Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique

The first thing that came to mind when I saw that this week’s photo challenge was “unique”, was the photograph below of a Gemsbok with only one horn. Not only do Gemsbok have very unique facial markings, they all have exceptionally long sweeping horns. With which they create wonderful geometrical patterns when they are standing together in a group (see here). Usually they have two of them though – this Gemsbok has lost one of its horns.

©Theo van Zyl/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

A Kalahari unicorn? ©Theo van Zyl/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

Gemsbok with both horns intact. ©LB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

A magnificent sculpture at the Kglagadi Tranfrontier Park gate of Gemsbok (the female with the thinner longer straight horns). ©LB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

To join in the fun go to Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique.


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Categories: Photography


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)


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25 Comments on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique”

  1. February 4, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    Damn, Lisa, I had forgotten about the patterns made with the horns. Amazing, isn’t it? Those photos from your previous post about Gemsbok, truly, are stunning!

    • February 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

      Whenever I see the Gemsbok, I think of your artwork! You could have painted the facial designs. 🙂

  2. February 4, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    Wonderful interpretation of “unique”!

    I wonder why that guy had lost a horn. Do they naturally shed them like deer?

    • February 5, 2013 at 9:28 am #

      Thanks Jackie! No, as far as I know Gemsbok don’t shed their horns. This one probably lost his horn during a fight.

      • February 6, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

        Poor guy must feel a bit unbalanced.

      • February 7, 2013 at 6:28 am #

        I haven’t been able to find out if they ever grow back. Somehow I don’t think so.

  3. February 4, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    Great interpretation of the theme. I also had the same question as Jackie about why he may have lost his horn.

  4. February 4, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    Such gorgeous animals! And great pics

    • February 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

      Thanks, they are gorgeous aren’t they? I wonder how something like this evolves?

      • February 5, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

        Good question….they almost seem like odd one outs in the bush with those distinct colours. What always amaze me is how these animals, including kudu’s can just blend in with the bush!

      • February 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

        Yes, exactly! This is the last “design” I’d think of as camouflage.

  5. February 5, 2013 at 2:06 am #

    Truly unique! Love this take on the “unique” theme. Will be checking out your other posts now that I’ve stumbled upon your blog.

  6. February 5, 2013 at 2:31 am #

    Congratulations on a brilliant interpretation of the theme Lisa! I definitely agree that to see a gemsbok with one horn is like photographing a UNICORN!

    • February 5, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

      Thanks Rosie! If you have ever seen a photo of Gemsbok taken from the side with the two horns lined up, it also looks as if they have one horn.

  7. February 5, 2013 at 3:02 am #

    Excellent shot, truly unique. I’ve made up my own story that this animal lost his horn in a great life and death battle! Question, are gembok the same as an oryx?

  8. Eha
    February 5, 2013 at 6:09 am #

    C’mon everyone, the ‘unicorn’ does not deserve its name 🙂 ! ‘A rose by any other name . . .’! What a handsome beast. as they all are!! Fancy not having to stand at the Estee Lauder counter to achieve half this effect!

    • February 5, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

      Hi Eha! Feeling a bit dull today – I don’t understand your comment about the unicorn.

      They are very majestic animals. Often stand up on the sand dunes silhouetted against the sky.

      • Eha
        February 6, 2013 at 6:12 am #

        Sorry: just thought that since the poor guy had obviously ‘lost’ the other horn, perhaps it was unfair to call him a unicorn . . . 🙂 ! Such a handsome fellow!!

      • February 6, 2013 at 6:25 am #

        No worries. 🙂 Just thought you might know something about unicorns or Gemsbok (Oryx) which I didn’t! I read somewhere that Oryx was considered to maybe be one of the origins of the unicorn myth because when you see them side on, their two horns line up like a unicorn horn.

  9. February 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    A Kalahari Unicorn – I love that!

    Well-spotted. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a gemsbok with one horn. Perhaps they don’t get into many fights with other males?

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