While on safari in Botswana with Ivan Carter and Johan Calitz Safaris, I was fortunate to witness a truly awe-inspiring sight: two kudu bulls going head to head. Here’s what it looks like when two giant antelope fight for dominance.
Safari Classics Productions cameraman Andy McDonald was the first to discover the fight. We were driving through a heavily wooded area when a clap of thunder startled us. Another clap led Andy to declare “Kudu fight” then jump off the back of the Land Cruiser and run toward the sound. I grabbed my camera and followed.
The thunder turned out to be the bulls slamming horns together. Their fighting was so loud we could hear it through the woods and over a running vehicle.
Our first thought was that the bulls were either oblivious to our presence or too busy fighting to care. It turned out their spiral horns were locked together.
Close to 900 pounds of locked kudu antelope pretty much destroys anything in its path. The two young bulls smashed through trees, bushes, and scrub vegetation. One bull actually lifted the other off the ground and slammed him into – and through – a small tree.
I stood there snapping pictures certain that one, if not both, animals would be killed. The strain of the fight was apparent in the animals’ taut neck muscles and bloodshot eyes.
Andy and I witnessed more than five minutes of the brutal fight. We could feel the force of the two animals twisting each other over and over even though we were more than 15 feet away. When the bulls somehow got unlocked they staggered like drunks in opposite directions. It seems they called a draw. This event was by far the most incredible thing I’ve ever witnessed in the wild.

Outdoor Life blogger Gayne C. Young was on safari in Botswana when he stumbled upon two kudu bulls battling. See his series of photos here.