Nyala Hunting in South Africa

Nyala hunting is a must for any aspiring hunter going to Africa. The Nyala is a very sought-after trophy and one of the most beautiful African antelopes to hunt. No seasonal restrictions exist for nyala in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. We offer trophy nyala hunting in South Africa year-round.

Shot placement should be on the bottom third of the shoulder for nyala hunting.
Shot placement for Nyala.

Table of Contents

  1. Nyala Hunting Cost
  2. Interesting facts
  3. Difference between male and female
  4. About the Nyala
  5. Hunting in South Africa
  6. Trophy Judgement and Rifle Calibre
Nyala Hunting South Africa | Nick Bowker Hunting
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Nyala Hunting Cost

The average cost of a Nyala is $2000. African hunting safari packages often include a Nyala Trophy.

All-Inclusive $5500 Starter Plains Game Package for seven trophies and eight days hunting. (Inclusive of a Nyala Trophy)

Included in the Nyala trophy hunting package is a licensed hunting guide. As well as a hunting license and all permits.

Nyala hunting in South Africa
African Nyala hunt in 2023.
Trophy shot in the Eastern cape South Africa with Nick Bowker Hunting

The Nyala in Pictures

Nyala male and females drinking.
Nyala names in African languages.
Nyala development over time.
Nyala diet is varied.
Distribution in South Africa.
Nyala live in dense brush.
Shot placement for hunting nyala.
Predators of the nyala include wild dog.
Calf and cow
Nyala hunting in South Africa.

Interesting facts for Nyala Hunting

Nyala trophy
  • Nyala is the most sexually dimorphic antelope in the world. And not only does the male look wholly different, but he weighs twice as much as the female.
  • The nyala is a true grazer and browser. Their diet has helped them become widespread across Africa.
  • Nyala also strips the bark off trees.
  • Nyala is not very fast or strong. Inhabiting deep in woodland or forest, their defense against predators is their camouflage.
  • Nyala has a special bond with monkeys and baboons. The antelope eat all the fruit that their primate friends drop.
  • Also, they can react to any alarm call made by the primates and other antelope.
  • Nyala has exceptional hearing and smell and will give off a striking alarm call; a sharp, high-pitched sound is almost like a dog bark.
Trophy taken with Nick Bowker Hunting
Trophy with tracker and Nick Bowker present.
  • Most of Africa’s mammals have a clearly defined social structure, such as impala.
  • Nyala is the nomad of the antelope world. They live in loose groups of four to eight animals.
  • All these groups are temporary. Nyala join other nyala leave.
  • Battles between bulls are dramatic and brutal. Bulls keep fighting until one backs down. Upon defeat, a bull will turn away and wag his tail in a show of submission.
  • The victorious bull uses bizarre stuttering movements and will slowly dance with a group of females, raising its head to show off its white underfur.
  • The evolutionary line of the Nyala has remained separate for five million years and makes them one of the oldest antelopes.
  • Nyala should be considered by any hunter on a trip to Africa and makes for a great hunting experience and a wonderful addition to the trophy room.
Nyala hunted in 2023.

Difference between a male and female

Male Nyala has horns and is much larger than females and has a facial chevron, which females do not have. A nyala male is darker in color with a grey coat with far fewer white stripes, which are also less prominent.

Nyala male grazing in the early morning. Males have horns while females do not.
Male or bull Nyala feeding in the early morning
Females and a male drinking at a waterhole
Nyala females and a mature bull drinking at a waterhole

About the Nyala

Description of Nyala

Good quality Nyala trophy

The Nyala is mainly active in the early morning and late evening at all times of the year. A shy animal, preferring thick cover and will only be seen in open spaces in the early morning or just before sundown.

The Nyala shows no signs of territoriality, and individuals’ areas can overlap.

They are very cautious creatures. Old males tend to live alone, but single-sex or family groups of up to 12 individuals can be found together.

These inhabit thickets within dense and dry savanna woodlands.

The Nyala is a spiral-horned antelope and is between a bushbuck and a kudu in size. 

The male stands up to 47 inches; the female is up to 35 inches tall. Males weigh 180 – 220 pounds, while females weigh 120–150 pounds. The life expectancy of the Nyala is about 19 years.

The coat of females and juveniles is rufous-brown. However, it grows a dark brown or slate gray in adult males, often with a bluish tinge.

Young males and females have at least ten or more white vertical stripes on their sides. Other markings are visible on the face, throat, flanks, and thighs.

Stripes are significantly reduced or absent in older males. But both sexes have a dorsal crest of hair running right from the back of the head to the end of the tail.

Males have an imposing long “beard” along the midline of their chest and belly.

African Nyala rifle hunt in 2023.

Information for Nyala hunting

Trophy taken in South Africa

Males begin to lose their stripes as they start to mature. This is because juvenile males disguise themselves as females avoiding any jealous behavior from adult males.

Nyala antelopes have small hooves for their body size. As they walk, the hind feet step into the position where the front feet have just been—known as registering and reducing the amount of noise made with each step.

The bases of the back of a nyala’s ears are white, as is the underside of the fluffy tail, which is raised when the animal takes fright.

The fluffy tail acts as a ‘follow me’ symbol to the following young.

The whitetail’s flash also provides a stark target to a predator, but as soon as the Nyala stops, the tail is dropped, and the predator’s focus is lost.

The disruptive camouflage markings then come into play, further concealing the Nyala from the predator’s view so long as it remains still.

The same is true of the nyala pursuit, where much patience is required.

The thicket habitat of the Nyala provides an ideal cover for the calves when they are born.

In the first two to three weeks of their lives, they remain hidden to allow them to build up their strength before moving around with the adults.

The mother visits her calf for feeding and grooming. If it becomes threatened, the calf instinctively flattens itself onto the ground. Due to its lack of scent at such a young age, it can easily avoid predators’ attention this way.

Nyala african hunting with Nick Bowker.

Nyala Hunting in South Africa

Vital organs showing the position of the heart and lungs. Horns should be approximately 24 - 26 inches
Vital organs of the Nyala

Shot placement must be in the bottom third of the animal directly above the front shoulder. This will ensure a heart or lung shot. Avoid head and neck shots which are high-risk.

Trophy shot in South Africa

Your Nyala trophy should have an average shoulder height of around 43 inches, weigh about 200 pounds, and have a Horn Length of approximately 24 – 26 inches.

The Safari Club International minimum score for a nyala is 56.25.

The trophy is measured by adding the length of each horn and the circumference of the bases.

Nyala and the sable are considered by many to be the most beautiful African antelope.

Africa nyala hunting with Nick Bowker.
Trophy showing the magnificent orange legs.

A top sought-after trophy. Nyala will be hunted in a thick bush. As a result, many Nyala bulls are shot in the last 20 minutes of light.

A mature Nyala bull stepping out from the thick bush into a small opening and giving you your shot after hours of glassing is exciting and will be a lasting memory for any Nyala hunter.

When wounded, Nyala often has little or no blood trail because of their thick coat, which absorbs the blood.

Therefore, an excellent first shot is of vital importance.

Africa nyala hunting with Nick Bowker.

Trophy Judgement and Rifle Caliber

African nyala hunting with Nick Bowker.

Hunting nyala safari-style calls for quality expanding bullets. The various 30 calibers would be an excellent choice to anchor your Nyala. Also, we would once again recommend the flat shooting 7mm.

For those hunters who do not wish to go through the red tape of bringing a rifle into South Africa, Nick Bowker has Sako 300 Magnums fitted with suppressors.

Mounted on the rifle is a Swarovski Z8 tactical scope. We have hand-loaded Hornady ELD-X ammunition.

The rifle, including ammunition, is available as part of all hunting packages free of charge.

A Nyala trophy hunt is spotted in the thick brush from an elevated vantage point and then stalked in the early mornings and late evenings. Nyala is tough to find on overcast days.

Trophy taken in the Eastern Cape South Africa.
South African nyala safari hunt with Nick Bowker.

Alternatively,  hunters use ambush techniques at watering holes or as they move back to cover from feeding.

As with most African animals, shot placement should always be in the bottom third of the shoulder. A good shot is important to start with.

While most nyala hunts occur behind high fences in the Eastern Cape, Nick Bowker has access to several free-range herds in the Bedford area.

The Nyala forms part of the Spiral Horned family and is undoubtedly the most beautiful, consisting of Kudu, Nyala, Bushbuck, and Eland.

Like most spiral horn trophies, a nyala must have solid bases that go outwards. The tips must be pointing straight up or flaring outwards. It is a must for those hunters interested in collecting the spiral horn family.

The male has a wide chevron mark between the eyes, a white-tipped mane, and iconic orange “socks.” Resulting in a magnificent antelope.

African Nyala hunting.
Discount african nyala hunt safari with Nick bowker.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to hunt a Nyala?

nyala trophy hunting south africa B

The trophy fee as a standalone Nyala hunt is between $2,000 – $2,500. Daily rates vary between $250 and $500 per day.

Included in the Nyala trophy fee is a licensed guide. As well as a hunting license and all permits.

A Nyala trophy is often included in a plains game package. Package prices vary from $ 3,000 to $10,000, depending on location and trophies. Packages include 5 – 7 trophy animals, accommodation, meals, and daily rates.

How to hunt a Nyala?

Africa Nyala hunt with Nick Bowker

Nyala hunting is in the early mornings and late evenings and spotted from an elevated vantage point in the thick brush and then stalked. Alternatively,  hunters use ambush techniques at watering holes or as they move back to cover from feeding. Nyala is tough to find on overcast days.

Where do you shoot a Nyala?

Nyala harvested in 2023.

Shot placement must be in the bottom third of the animal directly above the front shoulder. This will ensure a heart or lung shot. Avoid head and neck shots, which are high-risk.

What is a trophy, Nyala?

African Nyala hunt in 2023.

Nyala trophies have a Horn Length of approximately 24 – 26 inches. The minimum qualification score under Safari Club International for a Nyala is 56. Add the length of each horn and the circumference of the bases to get your SCI score.

How do you judge a Nyala trophy?

African Nyala hunt.

The tips must be pointing straight up or flaring outwards. Like most spiral horn trophies, a nyala must have solid bases that go outwards.

African Nyala hunt.
African Nyala hunt 2023.

Seasonal Restrictions

When can you hunt Nyala in South Africa?

African Nyala hunt in 2023.

There are no seasonal restrictions on nyala in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Nyala harvested in 2023.


Smithers RHN – The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion

South Africa – Nyala defense mechanisms