Skip to main content

14. Impala---Zimbabwe

map showing range of impala mostly in the south eastern coast area of Africa
The range of the common impala is in blue.
The ubiquitous impala is sometimes referred to as the whitetail of Africa (simply because there are fairly large numbers of them in most places, and because they are similar in size to our white-tailed deer.) The impala is found in all but the driest parts of southeastern Africa and are grazers and browsers. .Only the males have the lyre-shaped horns. A good ram will have horns over 21 inches and will be around four years old. Their bodies are slim and elegant. This tan-colored animal is graceful and fun to watch. You may see solitary rams, but in general, they travel in herds; sometimes mixed sexes, sometimes all rams. During mating season the territorial males commonly fight with other males for females. When sitting in a blind in southern Africa it is common to hear males fight, and more common to hear the many vocalizations that accompany aggressive behavior. These two rams came from southern Zimbabwe in 1995.


Below is photo of impala (left) and nyala (right). Note the ostrich in background. I did not realize he was there until I got home and saw the photo.

Samuel with impala and nyala The day I harvested the two impala on the wall was one of the most interesting and unnerving days I’ve ever spent in Africa. I was in a tree blind with an apprentice professional hunter from New Zealand. Early in the afternoon, I shot two wart hogs for a camp meal with one arrow. Then I shot each of these impala around twenty minutes apart. In mid-afternoon we heard voices, and the guide immediately knew something was wrong because we were on private land and twenty miles from the nearest homes. Two poachers approached carrying a lot of wire snares, a sawed-off 22 rifle, and a large plastic bottle of water. They were filling that bottle with the ugly, scum-covered pond water when my professional hunter shouted at them. They dropped everything and ran off. Poaching is a major problem, and over all my eight bowhunts to Africa, it was not uncommon to find dead animals in snares.