Are you looking for more of a challenge on an African hunt? These are the top 5 toughest animals to hunt in Africa.
As I stated in my previous post, Africa is a very large and diverse continent with many species of wildlife available for hunting. The amount of difficulty involved in pursuing those animals is as varied as the continent itself. The animals on this list are chosen because they are some of the most difficult and physically demanding animals on the entire continent to hunt.
In some cases, hunters may hunt for an exhausting 28 day safari and not see a single example of the animal they are after. In others, the hunter will have to suffer through miserable conditions for the chance of a fleeting shot at an animal at long range or slipping through thick brush. In every case, these hunts are not for the weak or the faint of heart. If you’re looking for a laid back hunt with luxury accommodations, none of these animals are for you. Instead, stick with hunting some of the more traditional animals in the more popular countries.
RELATED: 5 Best Cartridges for Hunting Africa
For those hunters looking for a challenge, read on.
Check out our choices for the top 5 toughest animals to hunt in Africa, and let us know what other species should have made the list.
It really says something when Mountain Zebra are the least difficult animals to hunt on the list. Similar to their more numerous cousins on the plains, Mountain Zebras live among the rocky mountains and hills of Namibia and South Africa. Well adapted to a harsh existence in the mountains, Mountain Zebra are very resilient animals and are tough to bring down, especially when taking shots at long, which is not uncommon on Mountain Zebra hunts. They have exceptional eyesight to go along with they excellent senses of smell, which makes them difficult to hunt. The fact that they live at higher elevations on rocky mountains, where footing is difficult, only adds to the difficulty involved in hunting them. As a result, the view in the photo above (the rear of two zebra disappearing over a rocky hill crest) is one that many hunters have unfortunately experienced.
Mountain Nyala only inhabit the mountains of central Ethiopia and are found at elevations between 6,000 and 13,000 feet. This fact alone makes for strenuous hunting. Add in the often cold and miserable weather, the fact that the mountains that they live in are often covered with tall (taller than a man), dense heather that makes nyala difficult to spot, let alone hunt, and the fact that hunters must often take shots in excess of 400 yards on a target that seldom hangs around for long, and you’ve got an extremely difficult animal to hunt.
The historically complicated political and security situation in the country is only icing on the cake of an already thorny hunt. For these reasons, it is not uncommon for a hunter to have to make multiple trips before they successfully take a Mountain Nyala.
Experiencing a scene like in the photo above on a hunting trip is one that would make a veteran bongo hunter think he had died and gone to heaven. Bongo call the thick rainforests forests of central and west Africa home and are most often hunted in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and the Republic of the Congo. Though hunter success rates have generally increased over the past few decades, this doesn’t mean that the hunting is easy by any stretch of the imagination.
The dense forests that they live in make for extremely limited visibility and difficult hunting. They aren’t found at high elevations like Mountain Zebra and Mountain Nyala, but typical bongo hunting weather is very hot, humid, and often rainy. Virtually every single bongo trophy photo that I’ve ever seen had a dirty, sweaty, and exhausted hunter kneeling behind their bongo. However, those are the lucky few and a hunter may go an entire three week hunt without seeing a bongo track, much less an actual animal.
Central African Giant Eland
Also known as Lord Derby Eland, Central African Giant Eland are the largest antelope in the world and big bulls can grow in excess of 2,200 pounds. They are hunted in Cameroon and the Central African Republic and inhabit terrain similar to that of the bongo, though they are also found in savannas and less dense forests from time to time. Eland are often hunted by finding fresh tracks and following the animal. Since they are so large, eland can cover ground at an amazing pace, and this can lead to tracking jobs lasting hours and traveling many miles. This great distance, combined with the oppressive equatorial heat, makes for a very strenuous hunt. Only hunters in excellent shape need apply.
Sitatunga are a medium sized swamp dwelling antelope most often hunted in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The dense swamps and marshes that sitatunga inhabit are generally only accessible by boat or by wading through water that may be swift moving and infested with crocodiles. Hunters generally only get brief, fleeting glimpses (if they get one at all) of sitatunga as the antelope negotiate the thick reeds.
Shots on them are typically extremely difficult with ranges in excess of 300 yards on small, often moving targets. Hunters are fortunate to get one shot on a sitatunga hunt and rarely get a second chance if they miss or wound the animal. Sitatunga are a very elusive animal and will hide underwater for long periods of time, with only their nostrils exposed, when injured or heavily pressured. Obviously, this makes them extremely difficult to find when they known a predator is looking for them and wounded sitatunga are seldom recovered.
What do you think about this list of the top 5 toughest animals to hunt in Africa? Were there any that I missed?