Lechwe, a term derived from an African language denoting "antelope," showcases a fascinating array of subspecies within its hunting group. The SCI record book classifies these subspecies into three distinct categories.
- The Kafue Lechwe, exclusive to the Kafue floodplains in Zambia, stands as one of them.
- Additionally, the Black Lechwe, found in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, and northern Botswana, represents another native species.
- As for the Red Lechwe, it holds the position of the more prevalent Lechwe variety within the group, spanning across Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and South Africa. Notably, this species has been remarkably introduced into various game farms in South Africa and recently in Namibia, where a free-range population exists in the Caprivi Strip. However, if the pursuit of Lechwe is your aim, Zambia undoubtedly emerges as the ultimate hunting destination.
How much does a lechwe hunt cost?
The costs associated with Lechwe trophies and daily hunting rates showcase substantial variations, influenced by whether the game is ranched or hunted in its natural habitat. In Namibia, the daily rates for hunting Red Lechwe range from $350-520, while the trophy fees fall between $2,000-4,500. Meanwhile, in South Africa, prices fluctuate from $350-450 per day, accompanied by a trophy fee of approximately $1,675-4,500. Zambia caters to both ranch and free-range hunts, offering daily rates that span from $485-1,643, contingent upon the rarity of other species included in the package, alongside trophy fees ranging from $3,000-4,750.
Lechwe hunting in South Africa is permitted throughout the year, whereas in Namibia, the hunting season spans from February 1st to November 30th. Zambia designates its official hunting season from May to November. The optimal time to embark on a Lechwe hunting expedition is during the drier winter months, before the warmer summer season commences in October. Given their dependency on water, Lechwe predominantly inhabit regions near river systems and open floodplains within their natural environment. In contrast, ranch animals may be found in more wooded areas.
Characterized by elongated splayed hooves, Lechwe possess a remarkable adaptation to their muddy habitats. They prefer to feed in close proximity to water sources, occasionally venturing shoulder-deep to graze on floating aquatic plants. Therefore, during a walk and stalk hunt, it is crucial to carefully scan the water's edge. Lechwe exhibit proficient swimming abilities and readily take to the water to elude danger or an approaching hunter. Often, they roam in open spaces, making it challenging to approach them due to the lack of cover. Hence, anticipate the need for long-range shots.
The allure of Lechwe extends beyond the thrill of the hunt itself. While beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, the experience is unquestionably enhanced by the breathtaking aquatic habitats and captivating sunsets found throughout Africa. Furthermore, Lechwe trophies make for remarkable shoulder mounts, amplifying their appeal. Unfortunately, the Nile Lechwe, a fourth species, has been listed as endangered and can no longer be hunted. Human encroachment on Lechwe habitats, fueled by the expansion of irrigable agricultural lands and the construction of dams flooding their grazing areas, raises concerns about the future of this remarkable species.
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