Klipspringer of the Sasakwa Hill

Grumeti · April 2020
By George David Tolchard
Head Guide

These beautiful small antelope species are resident here on Sasakwa Hill and are known in Swahili as “mbuzi mawe” which directly translates into “rock goat.”

They are a small, stocky antelope with a coarse coat that has almost a grizzled appearance. There are many individual colour variations in this species depending on location, however, they are more often than not a russet or yellowish colour on the flanks, neck and face, and grey on the legs, back and the haunches.

These dainty little antelope are very much at home on the rocky cliffs and outcrops of Sasakwa Hill. They move around on the steep terrain easily with their small rounded hoofs that have developed a rubbery consistency to aid in gripping the rocks as the antelope traverses the steep hill sides. When alarmed, the klipspringer can leap from boulder to boulder with incredible agility.

We have two sub-species here in Tanzania, a northern race and a southern race. Amazingly, with the northern race that we see here on the Grumeti, both the male and the female carry horns. With the klipspringers in the south however, only the males carry the horns. It is really quite incredible how the evolution in a single species under different ecological pressures may develop different traits.

The klipspringers can usually be found in monogamous pairs or in small family units. They defend small territories that are guarded by the pair, and the male can often be seen standing motionless, scanning the valleys for competition or potential danger.

By George David Tolchard
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