The Kudu is a tall and majestic antelope, boasts beautiful spiral horns that can grow up to 180 cm and is a very widespread animal both in the reserves of Southern Africa and in those of East Africa.
There are two species of Kudu the Greater Kudu, Tragelaphus strepsiceros, and the Lesser Kudu, Tragelaphus Imberbis.
Both species have spiral horns, only for males, the Greater Kudus have the longest horns of any antelope: 120-180 cm while those of the Lesser Kudus measure 60-90 cm.
The horns are also a useful way to recognize the age of the animal, for example for the Greater Kudus it takes six years of growth to complete two full turns while for the Lesser Kudus the horns of mature males make two and a half turns, rarely three .
The greater kudu is the highest antelope after the eland; males are 130-150cm tall and have a narrow body, weigh an average of 250kg but males can reach 300kg, despite their large size, are relatively agile and famous for their jumping ability, are able to overcome easily fences and other obstacles.
The color varies from reddish brown to bluish gray with white markings, females have a cinnamon color, older males turn grayer and darker in the neck area during the breeding season.
Kudus have a single white stripe in the center of the back and 6-10 narrow white stripes on the back and sides that tend to disappear in older specimens.
Both sexes of the greater kudu have a short mane erected from the top of the head to the shoulders.
Kudus are very alert and nervous animals, they spend most of their time hidden in a dense bush, they usually stay very still and are very difficult to spot.
When disturbed, the kudu will quietly walk away or run away after emitting a loud, high-pitched bark of alarm.
They move surprisingly quietly through dense brush, while running the males keep their heads reclined close to their shoulders so as not to hit the protruding branches with their horns.
Male kudus are rarely physically aggressive, but they can fight during courtship season, pushing each other with their horns. Occasionally, during these fights, their horns intertwine and, if they are unable to break free, both males can die.
The greater kudu can be found in most parks in southern Africa; Fantastic places to see these magnificent antelopes are the Kruger National Park in South Africa, the Etosha National Park in Namibia and all the major parks in Zambia.
Although much less common in East Africa, Ruaha NP and Selous GR in Tanzania are the best solution to be able to admire this beautiful animal.