The Sable {Hippotragus Niger}

South Africa Wildlife

The Sable {Hippotragus Niger}

The Sable
The Sable

The Sable is a rotund, barrel chested antelope with a short neck and a long face. It resembles the larger roan antelope, to which it is closely related. Among its distinctive features are its long horns, some 40 to 65 inches long.

The ringed horns rise vertically, then sweep backwards in a pronounced curve. They are found in both sexes, but the male's horns are slightly larger and heavier than the female's. Both males and females have manes on the neck, and when they arch their necks and stand with their head held high and tails outstretched, they resemble horses. This flexed-neck position makes sables appear larger than they really are. The males maintain this position even when they gallop, as the arched neck is an important manifestation of dominance.

Quick Facts


Size: Sable stand about 45 to 55 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 400 - 500 pounds

Diet: Herbivorous, Sables mostly eat grass but at times will eat herbs and leaves from shrubs and trees. They are never found very far from water and are especially dependent upon it during the dry season.

The Sable
The Sable
Habitat: Light woodland. Sables live in areas of light woodland, especially in a mixture of bush and grassland, but usually avoid open, grassy plains.

Socialisation: Only a few of the most dominant of the mature males are able to obtain and hold territories. They try to set them up on the best grazing grounds because the more nutritious the feed, the more females are attracted to the area. The changing colour of sables as they grow older signals their age to others, thereby granting them status and dominance in their social system.

Reproduction: Single young born any time of the year.
Gestation: Gestation is about 9 months.

Did you know?


Sable live in groups consisting of herds of females with their young, male bachelor groups and solitary dominant males. Age determines rank in the hierarchy.

View Wildlife Menu
South African Lodges are located within private game reserves, national parks and nature reserves. Accommodation offered at South African Lodges ranges from rustic to 5-star luxury; from self catering bush camps to fully catered lodges, with packages including daily game activities, day and night game drives, bush walks, horse-back safaris and other eco-activities.
Sable Facts and Photographs
South AfricaSouth Africa