursuers, thereby providing a shot opportunity for the hunter that is ready for this chance.