Sunday, August 10, 2014


The topi is one of the fastest antelopes in Africa. It can run 50 mph. By contrast, the pronghorn antelope of the U.S. can run 60 mph. Topi resemble hartebeest to some extent. They have elongated heads, a distinct hump at the base of the neck and glossy rufous or reddish brown bodies. 
Topi in Masai Mara. Photo by Esmee Tooke. 
However, they also have dark purple blotches on their upper legs, fore-head and snout. The legs are yellowish.  
These almost look like Chinese twins. In Masai Mara.
Good view of horns and blotches on forehead and snout. In Masai Mara. Photo by Mark Edwards. 
There are a number of topi subspecies, including the korrigum, tiang, tsessebe and two subspecies that are also called topi. The topi subspecies we saw (D. l. jimela), is called a topi and is found in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. It has smaller horns, darker purple blotches and a darker color than the other subspecies. 
A topi will stand on a termite mound as a lookout for danger. This is my favorite image of the topi. This is in Masai Mara. Photo by Judy.
Photo by Steven Shuel.
They live in grasslands and prefer green grass. When they have enough green vegetation they don't need to drink water. They migrate between green pastures and join the large migration in the Serengeti with the wildebeests, zebras and gazelles. 
Photo by Michael Lewin
One of the few topis we saw in the Serengeti.
We saw the most topis, by far, in Masai Mara. We saw a few in Serengeti NP. I don't recall seeing them anywhere else. 


  1. Amazing that they can run so fast-they look to bulky to be quick.

  2. When they stood on termite mounds, we could pick them out from very far away. Seems like they'd be a great target for predators, but I guess no one can catch them. I loved picking them out in the distance as we drove along. No other animal stands sentinel like that.