The handsome sable antelope of eastern and southern Africa belongs to a group that are called sabre-horned antelopes because of their long, scimitar-shaped horns. Those of the sable antelope are covered with ring-like ridges.
Adult males often reach 1.5 m (5 ft.) at the shoulder and can weigh more than 270 kg (595 lb.). Males are about 20% larger and heavier than females. Sable antelopes are glossy black or rich dark chestnut, except for white markings on their face and underparts. They have a tufted tail and short mane.
Sable antelopes are gregarious, nomadic animals. They roam the dry acacia country of Africa in large herds of sometimes up to 100 animals. The herd is usually led by a master bull. They feed on grass and plant life.
Sable antelopes were much sought by hunters. Ernest Hemingway, who used to hunt sable antelopes, gives an interesting account of their habits in The Green Hills of Africa. Lions are about the only predators strong enough to bring down a healthy sable.