Regional Names

Afrikaans: Rooihartbees French: Bubale
German: Rote Kuhantilope Nama: ǁKhamab
Portuguese: Búbalu Sesotho: Thetele
Shangaan: Nondo Shona: Ngama
Spanish: Alcélafo / Búbalo común Swahili: Kongoni
Tswana: Ngama Xhosa: iXhama
Zulu: Ndluzele
Average Body Dimensions Trophy Dimensions
Average male mass:  595 lb (270 kg) Rowland Ward Minimum: 28” (71cm) : Method-7
Average shoulder height:  4.3’ (1,3m) Rowland Ward Record: 29½” (74,9cm)
Spoor size front:  3.5” (90mm) SCI Minimum (Rifle):  62 / SCI Record (Rifle): 814/8 : Method-1
Spoor size rear: 3.5” (90mm) SCI Minimum (Bow):  53 / SCI Record (Bow) – 805/8


Angola: In southern Angola’s central Cunene Province between Cubango and Cunene rivers just north of Namibia. Botswana: Prevalent in all acacia and Kalahari savannah veldt types in the Ghanzi, Kweneng, Kgalagadi and Southern Provinces, as well as the western part of the Central Province south of Makgadigadi Pan latitudes. Namibia*: In a curved central longitudinal belt commencing in the north in the mopane savanha of the Owambo Province east of Namib desert and west of Kavango Province’s forest savannah region directly south of Cunene and Cabango rivers. Then southward into central thornbush savanah areas mainly of the Tsumeb, Outjo, Otjiwarongo and Okohandja Provinces, from where its swings east along camelthorn savannah of the Gobabis and northern regions of the Marienthal Province – straddling the Tropic of Capricorn to link with Botswana populations in Hereroland East north of Nossob river, while avoiding the semi desert regions of southern Namibia. South Africa: Natural populations remain in southern Kalahari savannah regions of Northwest and Northern Cape Provinces south of Botswana. Re-established on game ranches in the dry woodland areas of Limpopo valley and in Northwest and Mpumalanga Provinces.
* Top trophy destinations


Bachelor male hartebeest stick to mother up to 30 months. They mature at 40-48 months and the high ranking youngsters then commence territorial quests. Competition for good pivotal territories is fierce and not dominated long. Bachelor herds circulate outside the territories of established bulls. Post prime bulls settle for less pivotal territories, but some become solitary. They are most active during cooler early and late hours of the day. In summer they rest in shade, but in winter they do so in open areas. Amongst the fastest antelope in Africa. They tend to keep a look-out by placing front legs on termite mounds or high ground.

* Read more in Game Animals of the World by Chris & Tilde Stuart

Hunting tips

They are inquisitive with moderate eyesight, but acute of smell and hearing. Subsequently has the tendency to stand and stare to identify approaching objects, especially in poor light conditions. Use their eyesight deficiency to befuddle. Personal camouflage very effective and success can be achieved by stalking with portable bush (including false ostrich). Have a habit of hanging around open salt pans on regular basis. Start the search there as they tend to follow a routine. Watch out for high ground as they normally post a female sentry there. Identify sentry’s position early in stalk to achieve success on bulls. Consider rifle with bi-pods or shooting sticks due to long shots being the norm.

Sexual Differentiation

Bulls are larger than cows

Habitat & Food

The red hartebeest is well adapted to warm, arid, semi-desert climates with rainfall between 12”-18” (300-450mm) per annum. Even though renowned for their preference of arid region habitats, its low metabolic rate and water consumption the hartebeest is not as well adapted to desert conditions as the various gazelle, eland and oryx. It is best adapted to Kalahari Sandveld, the Karoo and sparsely wooded savannah. Despite this it shows the ability to penetrate deeper into arid areas than most other species. As near pure grazers it therefore only utilizes dry areas during the rainy season and concentrate around permanent water in the dry season. It prefers a variety and mixture of grass types growing to medium height (120-350mm) – mainly of sweet and mixed veldt types along ridges and foothills. It does not adapt well to predominantly sour veldt grazing. Red hartebeest prefer transition areas between savannah and arid biomes, with a preference for open areas and migrate seasonally between savannah and arid biomes if possible. Dense vegetation is avoided and acts as barrier for red hartebeest movement. Red hartebeest are amongst the purist selective grazers of leafy perennial grasses, their seeds and pods which form 60%-75% of its diet. Whatever scrub leaves are consumed seem to be taken in unintentionally unless it requires the satisfaction of moisture needs. It consumes melons, roots and tubers to satisfy moisture requirements in need.

Rifle & Cartridge Recommendations

Shots are moderate to long, so flat shooting medium bore cartridge combinations are recommended. Riflescopes in the 12x – 18x magnification range are recommended.

Bolt Actions : Any decent bolt action rifle will do provided it is accurate.

Bullets : Opt for streamlined premium bullets that will hold together at high impact velocities, such as bonded core spitzer boat tails and expanding monometal bullets.

Typical Cartridges :

.264 Winchester Magnum 120-gr bullets
6,5x68mm 120-gr bullets
.270 Winchester & Wby Mag 130-gr bullets
7 x 64mm Brenneke 150-gr bullets
7mm Magnums 150-gr bullets
.300 Magnums 165-gr bullets

* Read more in African Medium Bore Cartridges by Pierre van der Walt