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Antelope are more than just big cat fodder. The sheer variety of shape, size and behaviour among these horned herbivores makes them one of Africa's true wildlife highlights. And, with at least 23 species on display, there is nowhere better than Zambia to sort out your eland from your oribi. Every species is adapted to a different habitat, so each corner of the country has its specials. Indeed, certain subspecies - including Cookson's wildebeest and Kafue lechwe - are found nowhere else on earth. Here are ten to look out for. Vakacha Around Zambia · self- drive itineraries · safari news · travel latest · a helping hand · bookshelf Around Zambia: Hotspots for hooves 40 Travel Zambia May 2009 2 Roan antelope, Kafue National Park The horse- like roan is Africa's second largest antelope, standing over 140cm at the shoulder. It is closely related to the sable, but is larger and paler, with shorter horns and distinctive tasselled ears. Roan are grazers, preferring tall grasses. Look out for small herds among the miombo woodlands of Kafue, where they venture out onto the Busanga Plains during the dry season. The Nyika Plateau in the east is another good spot. 3 Sable antelope, Sioma Ngwezi National Park A bull sable is an impressive antelope that can weigh over 260kg and has been known to kill a lion with its formidable, curved horns. The black upperparts contrast boldly with the white belly and striped face. Females are smaller, browner and have shorter horns. Small herds of sable browse and graze in woodland, avoiding open areas except when coming to drink. They are patchily distributed across Zambia, but uncommon and shy. Look out for them in Kafue and along the southwestern Zambezi. 4 Bushbuck, Livingstone This is a largely solitary antelope that likes cover, especially riverine thickets, where its rich chestnut coat and delicate white markings provide good camoufl age. Males, if threatened, defend themselves courageously with their short, sharp horns. Bushbuck are browsers, but also forage beneath trees for fruit and pods. They are common in suitable habitat across Zambia and often quite confi ding around lodges. Look out for them at Victoria Falls. 5 Common waterbuck, Lower Zambezi National Park This large, shaggy antelope has a striking white ring around its backside, as though left by a freshly painted toilet seat, and impressive horns in the male. It inhabits fl oodplains and open woodland, always near water. Lions are alleged to fi nd waterbuck unpalatable, and their bedding places carry a distinctive musky scent. Common waterbuck are abundant in the Luangwa and Zambezi valleys, but in Kafue are replaced by the defassa waterbuck, distinguished by its plain white rump. 1 Blue wildebeest, Liuwa Plain National Park The blue wildebeest is best known for its spectacular treks across Tanzania's Serengeti, yet Zambia's Liuwa Plain also boasts impressive gatherings ( see p30). From a distance, this antelope resembles a lightweight buffalo, with its dark coat and short, cow- like horns. It generally lives in herds of up to 30, but will migrate in thousands. Blue wildebeest inhabit open areas of western Zambia. A separate paler race, Cookson's wildebeest, is endemic to the Luangwa Valley. MIKE UNWINMIKE UNWINSTEPHEN CUNLIFFEMIKE UNWINROBIN POPE SAFARIS 12 4 3 Liuwa Plain NP Sioma Ngwezi NP West Lunga NP Kafue NP Mwinilunga Solwezi Limulunga Mongu Kaoma Livingstone Kazungula Victoria Falls Zambezi River Kafue River

0100200 miles 0100200300 km N TZ People Vakacha Habitat Habitat Nkani Nkani May 2009 Travel Zambia 41 9 Black Lechwe, Bangweulu Swamps Lechwe are related to waterbuck, and can be identifi ed by their high- rumped profi le and the male's sweeping horns. Three races occur in Zambia, of which the black lechwe is darkest in colour and endemic to the Bangweulu region. Herds graze on fl ooded grasslands, where their long hooves and powerful hindquarters enable them to plough through shallow water to escape predators. Territorial males display vigorously as they compete for females. 6 Impala, Luangwa Valley This abundant antelope owes its success to its versatile diet, being both a browser and a grazer, and its habit of lambing en masse at the start of summer, which gluts the market with young and ensures a high survival rate. Rams are aggressively territorial during the rut. At other times they gather in bachelor groups, while females and young form larger mixed herds. Impala occur in open woodland habitat across much of Zambia. 8 Eland, Nyika Plateau A male eland is twice as big as any other antelope, weighing up to 900kg. With his massive frame and prominent dewlap he resembles a prize bull. Females are much smaller. Both sexes have straight horns with a single twist. Despite their great size, eland can jump a two- metre fence with ease. They are relatively widespread across Zambia, though nowhere common and always shy. Nyika is a prime location, with herds of up to 60 often seen trekking across the empty skyline. 7 Puku, Luangwa Valley Puku are abundant along the fl oodplains of the Luangwa and Kafue, where small groups can be seen grazing - usually close to the water. They are stockier than the superfi cially similar impala, with a golden tinge to their unmarked coat. Only males have horns, and they use their powerful neck muscles in fi erce contests of pushing and butting. Listen out for their sharp alarm whistle - a sure sign of approaching predators. 10 Sitatunga, Kasanka National Park The sitatunga, like the bushbuck, belongs to the ' spiral- horn' tribe of antelope. It lives primarily in papyrus swamps, browsing on aquatic vegetation. Its uniquely long, splayed hooves allow it to move easily over swampy terrain, and it will hide from predators by submerging itself with only nostrils protruding. Sitatungas are found in pockets of suitable habitat across Zambia. They are generally tricky to fi nd, but the Fibwe hide in Kasanka offers excellent and reliable sightings. MIKE UNWIN ROBIN POPE SAFARISMIKE UNWINMIKE UNWIN ZNTB 5 6 7 8 9 10 Lower Zambezi NP Kasanka NP South Luangwa NP North Luangwa NP Luambe NP Sumbu NP Lusenga NP Lukusuzi NP Blue Lagoon NP Lochinvar NP LUSAKA Kitwe Ndola Chipata Isoka Kasama Mpulungu Chirundu Kapiri Mposhi Mkushi Mfuwe Mpika L. Tanganyika L. Bangweulu L. Mweru L. MweruWantipa L. Kariba Zambezi River Luangwa River