Quick facts on Matetsi sables

Quick facts on sables

Ranger’s diary

The sables at Groot Sleutelfontein have been successfully released onto the reserve from their initial boma on Thursday 14 May 2015.  Since then they have flourished and adjusted exceptionally well.  A keen interest and knowledge of the animals’ preferences and needs are paramount to achieve this, and our rangers are well experienced in this regard.

With all of the wonderful excitement of the 17 new sables having arrived on the reserve last month, ranger Denis Pothas has given us some interesting information on these magnificent animals.  According to Denis, the following are a few quick facts to make your next game drive at Groot Sleutelfontein so much more rewarding:

  • Sables have a 9 month gestation period (the same as humans).
  • If the cows are kept in good condition, they will mate within one month.
  • This means that they will calf within a 10 month period (280 – 300 day period).
  • A heifer will be ready for mating within 18 – 24 months.
  • Sables will live for about 20 years.
  • The bulls grow quickly for about 5.5 years.  Thereafter the horn length grows a further 1 – 1.5″
  • Bulls which are kept in bull camps are social up until 4.5 years. Thereafter they become territorial.
  • A bull can mate with a herd of about 35 cows.
  • Weight:  Bulls 350kg and cows 250-280kg.
  • The Rowland Ward horn measure for a sable is 41 7/8″ (our bull at Groot Sleutelfontein measures 45 1/4″).
  • A good horn length for cows is 26-28″ (on Groot Sleutelfontein we have 5 cows over 27″).
  • Bulls are a dark black with a white belly.
  • Cows are dark brown with a white belly.
  • Calves are light brown up to the age of 16 months.
  • Calves are weaned from their mothers at the age of 10 months.
  • Bull calves are taken out of the herd at the age of 18 months, and then moved to a bull camp.


Ranger Denis Pothas, as well as senior ranger Nihan Marais, are awaiting you for more spellbinding adventures on the back of the game drive vehicles at Groot Sleutelfontein.  We are looking forward to your next visit, and Nihan and Denis are ready to thrill the inquisitive minds of both young and old!


Edited for homepage  11196225_877078482354079_7435028999583305319_n  026W  20141 (414)

Ranger Nihan Marais with guests        Ranger Denis Pothas        Sable and roan                             Tame sable at the lodge



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