These antelope are abundant across all of Southern Africa's major wilderness areas. Visitors will encounter impala on all safaris in Southern Africa. Predators like lions and leopards favor them as prey.

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Impalas are very lean and slender antelope with long legs and narrow bodies covered by light fur on their abdominal skin and a light red-orange color on their back, the outer parts of their legs, and faces. Their horns are enormous compared to their bodies - only males have horns.

They mainly occur on the eastern side of Sub-Saharan Africa, starting from areas of the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa and stretching as far north as parts of central Kenya. The Kruger National Park and the northern parts of South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Botswana are between these two extremes of their range. The Black-faced Impala occurs in Namibia, including the Etosha National Park.

Scientific Name
Aepyceros melampus
50Kg (M) 40Kg (f)
Shoulder Height
90cm (M) 80cm (F)
Mating Season
April / May


Arguably one of the most, if not the most, abundant species of antelope in Southern Africa, the impala is not threatened. They have a substantial population of over 2 million, most of which inhabit protected areas or private land, approximately 25% and 50%, respectively. Overall the species is very stable and is still found in most places they historically occurred. The black-faced impala, a distinct sub-species, on the other hand, is nearing endangerment, mainly due to its rarity, even naturally, only being typically found in specific areas within Namibia.


Impala prefers grassland and savanna areas but is usually found on the edges because they prefer shorter, less dense patches of grass, bushes, shrubs, pods, shoots, and seeds from small trees. They depend on water in the dry season but can usually sustain themselves on green vegetation whenever available. These preferences occur in various habitats in the Kruger, although mainly in the southern and northern parts, which aren't dominated by the fowl-tasting leaves of Mopane leaves.

Social Organization

Males are territorial animals, but differently than most other antelopes. When these animals reproduce at the end of the wet season, males maintain territories to attract female herds but form bachelor herds or roam the landscape solitarily in the dry season. It is mainly due to prioritization. Finding food outweighs maintaining a territory only to mate for a few weeks of the year. Females and offspring form separate herds but change shape and size throughout the year, even daily, as members move back and forth.

Finest Safari Areas in Africa for Encountering Impala

We recommend the following National Parks and Private Reserves for the best chances of spotting the impala on safari game drives and bush walks.

Social Behavior

Among impalas, communication through scent is essential. Dominant males secrete a strong-smelling mixture from many glands under their fur and, oddly enough, also produce secretions from the skin on their forehead. They frequently rub their forehead against rocks and tree stumps when behaving territorially during mating season. Males have larger necks and a more muscular build during this time due to peaks in testosterone levels. When showing supremacy and defending territory, rams can produce a spectacular roar that you can hear up to 2km away.


As is typically the case, males enthusiastically approach females as soon as they pass through their territory. Females can conceive from as young as 1 ½ years, although males can only compete viably for females after they are over four years of age. Low-stretching and urine testing take place, and the two lick each other, after which copulation takes place. They then go their separate ways, although a male might mate with a few females before spending the rest of the year away from females. Gestation lasts between 194 and 200 days or about 6 ½ months.

Anti-Predator Behavior

The dense environment in which impalas live makes them vulnerable to predators, and they are easy prey for most large carnivores. They are quick to run or jump when hearing the slightest sound from nearby bushes or thickets. Lions, spotted hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, and crocodiles all prey on impalas. Large predatory birds and pythons also pose a threat. Their jumping abilities greatly assist them in outrunning predators.

The Big 5

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