Elands of Ezemvelo Nature Reserve by Rulene Nel
The eland is the largest of the 72 species of antelope that occupy Southern Africa’s vast habitats. There are different types of eland, but on the Ezemvelo Nature Reserve we have the common Cape eland. The other different subspecies of eland are distributed all over Africa, but this species is a magnificent creature by its own right.
As the largest antelope in Africa, male elands are taller than buffalo bulls and sometimes even heavier. A male eland weighs between 700kg and 840kg while buffalo bulls weigh between 690kg and 800kg.
Eland live in herds with females, their young and sub-adults and smaller herds join together in summer time. The more mature bulls can be found in bachelor herds where they prove their dominance each year for the mating season. On Ezemvelo Nature Reserve we do not have a large enough predator species that can kill the magnificent eland, so the eland herd thrives and can live out their lives to the full on the reserve.
The egrets like to follow the eland herd due to the fact that the herd disturbs the insects on the ground, thus making it easier for the egrets to catch and eat these insects.
Eland prefer to browse but they do eat green grasses, especially in the night when the grasses have more moisture. The eland can live independently of water, so can move over the vast terrain that Ezemvelo Nature Reserve has to offer.
The large herd at Ezemvelo Nature Reserve consists of about of about 160 animals and is enough to make any hiker’s heart pound with excitement. Not only after seeing the incredible size of these animals, but from hearing the distinctive clicking sound that they make when they trot away.
You can see the spectacular herd of eland on Ezemvelo Nature Reserve while hiking, driving or mountain biking, and it is truly a must-see.