The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa


Afrikaans name: Rooibok

A magnificent Impala ram on the open grasslands

Impala ram

Photo © Steven Herbert

Aepyceros melampus

Interesting facts about Impala

The Impala is a common, even abundant in some areas, medium sized antelope. It prefers woodland and savanna habitats but can be seen in a variety of places. In some game parks they have moved into the camp sites and live quite happily with all the human activity taking place around them.

Despite the Impalas attractive colouration it is often ignored because of it being so common and its habit of standing on or near the road.

Impalas can weigh up to 60 kg. They stand up to 90 cm in height at the shoulder. Females are smaller than males and lack horns.

Larger herds of Impala can number between 100 and 200 individuals although most herds tend to be in the range of 20 to 50 animals. Herds are controlled by a territorial male who will chase other rams away. Young males are chased out the herd at fairly young age.

Females give birth to one calf. They head off into thick bush on their own to give birth. They rejoin the herd a few days later.

The Impala is both a grazer and browser depending on the availability of food. They eat grass, leaves, shoots and seeds.

A number of predators prey on them including Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Spotted Hyena and Wild Dog. At times Impala will leap into the air, particularly when skittish.

A bachelor herd of Impalas in Kruger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert

Young Impala rams

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - Three young male Impalas

Below - A female Impala

Female Impala

Photo © Steven Herbert

Male Impalas practice fighting

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above and below - Impala rams, in bachelor herds, often indulge in play fighting which becomes more serious when males defend their harems during rutting season.

Impala rams trying out their fighting skills

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

Wild Ways - 2nd Edition - Author: Peter Apps - Published: 2000 - Page: 162

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 234

What Antelope is That? - Author: Paul Rose - Published: 1967 - Page: 18

Wild Issue 38 - Author: - Published: 2017 - Page: 32

Tracks and Tracking in Southern Africa - Author: Louis Liebenberg - Published: 2000 - Page: 114

The Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa - Author: P. Briggs - Published: 2020 - Page: 333

The Mammal Guide of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Burger Cillie - Published: 2011 - Page: 16

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 54

South African Animals in the Wild - Author: Anthony Bannister - Published: 1985 - Page: 37

Signs of the Wild - 5th Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Published: 1996 - Page: 170

Signs of the Wild - 3rd Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Published: 1986 - Page: 185

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 9

Pollinators, Predators and Parasites - Author: C. Scholtz, J. Scholtz, H. De Klerk - Published: 2021 - Page: 211

Mammals of the Kruger and other National Parks - Author: The National Parks Board - Published: 1980 - Page: 114

Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Burger Cillie - Published: 1987 - Page: 121

Maberlys Mammals of Southern Africa - Revised edition - Author: Richard Goss - Published: 1986 - Page: 281

Land Mammals of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Reay HN Smithers - Published: 1986 - Page: 181

Kruger National Park Questions and Answers - Author: P.F. Fourie - Published: 1987 - Page: 119

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 415

Game Ranger in your Backpack - Author: Megan Emmett and Sean Pattrick - Published: 2013 - Page: 36

go! - Issue 138 - Author: - Published: 2017 - Page: 26

Field Guide to the Mammals of the Kruger National Park - Author: U. de V. Pienaar et al. - Published: 1987 - Page: 126

Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 2001 - Page: 210

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Published: 2004 - Page: 166

Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1997 - Page: 162

Chris and Tilde Stuarts Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 1st Edit - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1988 - Page: 210

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Published: 1987 - Page: 17

An Introduction to the Larger Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Joanna Dalton - Published: 1987 - Page: 201

African Wildlife - A photographic safari - Author: Nigel and Wendy Dennis - Published: 1999 - Page: 58

A Field Guide to the Tracks & Signs of Southern and East African Wildlife - 3rd - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 2000 - Page: 88

A Field Guide to the Mammals of Africa including Madagascar - Author: Theodor Haltenorth and Helmut Diller - Published: 1980 - Page: 87


List of South African Mammals

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