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The Wilderness Society

Ode to the Impala: a photo essay

So I’ve been thinking about what to write about on my first blog for Africa Geographic for about 2 months now…I’m normally overflowing with stuff to write about and share but this time I almost got ‘stage-fright’. Well, I’m over that now and I thought I would start off with something simple and graceful, instead of breaking down the door with a bang.

The Impala.

Stately and graceful…and plentiful…this third quality I listed probably contributes to its undervaluation as a wildlife sighting or photographic opportunity. In areas like the Greater Kruger Park I will give you a surety of 100 to 1 in odds that your first sighting upon entering the park will be impala. They just seem to be there in limitless numbers. Yet these populous antelopes can also provide some interesting moments, if one dares to sit with them a while and observe instead of the customary drive-by. I get that many overseas visitors to Africa want to move on to “bigger things” given their often limited time in the reserves…but those that have a passion for watching natural history unfold will do well to spend some time with them next time you are in the field.

impala at dusk

This lovely buck posed like a professional model under the pink skies of a Savute sunset. ©Morkel Erasmus

impala and oxpecker


The enjoyment is visible on this young buck’s face as a Red-Billed Oxpecker applies some TLC. ©Morkel Erasmus

male impala fighting

Those who have seen impalas in rut will know that the males can really have at it. The intensity is
visible in their eyes here. ©Morkel Erasmus

male impala development stages

These two young males show separate stages of horn development. ©Morkel Erasmus

impala with oxpecker

This female was tagging a birdie along for a ride. © Morkel Erasmus

impala

Close-up study of this graceful antelope in the best kind of light. © Morkel Erasmus

impala feeding young

A young fawn receives much-needed nourishment from its vigilant mother. © Morkel Erasmus

Male impala

The last rays of daylight kiss and envelope this stately buck’s profile. ©Morkel Erasmus

impala jumping

Super Impala! © Morkel Erasmus

There you have it. I hope these images have inspired you to stay just a few minutes longer at your next impala sighting. Let’s appreciate all the wonderful critters on the African continent.

It may look like he's a full-time guide or a full-time photographer, but the truth is he's neither. Morkel Erasmus grew up with a love for the wild places and wild animals of Africa like many South Africans do. The problem is that he became obsessed with capturing their enigmatic beauty when he first picked up a camera. When he's not being a family man or working as an Industrial Engineer you can find him as far away from civilisation as possible...with a camera in hand. Morkel now leads safaris for Wild Eye in his spare time, and spends a lot of time sharing his knowledge and passion with others online. Check out more of his work at www.morkelerasmus.com

  • Simon Espley

    Always lekker to see the play-school groups come breeding season in the bushveld 🙂

  • Debbie Morris

    It was a book called ” The Golden Impala” that I read as a nine year old that placed that yearning to go to Africa in my heart and mind. Thankfully my yearning has been met many times.

  • Thanks Simon and Debbie for your comments!

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