Red Hartebeest

When Tamara and I were on the Eastern Cape in South Africa last September, I photographed quite a few Red Hartebeest.

By and large they were pretty cool and undisturbed. I shot this with a pretty long lens, but still we saw hartebeest that stayed closer than other animals when we encountered them.

Although they may not look it, Red hartebeest are antelopes. That is, they are even-toed ungulates, which is one of the characteristics that indicate they are antelopes, and within the Bovidae family. That puts them in the same family along with sheep, goats and cattle.

We never got over how very alien they look with their long, long faces. Quite the most unusual animal we saw.

I posted a photo back in January of an adult with its young. The young animal is just crazy lovely.


  1. Joan E. Miller says:

    I was not familiar with this species, but it is gorgeous. I can imagine they were prized for their horns. I wonder if the native people made masks imitating their faces.


    1. Nor were we familiar with it. It’s quite an animal, isn’t it. As you say – gorgeous. And about the masks – when we were at the last place we stayed (miles and miles from anywhere, in the middle of the bush) they had masks on the walls and it was clear that they were derived from animals we were saying. So yes.


  2. Sorry, suppose I really shouldn’t be laughing, but the first thing that popped into my head was (the serious thought) “Hmm, why the long face?” and then – after actually ‘hearing’ myself think that -then came the laughter because it does look sad with that (extraordinarily!) long face, doesn’t it?


    1. Yes, that (extraordinarily!) long face is very strange to my eyes. And there are plenty of strange-looking creatures in this wonderful world. But this one gets me. My first thought was that they look alien. The question is, why the departure from the norm? What advantage does that long, long face give them? It’s a mystery to me.


      1. Yes, I’ve been mulling about that ever since as well… Most likely being something to do with breathing while running away from predators, yes?


        1. Good thought – and you have reminded me that hartebeest can run and run and run, and outrun most predators as long as they get a head start. I suppose the longer nasal tubes allows the breath to warm up before it hits the lungs – good for those cold early morning chases, perhaps.


        2. Aye, air ‘conditioning’, lol


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