Distribution is savanna, floodplain's, and semi deserts through sub-Saharan Africa
The coat varies in color from tan to deep reddish or even purple-brown, and is very glossy and almost on the verge of being iridescent. Young are born with a sandy brown coat. The slender legs of adults are light tan on their lower half, while the upper legs are black. This darker coloration extends upwards onto the shoulders and lower haunches, often showing gray under strong sunlight. There is a distinct, although not over-pronounced, hump above the shoulders which marks the highest point on the topi's body. The back generally slopes downwards from the shoulders towards the rump, although there is a reasonable variation in this respect. The rump and tail are lighter in color, and the tail ends in a brush-like black tuft. The face is elongated and fairly narrow, set on a reliably short neck.
The entire front of the face, in a stripe with considerable spread across the nose-bridge, is black, with the exception of the tan-colored lips. The ears are very slender, with little change in width along their length. The lyre-shaped horns are found in both sexes and are rigidly bridged for their own length, with the exception of the very tips. There is not a noticeable difference in the horns between the sexes, and they may grow up to 72 cm / 2.4 feet long.
Topi are most famous for their sentry position, in which a single animal will stand on a termite mound for hours surveying the surrounding territory. Termite mounds are also a favorite resting area, and topi may even doze off while lying on these raised platforms. Adult males hold territories which vary dramatically in size from 1-3 hectares in southern Africa to a registered 400 hectares in Kruger National Park. Generally, smaller territories are only held briefly during the breeding season. A male will mark his personal range with urine, dung piles, digging up the soil with his horns, and by smearing secretions from his pre orbital glands on vegetation. Competition between rival males consists primarily of posturing and ritualistic sparring with the horns, which involves crashing their horns together as both lunge forward to their knees. During the breeding season, a territorial bull is readily recognized by his erect posture, with his head held high above his body. If alarmed suddenly, topi may actually jump over one another in their haste to flee the area. While they generally run at a jog, if pressed they may reach speeds in excess of 70 kph / 44 mph. While on the move, topi have the odd habit of bobbing their heads, which has been suggested to be a "let's go!" motion derived from a threat gesture.