Red Lechwe Hunting in South Africa

Red Lechwe Trophy hunting is a must for any African hunting safari. Four subspecies of these antelopes have been identified. Only Red Lechwe is available in South Africa. There are no seasonal restrictions on Red Lechwe in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Nick Bowker Hunting offers Red Lechwe African hunting trips year-round.

Lechwe is a magnificent trophy. Only the male carries horns, which sweep backward and then curve forward at the horns’ tips.

Shot placement should be on the bottom third of the shoulder.
Shot placement for Red Lechwe

Table of Contents

  1. Red Lechwe Hunting Cost
  2. Interesting Facts
  3. Difference between Male and Female
  4. About the Red Lechwe
  5. Red Lechwe in South Africa
  6. Trophy Judgement and Rifle Caliber
Red Lechwe hunt with Nick Bowker Safaris

Red Lechwe Hunting Cost

The average cost of a Red Lechwe is $2800. Game hunting prices can include a Red Lechwe Trophy.

All-Inclusive $10,000 Plains Game Package for seven trophies and eight days hunting. (Inclusive of a Red Lechwe Trophy)

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

Red Lechwe trophy shot in South Africa
Bow hunting Red Lechwe in Africa with Nick Bowker.

The Red Lechwe in Pictures

Shot placement for Red Lechwe hunting.
Red Lechwe Breeding habits. Red lechwe standing in the savanna.
Red Lechwe in water. Red Lechwe have adapted hoover for running in water.
 Size and growth chart.
Distribution across Africa.
Red Lechwe in the plains. Names in local African languages.
Magnificent Red Lechwe trophy.
Red Lechwe family group near water.
Red Lechwe predators.
Red Lechwe in the grass. Lechwe eat nutritious grasses.

Interesting facts

Africa red lechwe hunting with Nick Bowker.
  • Four subspecies of these antelopes have been identified and include:
    1. The black lechwe is found in the areas of Zambia.
    2. The red lechwe is found in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa.
    3. The Roberts Lechwe was formerly found in Zambia but is now considered extinct.
    4. As well as the Kafue lechwe of Zambia.
  • Only Red Lechwe is available in South Africa.
  • The lechwe is one of the three antelope species known to form breeding areas with a high population density.
  • Inhabiting marshy areas and feeding on mostly aquatic plants, they always utilize knee-deep water for safety and protection against predators.
  • Covering the lechwe’s legs is water-repellent substances that allow them to run very fast in knee-deep waters.
Red Lechwe hunting in South Africa
Africa red lechwe hunting with Nick Bowker.
  • Males have long spiral-structured horns. Lyre-shaped horns are the signature trademark of a Red Lechwe trophy. Red lechwe makes for a magnificent trophy.
  • Both sexes have longer hind legs than other antelope species, essential for easing long-distance running in marshy soils.
  • Lechwe is a diurnal animal and also lives in large herds comprising up to thousands of individuals. These herds are surprising of one sex but will mix during the mating season.
  • Lechwe has greasy and water-repellent coats, and females have tawny to chestnut coats that resemble one another though they can have minor differences in their markings.
  • Feeding on aquatic grasses is one of the abundant resources that most other herbivores cannot utilize and they usually graze on grasses that spring up as floodwaters increase.
Red Lechwe taken with Nick Bowker Hunting

Difference between a male and female

Red Lechwe males have horns, while females do not. In contrast, females are also smaller and can be lighter in color.

Male standing in the savanna in the dry season.
Red Lechwe male standing in the savanna in the dry season
Female running across the grasslands. Females do not have horns.
Lechwe female running across the grasslands

About the Red Lechwe

Nick Bowker African outfitter.

A medium-sized antelope is reddish-yellow and has a darker back than on the flanks and legs.

They also have white on the underpants, with a white band running up the front of the neck to the jaw and characteristic dark markings on the forelegs.

Although this usually varies depending on the subspecies, the males are darker in color.

Their hindquarters are higher and broader than their forequarters, with long necks and short yet blunt muzzles.

The shoulders are distinctly lower than the rump, and the body slants forward.

Red lechwe trophy shot with Nick Bowker Hunting.
Africa Red Lechwe hunting with Nick Bowker.

In its natural habitat, lechwe is found in or near the water on shallow flood plains, along swamps and rivers, and on well-watered grasses with feet wet.

Lechwe has also adapted well to the open savannah country. Red Lechwe hunting will nearly always be by spot and stalk.

As a result, red lechwe hunting is in savanna or well-wooded areas.

These animals form small herds of 10-30 animals on the savannah.

Bachelor herds, nursing herds, and solitary adult males can be distinguished.

A few males establish small territories during the mating season, which they share with some nursing herds.

Red Lechwe hunting in South Africa.

Red Lechwe Hunting in South Africa

Red Lechwe trophy hunting.

Your Red Lechwe trophy should have an average shoulder height of around 39 inches, weigh about 200 pounds, and have a Horn Length of approximately 24 – 26 inches.

The Safari Club International minimum score for a red lechwe is 58. The trophy is measured by adding the length of each horn and the circumference of the bases.

The Lechwe male is usually of trophy quality at around five years.

The Red Lechwe is a magnificent trophy and does not occur in abundance in South Africa. However, numbers are good throughout the Eastern Cape.

The Red lechwe is a medium-sized antelope hunted safari style.

South African red lechwe safari hunting

Red Lechwe hunting safari style in Africa.

Lechwe is an introduced species on game ranches and is not endemic to the Eastern Cape.

Lechwe has adapted well to open savannah country. Nick Bowker hunting has access to several free-ranging herds of red lechwe in the Bedford area.

Lechwe has done very well in a free-ranging environment where they are less susceptible to the brown tick.

In a free-ranging environment, they can move and find grazing without going deep in the brush. In high-fenced areas during very dry periods, lechwe is forced to go deep into the brush foraging for grazing, where they encounter the brown ear tick.

South African red lechwe safari.

Trophy Judgement and Rifle Caliber

Stalking with Nick Bowker in South Africa

Only the male carries horns, which sweep backward and then curve forward at the horns’ tips, similar to the waterbuck. The lechwe feeds on dry grasses and drinks regularly.

The herd grazes mainly during the early morning and late afternoon, resting in the day’s heat.

We recommend a .30 caliber or, even better, the flat shooting 7mm magnum.

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.

The rifle is mounted with a Swarovski Z8 tactical scope. Also, we have hand-loaded Hornady ELD-X ammunition.

African safari red lechwe hunt with Nick Bowker.
 The lyre shaped horns are very impressive.

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

Red lechwe can be confused with impala to the untrained eye but never the red hartebeest.

The aim point for red lechwe hunting is the standard high heart/lung shot; straight up the foreleg, one-third into the body, and squeeze. Your lechwe should not go far.

When selecting a male to hunt, note the spread of the horns backward and outwards, and tips have opened and hooked forward.

Horns will wear down dramatically with age.

Africa hunting red lechwe with Nick Bowker.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to hunt a Red Lechwe?

The trophy fee as a standalone Red Lechwe hunt is between $2500 to $3000. Daily rates vary between $250 and $500 per day.

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

Red Lechwe trophy is often included in a plains game package. Package prices vary from $3000 to $10,000, depending on location and size. Packages include 5 – 7 trophy animals and accommodation, meals, and daily rates.

How to hunt a Red Lechwe?

Red Lechwe 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.

Where do you shoot a Red Lechwe?

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 Red Lechwe?

Red Lechwe trophies have a Horn Length of approximately 24 – 26 inches. The minimum qualification score under Safari Club International for a Red Lechwe is 58. Add the length of each horn and the circumference of the bases to get your SCI score.

Africa hunting Red Lechwe with Nick Bowker.

Seasonal Restrictions

When can you hunt Red Lechwe in South Africa?

There are no seasonal restrictions on Red Lechwe hunting in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

How do you judge a Red Lechwe trophy?

As with all African animals, a thick heavy, darkened neck is the first sign of maturity and often the most visible maturity characteristic when observing at a distance.

Also, look at the color of the horns. An old bull will exhibit at least two-thirds of the horn as an off-white color.

A good symmetrical shape with smooth tips signifies an old bull and a trophy worth considering.

Discount african red lechwe hunt safari with Nick bowker.


Smithers RHN – The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion

Britannica – Mammals Lechwe

Animalia – Lechwe Facts

Animal Diversity Web – Lechwe information

Wildlife in Safari – Red Lechwe