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