I have driven along the Highlands road so many times over the past two years that I can guess with a degree of accuracy where we might spot what wildlife – although there are always surprises in store. One of these surprises was our first sighting of a small group of about five Grey Rhebuck (Pelea capreolus) that had been resting in the tall grass and jumped up to run away as we approached them along the road. As they tend to be territorial animals, I have seen (presumably) that group a few more times in more or less the same place. Grey Rhebok are usually seen in rocky hills, on grassy mountain slopes, as well as on plateau grasslands, so this – and the places described below – is a recognised habitat for them. These ones were sighted in the Mountain Zebra National Park.
A chance sighting of a small group of these animals on the lower slopes of a hill alerted us to another place where we have been able to observe them from time to time. Then, late one afternoon, a large empty grassy valley, which we had always thought to be devoid of any wild animals, yielded a much larger herd – again we have spotted them there more than once. Lastly, we have discovered a small family group that is frequently visible on some rocky slopes as the road dips down towards some farmland. The photographs in this post are all from that group – by far the closest I can get to them by road. The colouring isn’t all that good for these photographs were taken through a fence shortly before sunset.
Their cryptic colouring of a grey woolly coat with white underparts makes the Grey Rhebuck difficult to see even when the sun is shining brightly. Only the rams have upright, straight, spike-like horns.
Grey Rhebuck are able to derive sufficient moisture from the plants they graze and browse, so they do not need a stable source of water to survive. I have not seen any farm dams, for example, within their immediate vicinity. This final photograph was also taken in the Mountain Zebra National Park.