About the Nyala
Nyala can be found all through southeast Africa in Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland (eSwatini), Zambia and Zimbabwe, but they have also been introduced into Botswana and Namibia.
Just like the Kudu, Bushbuck and Eland, the Nyala belongs to the spiral horned family of African antelopes.
Their main predators include lions, leopards and the cape hunting dog (AKA the African wild dog). Their biggest threats however, are habitat loss and poaching.
The nyala’s population is listed as ‘Of least concern’ by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They currently have a stable population. The species went extinct in Swaziland (eSwatini) by the 1950s but has now been successfully reintroduced into the country.
It is estimated that South Africa alone has at least 30,000 nyala with one population in KwaZulu-Natal being over 25,000 strong.
Due to trophy hunting by international hunters, nyala have seen an artificial dispersion by Game reserves, protected areas and private concessions which are outside their normal distribution areas particularly in Botswana and Namibia. This has seen a growth in the population that would not be seen otherwise.
Nyala are considered a medium sized antelope, they are quite slender with males weighing in at around 98–125 kg (216–276 lb) and standing at about 110cms (43 in) tall. Females are considerably smaller weighing around 55–68 kg (121–150 lb) and standing at up to 90 cm (3.0 ft) tall.
Males have horns that form a bell shape with white tips pointing straight up or flaring outward. They have a chevron mark between the eyes, long brown fur around neck, stomach and back legs, orange-yellow socks on its lower legs and a white tipped mane.
As mentioned, females are significantly smaller but they are also a completely different colour and do not grow horns. Females and young are orange in colour, they also have the distinct white stripes along their bodies but lack the presence of the chevron mark between the eyes.
Nyala are mainly active early morning and late afternoon, by nature they are a very cautious, non-territorial animal. They will usually congregate in smaller groups under 10 individuals which are usually based on their sex but you can sometimes find them in mixed groups. Males are often quite solitary but can form small bachelor groups.
Sexual Maturity in males is around 18 months but only about a year old for females. They have a gestational period of 7 months and will give birth to a single calf. Mating season is between April-May and also August-September.
During the heat of the day, nyala will rest in thick bush, it is common to find them around a water source if they come out of that brush during the day.
Nyala need sufficient fresh water and prefer small watering holes or creeks to open spaces. They will spend a lot of time in thickets within thick, dry savanna woodlands.
Nyala can be hunted in Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland (eSwatini), Zambia. The hunting season for them is year round but the drier the conditions the better as it will be easier to predict where they will be.
Something to note with the nyala is you may want to shoot a little further up than you might think. The fur at the bottom of the belly give you a false sense of how low the torso hangs and where the vital organs are placed.
As for a calibre to hunt them with, it is recommended that you use a .270 or larger if hunting with a gun. Nyala are a similar size to a North American white-tailed deer or a chital deer (axis deer).
When bowhunting Nyala you will need a minimum draw weight of 50lbs and minimum arrow weight of 400 grains. Your shots should be around 15-30 yards for spot and stalk hunting and around 20-25 yards if you want to hunt from a blind.