Other Features


Most African antelope species like nothing more than grazing on the open savannah. But the sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekii) is an exception – it prefers the swamps. The sitatunga is one of a small number of aquatic antelopes (others include the red lechwe of Botswana's Okavango Delta and elsewhere in southern Africa, and Mrs Gray's lechwe in South Sudan).

A medium-sized, grey-brown antelope (males can weigh up to 120kg) that is sometimes confused with the bushbuck, the sitatunga has a shaggy coat that is suitably water resistant, splayed hoofs that enable it to move easily across muddy ground without sinking, and pointed toes that minimise noise as they wade through shallow water. Only the males have horns, the females have a gestation period of eight months and in the wild, sitatunga usually live until their mid-twenties. Kenya's population of sitatunga (which is found only in Saiwa Swamp National Park) is at the eastern limits of the species' range, which extends across central Africa. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates an Africa-wide population of 170,000, although the actual number is thought to be closer to 150,000.