The San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are outdoor destinations and remain open. We continue to monitor the ongoing changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are following the recommendations provided by our state and local health authorities.


Please click here for important information before you visit.

To support the wildlife in our care, make a gift today.   DONATE ▸

Panorama of a Safari Park field exhibit with giraffes, water buffalo, and rhinos

Nile Lechwe

baby bear


As we face the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, our team of dedicated specialists continue to care for countless animals and plants that depend on us each and every day.

Your continued support is critical to the wildlife in our care and vital to endangered species worldwide.


Nile Lechwe

Most people have never heard of Nile lechwe (pronounced LETCH-way or LEECH-wee). They are antelope native to the floodplains of the Nile River Valley. Their long, slender hooves help them walk or run through their swampy, muddy home. While these long hooves are handy for moving through the water, on dry land Nile lechwe tend to look clumsy. Male Nile lechwe go to the water to fight, often submerging their locked heads.

Males and females are the same color when born. But the males' coat changes from the blond coloring they are born with into a dark, chocolate brown. A blazing white patch on their shoulders completes the look. It seems the flashy coat of the adult males denotes their status.

See if you can notice our herd of Nile lechwe in the East Africa field exhibit. View the herd from an Africa Tram, Caravan Safari, or Cart Safari tour.

Free! Living Legends - San Diego Zoo 100. Help save wildlife in our newest puzzle game.