© Waterbuck


This is a large, robust antelope. Bulls have a shoulder height of 1.4 metres and can weigh up to 260 Kg. Cows are smaller than bulls. Waterbucks have a brownish-grey shaggy coat. The eyes and nose are patched with white, and there is a white collar under the throat. The rump has a characteristic white ring. The large rounded ears are a prominent feature.

Only the bulls have long, forward curved horns. Both sexes emit a, not unpleasant, musky smell which normally lingers at resting sites.


The Waterbuck grazes mainly grass near permanent water sources. They will browse when grass cover is in a poor condition. The Waterbuck is very dependent on water and will drink daily.


Mating activities peak during winter, but it can occur at lower intensity the year round. After a gestation period of nine months, single calves are born, occasionally twins. Births tend to peak during summer. For several weeks new-born will hide-up in the cover of dense bush or long grass, before they join herds by following their mothers.
©Roger de la Harpe


This is a gregarious antelope. Dominant bulls occupy territories which they defend by aggressive posturing and even fights. Cows, calves and young bachelors congregate in herds. The composition of such herds can vary daily as individuals freely leave or join these. They are strong swimmers and when seriously threatened, will take refuge in deep water. They are found in herds of up to 30 strong.


Inhabits only well watered areas, with a strong predilection for dense woody vegetation and good quality medium to tall grasses. The Waterbuck will on occasion venture into open woodlands and floodplains.

Where Waterbuck Are Found

In South Africa the Waterbuck are distributed along the major drainage systems of Mpumalanga, Northern Province and northern KwaZulu-Natal. Recently re-introduced at St Lucia and Itala game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal.

©Roger de la Harpe


Hyenas, Lions, and Leopards are the major predators, but Crocodiles, Hunting Dogs and Cheetahs also take Waterbuck.

Latin name

Kobus ellipsiprymnus.

Vital Statistics

Latin Name
Kobus Ellipsiprymnus

Weight (Female)
205 - 250 kg

Weight (Male)
250 - 270 kg

Length (Female)
210 cm

Length (Male)
210 cm

Gestation Period
9 months

No of Young
1 calf



75 cm

The calves may be born anytime of the year although calving peaks occur in the summer in some areas.

Spoor Description

The spoor of the Waterbuck depends on the age and sex. Some are broad and blunted while others may be pointed and narrow.
©Shem Compion
Kruger National Park - South African Safari