Topi, Masai Mara, Kenya

14 Fun Facts About Topi

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The topi is an amazing African antelope species with unique features and behaviors.

Found throughout eastern and southern Africa, the topi has excellent vision and lives in open grassland habitats. The topi is known for being extremely fast and agile.

Topis have distinctive physical features like dark coats with purplish hues and long, ringed horns. They are very social animals that live in herds for safety and community.

Keep reading for 14 entertaining topi tidbits ranging from their speed to their knees that will give you a better appreciation of this cool antelope!

Top 14 Topi Facts

Topi, Maasai Mara
Topi, Maasai Mara by . Ray in Manila is licensed under CC BY 2.0 .
  1. Topis are speedy. They can run at speeds over 50 mph to escape predators, making them one of Africa’s fastest antelopes!
  2. They have great vision. Topis have eyes on the sides of their heads for nearly 320° vision to spot lurking predators.
  3. Topis have kneepads. They have hardened hair on their knees that act as kneepads for when they drop down quickly to graze grass.
  4. Their horns help regulate heat. Blood circulating in their long, ringed horns releases excess heat to cool topi bodies.
  5. They rub smelly secretions on the grass. Male topi has glands by their eyes that secrete smelly fluids used to mark grass.
  6. Topis are picky eaters. They only eat certain nutritious grasses and avoid older, tougher grasses other grazers eat.
  7. They are very social. Topis live in herds of 15-30 members to graze together safely, led by a dominant territorial male.
  8. Calves can run fast, quickly. Newborn topi can keep up with the herd right away, running up to 40 mph within just a few days!
  9. Their coats camouflage them. Their reddish-purple coats blend into the grasslands, masking them from predators.
  10. They are talented jumpers. Topis can leap over 10 feet high and 30 feet long to escape threats with ease!
  11. Topis have good memories. They can remember excellent locations for nutritious grass and water for years.
  12. They are hardy animals. Well-adapted to the harsh African plains, topi thrive even in drought conditions.
  13. Topis stand still when threatened. Rather than outrun predators, topi uses “freeze” camouflage by standing motionless.
  14. They are antelope acrobats! Topis often twist and turn midair during energetic displays doing flips, kicks, and jumps!


The topi truly is an incredible African antelope perfectly suited for life on the open savanna. With extraordinary speed, vision, jumping skills, and more, the topi has many adaptations that enable it to thrive.

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