Damaliscus pygargus pygarus - The Bontebok

The Bontebok was once considered to be the rarest antelope in the world but careful conservation has ensured its survival. Today the Bontebok is only found in protected areas in South Africa.

Did you know? Bontebok is found nowhere else in the world, being endemic to South Africa’s Cape fynbos.

The hair is soft and has a iridescent sheen. The body color is a deep purple-red with a white blaze on the face and a white tail. The horns are well developed in both sexes and are angular and ringed (up to 18 inches).


Bontebok stand 80 to 100 cm high at the shoulder.
120 to 210 cm (47 to 83 in) along the head and body.


50 to 150 kgs.


Bontebok prefer short grass plains in fynbos areas.


Once considered to be the rarest antelope in the world but careful conservation has ensured its survival. Bontebok are now only found in protected areas in South Africa. To see this antelope, visit the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga.

In the Western Cape, they can be found in the Bontebok National Park in Swellendam and Table Mountain National Park (in Cape Town and the area surrounding the city).

Diet - Herbivores

Grazers, Bontebok feed on short grasses.


Males have small territories, possibly occupied for life. Females wander the territories in groups of +/- 3. Also found in large herds containing young animals of both sexes.


Females become sexually mature at about 2 years of age. Males compete for females through postural displays and ritualistic sparring with the horns.


7 months

Life Expectancy

17 years


  • Caracals
  • Jackals
  • Lions

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Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

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Where to see Bontebok in their natural habitat?

Want to see bontebok in their natural habitat? In 1930, it was estimated that fewer than 30 Bontebok remained. To correct this, the 2,786 ha Bontebok Park was established and today it provides sanctuary for hundreds of bontebok as well as other antelope species.

Conservation Status
South Africa's Big 5
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