Southern areas of the Republic of South Africa, Namibia (except in the far north and the Caprivi Strip), the Kalahari region of Botswana.
A large antelope, the ground colour is a dull fawn with a dark brown mark on the rear of the foreleg behind the knee. The horns are massive, short, smooth and have a close screw-like spiral in the basal half. Both sexes have horns. As the male ages it becomes darker on the neck. The adult animal lacks the white body stripes prevalent in other sub-species. Old bulls grow a tuft of long, dark hair on the forehead.
The male is larger and much heavier than the female and its horns are thicker and heavier.
Very adaptable. Found from semi-desert shrub veld to different types of woodland and moist mountain grassland. Trees and shrubs are important. Avoids vast open grass plains. Independent of water.
Usually form small herds, but large herds of several hundreds have been seen. The hierarchy in the herds is based on age and size. In the calving season, nursing herds and bachelor herds can be distinguished. Breeding herds are placid while serious fights occur in bachelor herds. During the winter males and females leave the nursing herds and form mixed or bachelor herds. Also feeds at night. A characteristic clicking sound can be heard when they walk.
Mainly browsers, sometimes grass. Drinks water regularly when available.
Females ‘moo’, calves bleat, adult bulls bellow, bark and grumble.
A single young is born at any time throughout the year, peaks between August to October, after a gestation period op approximately 9 months.
The lifespan of the Cape eland is approximately 12 years.