The hartebeest is an African antelope with eight subspecies, one of which, the Bubal hartebeest of North Africa, is now extinct. The subspecies we encountered, Coke's hartebeest or kongoni, is found in Kenya and Tanzania. Six other subspecies are found in other areas of Africa and there are some cross-subspecies as well. Among other differences, each subspecies has different shaped horns and different variations in coloring. The name "hartebeest" comes from the Afrikaans word "hertebeest," a name given them by the Boers who thought they looked like deer. The Dutch word "hert" means "deer" and "beest" means "beast." The hartebeest is tall, narrow, has a high-shoulder, and a long narrow head.
An elongated forehead forms a bony pedicle that supports the horns.
|Coke's hartebeest in Nairobi NP - by far our best viewing of hartebeest.|
|Also in Nairobi NP.|
Coke's hartebeest is one of the smallest subspecies with a less developed pedicle. The color is reddish tawny/fawn/tan on its upper parts and lighter on its rump and lower parts.
It has thick, short horns that diverge almost horizontally at the base, then turn upwards and backwards.
Both males and females have horns. Herds consist of 5 to 10 females and young and the males only join them when breeding or herding.
|In Nairobi NP.|
|Young hartebeest in Nairobi NP.|
|Various views on horns. Good view of them slanting backwards.|
|In Serengeti NP where we only saw one or two hartebeest.|
|In Ngorongoro Crater.|