Antelopes of the shapes and sizes exist in Uganda in fairly large numbers. One most often associated with the country (often referred to as its ‘national antelope’) is the Uganda kob, a stocky, russet – colored animal about size of a water buck, to which it is related. Preferring moist, savannah – like habitats, the Uganda kob (also known as Thomas’s kob) can be easily seen in Lake Mburo, Murchision Falls, and Queen Elizabeth national park. In Queen Elizabeth, in particular, it is worth spending time at the kob mating ground, which is demarcated with signs, to observe some of the interesting habits of this animal.
Another, much smaller, antelope is endemic to Uganda: Bate’s pigmy antelope, weighing only tree kilos 9 seven 1bs). The smallest ungulate in East Africa, it inhabits the country’s western forests, but is rarely seen as it prefers thick cover and is very shy. Africa’s largest antelope, the eland, is also found in the country. The rare giant, or Land Derby’s eland – the male of which could weigh up to 900 kilos (2,000 1bs) -was once was found in Northern Uganda west of the Albert Nile, but it is doubtful that any remain.
The smaller common eland –weighing in at round 700 kilos (1,500 1bs), occurs in kidepo Valley National park in the south of the country .Both species feature long, spiraled horns and large dewlaps.
Kidepo Valley national park is also a home of two other beautiful, spiral – horned antelope, the greater kudu and the lesser kudu. Although, true to its name, the lesser kudu is about half the size of greater, both varieties having light brown coats and delicates white stripes down the sides of their bodies. Only the males have horns.
Two species of the awkward – looking hartebeest, with its long mournful face, exist in Uganda. Most common is Jackson’s hartebeest found Kidepo and Lake Mburo national parks. While the lewdly hartebeest occurs west of the Nile. The hartebeest’s darker cousin, the topi, is frequently seen in the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Any visitor is pretty sure to see the shaggy – looking water buck while on safari in Uganda, as it occurs trough out the country, often grazing near water the variety that occurs there is the defassa water buck which has a solid white rump. (Its relative, the common water buck, found further to the East, has a white ring on its rump.)
The handsome roan antelope is a red –dish- brown animal with short, back ward – curving horns and a small mane on the on the back of its neck. Although said to be present in Lake Mburo and Kidepo valley National parks, it must be few in number, as sightings are rare.
The rapier – horned, gregarious beisa Oryx, weighing over 200kilos (440 1bs), is a truly desert – adapted species that makes its home in Uganda in the drier parts of Kidepo Valley National Park.
Another species preferring the arid lands found in Kidepo is the delicate Grant’s gazelle, a light brown animal with lyre- shaped horns. Although herds can number up to 400, it is more common to see 20 to 400 of these gazelles grazing together on the plains.
Although quite common elsewhere in East Africa, the chestnut-colored Impala is found in Uganda only in Lake Mburo National park. Only the males have horns. Impala are tremendous jumpers, and it’s a fantastic sight to see a heard, white tails flashing, leaping over bushes and rocks, often seemingly just for the sheer joy of it.
More elusive is the bushbuck, common but shy antelope of the forest and rerine woodland. In Uganda, bushbuck can be found in most forest and national parks; it is particularly plentiful in Queen Elizabeth National park. The male bushbuck is handsome animal with dark chestnut coat flecked with white spots and stripes. The female is smaller and lighter colored and is often mistaken for a duiker, of which there are numerous species in Uganda. Most Ugandan duikers prefer forest as their habitat, but one, the grey duiker, is more often seen in woodland and savannah. The red Harvey’s, blue and yellow-backed duikers are wide spread in the country’s forests.
One of the more unusual antelope’s resident in Uganda is the situnga, found in many of the country’s papyrus swamps, where the animal’s greatly elongated hooves enable it to walk on floating vegetation. Its is very shy and hence difficult to see; when confronted, it dives under the water and hides, with only its nose showing.
The medium-sized, yellowish Bohor reedbuck, which prefers rank, medium-height grasslands as its home, may be found in Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth, Murchison falls national parks. Featuring small, crescent-shaped horns, it is often seen in pairs in open country near water.
Look for the smaller, 18-kilo (40-1b) Klipspringer prancing about on cliffs, rocky hillsides, and mountain screes. It is thought that the klipspringer mates for life; they are often seen in pairs.
Lake Mburo National park’s home to the straw-colored Oribi, readily Identified by a large black mark, a gland, below each ear. Very much a grassland animal, it lives in small herds