The shy and retiring Gemsbok or Oryx, has got to rate as one of Africa’s most spectacularly beautiful species of antelope. Adapted to dry desert conditions, they thrive in the searing rain starved expanses of the Kalahari, sustained by roots, tubers, thick leaved plants and melons whose stores of moisture allow the Gemsbok to be amazingly independent of water. In a rare twist, the female Gemsbok has the longer thinner horns which are angled slightly differently than the ramrod straight sabres of the male. With these, she’s able to mount an able defence of her young against the predations of lion and other predators, the broad sweep of the razor sharp ends evening the odds against the shorter arc of the predators deadly reach. Even though classified a desert, the Kalahari is amazingly alive with life. On close examination, the Gemsbok can be seen to be sharing company with at least 4 different bird species, all foraging the seemingly dry and dead earth, yielding what each needs to continue living in this amazing dry paradise.
Tswalu game reserve, South Africa.