Nyala are one of the most highly prized of all the southern African game species. Nyala hunting may involve a quick shot at short range as this antelope is extremely alert and cautious. This magnificent antelope is often referred to as the 'shifty one' and can be a real challenge to hunt just like the kudu and other the spiral-horned antelope.
Nyala Trophy Minimums
Tragelaphus angasii (Nyala)
RW Measurement Method
SCI Measurement Method
Where To Hunt Nyala
Nyala are native to eastern South Africa (specifically KZN or Zululand), Mozambique, southern Zimbabwe and Malawi. These days they can also be found on game farms throughout the rest of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Texas. If an nyala is one of your priority animals to hunt, without a doubt the best nyala populations, trophies and prices are to be found in KwaZulu Natal.
Nyala Hunting Prices
Nyala are usually considered as a special trophy animal on regular plains game hunts in South Africa. They can be hunted on a straight daily rate + trophy fee hunt basis or in a variety of set hunt packages. Things to look out when looking to book an nyala hunt may include...
Short, possibly 3-5 hunting days, nyala-only hunts usually offered in KZN where not-so-shifty nyala thrive in great numbers, in some places even out-numbering impala. These hunts are normally priced for a certain range of horn length, which if exceeded, incur an additional fee.
Nyala may be built into a plains game 'combo' package as a option that may be swapped for another commensurately priced animal.
If you definitely want to hunt nyala and thinking of doing a 'build-your-own' type package, double check whether an nyala is actually included in the package. It may appear in the full trophy list but not in fact be eligible for the package trophy fee discount.
On non-package hunts, nyala prices vary considerable, often getting higher the further you get away from their true home range of KZN, in South Africa. This reflects the costs and risks of stocking nyala in areas which may not completely suit this antelope. It does not mean you will get a better or bigger trophy for your money. As with many other higher dollar species, nyala are often priced on a sliding scale based on horn length. If you don't like this way of hunting, there are still plenty of outfitters who don't work this system.
In Mozambique offers some fantastic free-range nyala hunting. However, hunters are usually going to be hunting nyala secondarily to their desired dangerous game species in Mozambique. If you definitely want to hunt nyala there you must check the outfitter has quota available and pay the set non-refundable licence fee beforehand.
Nyala Hunting Methods
The most common way to hunt this species is to slowly and quietly stalk the likely habitat and look for movement, or occasionally the entire animal.
In typical Zululand hill country, take your time to carefully glass the slopes for nyala moving into the open between clumps of bush cover.
Alternatively still-hunting for them can be very successful, particularly in the early mornings as they come out of cover to warm up.
The average shooting distance will be between 50 to 150 yards. Don't forget the nyala has long hanging hair, so take this into account and don't aim too low.
A Good Nyala Trophy
Horn length - long lyre-shaped horns with thick, heavy bases and out-turning, ivory tips will make a good trophy. An older animal may have bald spots on the neck and somewhat smoother, worn horns. 28" upwards will be an exceptional nyala trophy.
Nyala prefer dense lowland woodlands and thickets areas that are close to a water source and good quality grass.
Nyala Social Structure
Nyala are very shy, and are very cautious when approaching open spaces. Usually nyala are seen at water holes. They are most active during the early morning and late afternoon, resting in thick brush during the hottest times of the day.
The alarm call is a sharp, dog-like bark. They are frequently seen in single sex and mixed groups of 2-10 individuals with a dominant bull. Old bulls are usually solitary.
Nyala Gestation Period
After a gestation period of around 7 months, one offspring is born.
Nyala Gender Identification
Nyala males are larger than the hornless females, and have a shaggy dark brown to charcoal grey coat, often with a bluish tinge. There are several vertical white stripes on the flanks that tend to fade with age. White markings are visible on the rump and face. The lower legs are a yellow/orange in colour. Females are a reddish brown in colour also with white stripes on the flanks.
Click images to enlarge
Nyala Trophy Permits (2015)
Tragelaphus angasii (Nyala)
Nyala Trophy Taxidermy
If your budget can stretch to it, an nyala is one of those specially handsome antelope that simply demand a full mount display. If a full mount is not possible, of course nyala make great pedestal or shoulder mounts.
Don't forget to tell your taxidermist not to blacken and polish the horns, if you want the horns to look natural.
George French Angas (1822 - 1886) was an English explorer, naturalist and artist who first described and illustrated the nyala in 1849 on a trip to South Africa. The antelope which previously unknown to European zoologists, was named Tragelaphus angasii or Angas Antelope in his honour by John Edward Gray, the then Keeper of Zoology at the British Museum.
The word 'nyala' was first used in 1899 and is the Venda (language of the Transvaal and Zimbabwe) name for this antelope, which becomes 'inyala' in Zulu.
Nyala Hunting Recommended Reading
Search For The Spiral Horn by Craig Boddington (2002) who is one of the few hunters who has successfully hunted each of the major varieties and most of the subspecies of the nine spiral-horned antelope of Africa.
Spiral Horn Dreams by Terry Wieland (1995) is about a subject that arouses as much excitement and emotion as any big game. Kudu, bongo, Lord Derby eland, sitatunga, mountain nyala and bushbuck. These animals cause any big game hunter both pain and joy - sometimes simultaneously. If you're not 'mad keen' about hunting these animals before reading this book, you will be afterwards.
Nyala HuntingRecommended Viewing
Zululand Safari DVD. Nyala are the most beautiful and highly prized of all the South African species of big game. Three hunters each stalk and shoot a magnificent nyala. In addition, you will experience the on-camera hunting of the red duiker plus blue wildebeest, bushpig, southern reedbuck, southern impala and warthog. 60 mins.
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