Lechwe live in vast herds along the edges of swamps
and rivers, preferring open floodplain habitat to
wooded savanna. When pursued they take to water in
a seething mass of horns and splashing bodies but
are not overly nervous animals and often allow the
hunter to approach within shooting distance. On game
ranches they have learnt to adapt to heavier cover
and they can be extremely elusive once spooked and
tips - the hunt
Hunting lechwe on the
open plains is not as easy as it seems as the large
number of animals make choosing a decent ram challenging
and time consuming. Often the most frustrating part
of a hunt is keeping your sights on the selected male
whilst you wait for a clear shot.
with this is the distance factor which is often misleading
on the open plains on hot hazy days. However it is
very uncommon not to bag the trophy of your choice.
tips - the trophy
A good set of horns will
start with thick bases running sideways and upwards,
flaring out wide before starting the forward curve.
The tips should keep running upwards and outwards
and be smooth and shiny.
tips - where
The most commonly hunted
lechwe are the subspecies of southern Africa which
Flats lechwe which
are endemic to the flats and floodplains of the Kafue
River in Zambia. Their horns are longer than other
subspecies and sport a wider sweeping outward curve
before turning upwards and flaring out. Zambia's
north and south Kafue flats are home to these magnificent
antelope and a visit to this vast wetland and to see
the great numbers of these animals is a top experience
on any hunters list.
found along the edges of the Bangwelu Swamp of Zambia
in vast herds which are largely unworried by intruders.
Their coats, especially along their neck and front
legs is a dark chocolate brown as compared to the
orange-red color of the other subspecies (see above
photograph). Their horns are not as long and tend
to be thinner but good males have a characteristic
inward curve near the tips of their horns which is
quite distinguishable from the red and Kafue lechwes.
experience there seems to be 2 types of gene in this
lechwe, some with an almost black body and coat with
smaller horns and then those with a lighter complexion
but longer horns. Seeing that you have gone all the
way to Bangweulu to shoot a 'black lechwe' rather
go for the blacker type with smaller horns!
have a wider distribution occurring primarily in Botswana
but are also found in Namibia and Zambia. Their horns
are smaller than that of the Kafue lechwe and do not
flare out as wide but may sport thicker bases. They
are mostly hunted around the floodplains of the Okavango
Delta in Botswana where they live more a semi-aquatic
life than the others. The red lechwe has been successfully
introduced to South Africa where they fare remarkably
well away from their swampy habitat.
lechwe occurs in Sudan and parts of Ethiopia
but today is not as easily hunted as the other subspecies.