The male stands up to 3.5 feet (110 cm), the female is up to 3 feet tall. The male has loosely spiraled horns and a long fringe on throat and underparts; the female has no horns and no noticeable fringe. The male is dark brown, white on the face and neck, with vertical white stripes on the body. The female is reddish brown with clear striping.
The name "Nyala" is the Swahili name for this antelope. The Latin name comes from "tragos" (he-goat), "elaphos" (deer), and George Francis Angas, an English artist and naturalist.