Oryx | Botswana Wildlife Guide

Oryx at the gallop near Kalahari Plains CampOryx at the gallop near Kalahari Plains Camp

Oryx or Gemsbok [Oryx gazelle]

Best places to see Oryx in Botswana

Found throughout southern and central Botswana in the arid regions; absent from the northern regions like Chobe and Okavango Delta. Best sightings are in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi Pans and Gemsbok National Park.

Observations

The oryx or gemsbok has adapted to life in the dry arid central regions of the Kalahari and can live without drinking water, instead getting all its moisture requirements from the leaves and melons it eats.

In very hot regions where temperatures soar above 50 degrees the oryx have a unique method of surviving. They have a fine network of veins in their nostrils and when the oryx breathes the movement of air cools the blood which then flows to the brain. This allows the body temperature to rise with the outside temperatures whilst the blood temperature remains constant.

The oryx has very long and sharp horns that are used to protect themselves when threatened. There are numerous incidents of predators, including lions, been impaled by the horns of the oryx. Both sexes have horns. Although providing the oryx with a fearsome weapon the dramatic horns have made it a favourite for trophy hunters.

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