Nyala aka The Onion

Nyala are frequent visitors here at KwaMbili and these antelope have become comfortable with our presence. The word Nyala derives from the Zulu word “inxala” meaning “onion”, which refers to the white lines on the side of their bodies. There are marked differences between male and female Nyala. The bull is larger and dark brown to dark grey with around 14 narrow white vertical stripes and a long mane along the the length of the back, with a fringe hanging under the body from the throat to the hind legs. They also have an orange clour on their lower legs and only the males have horns. The females (ewes) are smaller and have a chestnut colour and around 18 vertical white stripes, but no long shaggy hair. Bulls are often solitary, but small bachelor groups are also common. Nyala ewes and young are often seen in small groups of four or five but temporary herds of up to 30 animals may occur from time to time. Interestingly, the Nyala also represent the dividing line for referring to antelope as “bulls and cows” or “rams and ewes”. The female Nyala is a ewe, but the male is a bull! Antelope bigger than a Nyala are referred to as a bull or a cow, and antelope smaller as a ram or a ewe.