African Klipspringer

Jet Eliot

Klipspringer, Botswana, Africa Klipspringer, Botswana, Africa

Of over 90 species of antelopes in our world, there is only one that lives on rocks and cliffs:  the klipspringer.  Named for its ability to jump rocks, the Afrikaans translation is “rock jumper.”

A very small antelope averaging about 22 inches (58 cm) high, Oreotragus oreotragus lives in southern and eastern Africa on rocky outcroppings.  It gracefully bounds across the rocks, and lands with all four feet together. This acrobatic skill is their best protection from predators like leopard, jackal, and hyena.  They browse on leaves, berries, and fruits and are not dependent on water; so they can stay isolated and protected high up on the cliffs.

I only saw this rock-dancing antelope once, the pair was hundreds of feet up on a rocky cliff.  But you know how it is when you see an animal that is exhibiting such beautiful skill; you stop and watch…

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