Blue Wildebeest and Red Hartebeest

Blue Wildebeest

And moving right along from the “boks,” we come to the “beests.” In the Kalahari, we saw blue wildebeest and red hartebeest. These too are antelopes, although the blue wildebeest (above) looks awfully cow-like to me.

You can tell them apart because the blue wildebeest (also known as the gnu) has a bluish tinge, and its horns are shaped like parentheses (once an editor …). The red hartebeest has a reddish tinge, and its horns are shaped like backwards question marks (… always an editor). The red hartebeest is smaller than a gemsbok, but larger than the springbok, while the blue wildebeest is the largest of them all.

Red Hartebeest

Often we came across a solitary blue wildebeest with a herd of gemsbok, but usually the wildebeest live together in herds. Their range is throughout southern and eastern Africa.

Gemsbok and Blue Wildebeest

Standing about a metre and a half at the shoulder, the wildebeest runs at speeds up to 80 kilometres per hour. It can survive in the Kalahari because it gets enough water from eating melons, roots, and tubers.

We saw a lot of wildebeest calves as well.

Blue Wildebeest Calf

And hartebeest calves.

Red Hartebeest Calf

The red hartebeest is found mostly in southwestern Africa, and it too can get all the water it needs from eating melons and tubers.

Herd of Red Hartebeest

It has excellent hearing and sense of smell, but poor eyesight. To get away from its predators, the red hartebeest runs in a zigzag pattern as fast as 55 kilometres per hour.

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