Impala [Aepyceros melampus]


This is the most common antelope of the bushveld regions of South Africa. A very graceful, rufous-fawn antelope, with white underparts, measuring approximately 900mm at the shoulders. Rams weigh around 60 Kg and ewes 40 Kg.

A black stripe extends from the top of the rump down the back of each thigh. The lower hind legs have glands beneath tufts of black hair. Only the rams have horns which are lyre-shaped, and reach a length of 700mm.


The Impala is a mixed feeder. It browses on shrubbery and grazes grass on gently undulating or flat terrain. Acacia pods and fruits are taken when available.
©Robert Hofmeyr


Following a gestation period of 194-200 days single calves are born during early summer. An ewe is sexually mature at two years of age. Young rams can breed as yearlings, but are prevented to do so by territorial rams, which dominate reproductive opportunities.


Herds seldom wander more than eight km from permanent water supply. Renowned for their spectacular leaps over shrubs and bushes, when alarmed. Rutting occurs during early winter months. Young rams live in bachelor herds, and those strong enough to be successful in establishing territories, become solitary within their respective domains during the rut. Females live in breeding herds.


Its preferred habitat is woodland savannahs of the northern and eastern districts of South Africa, and in countries beyond.
©Shem Compion


The Impala is preyed upon by most of the large carnivores and the young often fall prey to Pythons. The Impala are therefore on constant alert. Should one of them spot danger, it will snort an alarm and the whole herd will scatter. It is one of the treats offered by nature to see this antelope perform their incredible 3 metre high and 12 metre long leaps.

Vital Statistics

Latin Name
Aepyceros Melampus
Weight (Female)
40 kg
Weight (Male)
50 kg
Gestation Period
6,5 months
No of Young
1 lamb
Sexual Maturity
13 months
Birth Weight
5 kg
55 cm


A single young is born from September - January after a gestation period of about 6 months.
©Shem Compion

Spoor Description

Hooves are sharp, neat and pointed and 4 - 6 cm long.

Field Notes

One of the more common antelope of the African savannah, Impala have been referred to as the Macdonalds of the bush as they are of the most common prey for predators. The distinction markings on the rump also resemble the company logo to a degree.
Kruger National Park - South African Safari