msafiri WILDLIFE 136 impala, for instance — also join up with baboons and other mammals, using accompanying oxpeckers and egrets for additional surveillance. Methods of avoiding detection and for escape when spotted are essential. Duiker, bushbuck and others inhabiting thick bush and dappled forests rely on camouflage and the ability to stand stock- still to avoid discovery. They prefer a silent, unseen retreat but if spotted will suddenly explode from concealment and dash for new cover during the confusion. Blue duikers dive into burrows and gemsbok and other big animals will, given the opportunity, back into thorny scrub and lower horns ready to repel an attack. With their greasy, water- repelling coats, sitatunga and Red lechwe happily take the plunge to evade pursuers. For plains game it's more a case of diligence and speed. Sentries keep watch and feeders periodically raise heads to check the outlook. When an alarm snort or whistle is given, the herd takes to its heels, either in a confusing array of directions or bunching together with the most vulnerable members up front or amid the mass. In flight, oribi scatter wildly, topi leap over each others' backs and the " Tommy" ( Thomson's ABOVE: To reduce heat build- up, the Damara dik-dik pumps blood through an elaborate network of nasal vessels top right: The bongo is an elusive, but impressive, sighting below: You just have to love the gerenuk, with its long neck to help it browse at a higher level gazelle) accelerates to about 80kph. The tsessebe, the swiftest hoofed animal, can sustain its fast, bouncing gait for long distances. One particularly interesting defence strategy is that of stotting or pronking. Springbok, oribi and blesbok are among those who stot — using a back-arched, bouncing gait or stiff- legged side- to- side spring. Impala pronk with up to 10- metre- long and 3- metre- high bounds. Grey rhebok run with a rocking horse motion; dik- diks bounce rhythmically and reedbuck kick backwards at the crest of each leap. Such actions tell the predator he has been spotted, while the sudden movements, flashing of contrasting tail and rump markings, and the emission of a sickly odour may all combine to cause the attack to be mistimed, misdirected or called off. With such ingenuity, variety and beauty on offer, it's time to learn the difference between lechwe and springbok, roan and eland, duiker and dik- dik, and place Africa's antelope firmly on your safari wish-list. And remember to ignore those who dismiss impala. They may be everywhere, but they are still disarmingly beguiling. One particularly interesting defence strategy is that of stotting or pronking.