Hunting Nyala in Southern Africa

Hunting Nyala in Southern Africa
Hunting Nyala in Southern Africa

The nyala is a slender and elegant antelope with the males sporting lyre-shaped spiral horns with one-and-a-half to two turns. A quality nyala trophy bull will have distinctive, bell shaped set of horns.  The average trophy size measures approximately 28 inches with the largest measuring at 30 1/4".

Bulls are darker in color than the ewes, which have a shaggy coat in a reddish-brown in color with several vertical stripes. The male has a chevron mark on the face, a white tipped mane, and the lower legs are yellow in color. Bulls have scent glands on the forehead, and the nyala has small hooves, considering the size of the antelope.

Weighing in at between 250-350 pounds in live weight, the nyala falls right on the dividing line between small and large antelope. The size places the nyala between a bushbuck and kudu. While we refer to larger species' sexes as bulls and cows, and smaller species as ram and ewe, nyala males are bulls and females are referred to as ewes. Males are often solitary and not particularly territorial. The rest of the group will form temporary herds. However, nyalas are shy and often hard to spot.

Its name means "shifty one" in Zulu (inxala), which aptly describes its elusive nature. The nyala prefers the denser bush, but can be found in dry woodlands and only visit plains when the grass starts to sprout.

Nyalas tend to frequent water bodies, as they need water on a daily basis. They graze during the cooler hours, and rest during the warmest parts of the day.


Nyala prefers the denser bush, but can be found in dry woodlands


Nyala Fact Sheet

Scientific Name: Tragelaphus angasii
Gestation Period: 7 months
Weight: 55 - 140 kg
Length: 135 - 195 cm
Horn Length: 60 - 83 cm


Nyala Hunting Considerations

The nyala hunt resembles a kudu hunt in terms of technique. They are easily ambushed when approaching watering holes. A curious animal, it will look back if it is being tracked, thus presenting a great opportunity for the hunter.

Opt for a minimum calibre of .270 with heavy for calibre expanding bullets of high quality and good shot placement. A better option would be a .308 Winchester with premium bullets as a minimum. Other great choices include a .30-06 Springfield, a .300 Winchester Magnum or .300 Winchester Short Magnum, a .375 M&H Magnum or 9.3x62mm Mauser. 

Some hunters hunt with a bow and arrow, in which case you should opt for a heavy broadhead fixed blade arrow of at least 500 grains and a bow with a 65 pound draw weight as a minimum.

Average shooting distance is 25-100 yards.

Shot Placement

When hunting nyala, aim straight up the foreleg, approximately one third into the upper body to hit the highly effective heart or lung shot.

Do not place your shot above the half mark, and don't aim too low. The nyala has the hanging body hair which can make it difficult to accurately judge the one-third mark.

Remember to adjust your aim accordingly if the animal is quartering away or towards you. When quartering towards you, you will have to aim slightly to the rear, and if it is quartering away, the shot should be placed slightly forward.

Hunting Nyala in Southern Africa

Nyala Shot Placement


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