Nyala Hunting

Nyala hunting is a must for any aspiring hunter going to Africa. The nyala is a very sort after trophy and one of the most beautiful African antelope to hunt.

Shot placement should be on the bottom third of the shoulder for nyala hunting.
Shot placement for Nyala hunting in Africa
How to hunt Nyala, and how much does it cost?

Hunting is done by setting up ambushes and walk and stalk techniques. A nyala will cost around $2000. An all-inclusive package with a nyala and six other trophies, including a kudu, will cost $5500. Packages include all accommodation and meals.
Nyala trophy shot just before last light in thick brush

Interesting facts about the Nyala for hunters

  • Nyala is the most sexually dimorphic antelope in the world. And not only does the male look wholly different, but weighs twice as much as the female.
  • Nyala is a true grazer and browser. Their diet has helped them become widespread across Africa.
  • Nyala strip bark off trees.
  • Nyala is not very fast or strong. Their defense against predators is their camouflage. Nyala lives deep in woodland or forest.
  • Nyala has a special bond with monkeys and baboons. The antelope eat all the fruit that is dropped by their primate friends. In addition, they can react to any alarm call made by the primates.
  • Nyala has exceptional hearing and smell and will give off a striking alarm call. The sharp, high-pitched sound is almost like a dog bark.
  • 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 back 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 hunting should be considered by any hunter considering a trip to Africa.

The difference between a male and female nyala

Male Nyala has horns and is much larger than females. Males also have a facial chevron, which females do not have. Males are darker in color 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

The nyala is mainly active in the early morning and late evening. A shy animal, it prefers thick cover and will only be seen in open spaces in the early morning or just before sundown.

The nyala does not show signs of territoriality, and individuals’ areas can overlap each other.

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. Also, 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.

Information for Nyala hunting

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

Nyala has 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 reduces 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 that facilitates young in following after the adults.

The flash of the whitetail 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 nyala hunting, where a lot of 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 to feed and groom it. If it becomes threatened, the calf instinctively flattens itself onto the ground, and due to its lack of scent at such a young age, it can easily avoid the attention of predators this way.

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

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 is considered by many to be the most beautiful African antelope together with the sable antelope.

A very sort after trophy. Nyala hunting will be in 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.

Nyala, when wounded, will often have little or no blood spoor because of their thick coat, which absorbs the blood.

Therefore, a good first shot is of vital importance when nyala hunting.

Trophy Judgement and Rifle Caliber for Nyala Hunting

Nyala hunting - trophy on a dam wall showing the males striking colorations. Nyala are included in many of our South African Hunting Safari Packages.
Nyala hunting – trophy on a dam wall showing the males striking colorations. Nyala is included in many of our South African Hunting Safari Packages.

Hunting nyala 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 available a 7mm custom made Remington Magnum fitted with a suppressor.

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.

As with most African animals, shot placement should always be in the bottom third of the shoulder.

While most nyala hunting takes place 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 of all of the family, consisting of Kudu, Nyala, Bushbuck, and Eland.

As with most of the spiral horns trophies, a nyala must have solid bases that go outwards. The tips must be pointing straight up or flaring outwards.

A must for those hunters interested in collecting the spiral family.

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