The name “gemsbok” in English is derived from Afrikaans gemsbok, which itself is derived from the Dutch name of the male of the Northern Chamois goat-antelope, gemsbok.
The beautiful Gemsbok Oryx gazelle, sometimes called the Oryx, is a large and heavily-built antelope with striking black and white markings on the face and legs, black side stripes on the flanks and a long, black horse-like tail. Bulls measure up to 1.2m (4 feet) at the shoulders and can attain a mass of 240 kg (530lbs). Both bulls and cows have horns, with the longest ever recorded a staggering 126 cm (50 in) long. Lone bulls are common and have been known to kill attacking Lions by impaling them with their strong horns!
The Gemsbok has an extensive distribution in western, central and northwestern southern Africa, but has also been widely introduced in other areas outside its historic range.
It has adapted to living in deserts where there is almost no water to drink. Gemsbok mostly feed on nutritious leaves, grasses and herbs. To supplement their water requirements they dig for succulents and extensively eat tsamma melons, wild fruit and tree pods. They get almost all their water requirements from the food they eat. It also uses several complex physiological methods to further reduce loss of body water.
They are gregarious and occur in medium to large breeding herds (mixed bulls, cows and calves), herds consisting of bulls only (bachelor herds) as well as lone territorial bulls. The Gemsbok is so famous it is even depicted on the coat of arms of Namibia. The easiest place to see Gemsbok is probably in the famous Etosha National Park in Namibia.
Join one of our Popular Safaris to experience the wonderful Gemsbok with us.