The Nyala ewe’s reddish brown, shaggy coat has white vertical stripes with spots on the flanks, while the Nyala ram appears more dark brown or charcoal grey in colour. Nyala rams have long inward twisted lyre shaped horns with white “ivory” tips and a white chevron on the face. They have a ridge of long hairs along the belly, from behind the chin to between the hind legs. Nyala rams also have a mane of thick, black hair from the head along the spine to the rump. Rams weigh around 115kg and measure about 1mt at the shoulder.
Nyala ewes are much smaller, do not have horns, weigh circa 59kg and stand 9cms at shoulders. Nyala ewes are chestnut coloured with more prominent white stripes on the flanks. The Nyala feeds by grazing and browsing and will readily feed on leaves, fruit and flowers. This wide variation in their diet is helps to assure their successful survival. The juvenile Nyala looks like a ewe and it is thought that this protects the young males from the jealous eyes of the dominant bulls. The young males are therefore allowed to grow up peacefully under the protection of the herd.
Nyalas inhabit dense woodlands and thickets along permanent water. It is very secretive and more easily seen at night. The Nyala is non-territorial, but both sexes have overlapping home ranges. The home ranges of ewes are twice the size than that of rams. Nyala are normally hunted in the early morning and late afternoons when they move into clearings to sun themselves or browse. Nyala are a very challenging prospect when stalked on foot and time should be spent glassing the area thoroughly before moving on, as Nyala are very well camouflaged. Rifle calibres for Nyala include .270, 7mm x 57, 7mm Magnums, .308, 30-06, .300WM.