Botswana Wildlife Guide

Impala [Aepyceros melampus]

Best places to see Impala in Botswana

Common throughout Botswana but are widespread in the northern regions of Chobe and forested parts of the Okavango Delta. The impala is rarely seen west of the Delta or south of the Nxai Pan.


Late April into May is a time when strange sounds echo across the northern Botswana wilderness. The sounds resemble rumbling roars and snorting. These are the sounds of male impala during the rutting [mating] season. Male impala are extremely busy at this time of the year - mating with the females in his harem while trying to keep other males away.

The impala is the most widespread antelope in northern Botswana and due to its abundance this elegantly beautiful antelope is generally overlooked by visitors on safari - except when it is hanging in a tree or being eaten or chased.

Impala, Springbok and Predators

Impala do not generally occur in the more arid regions of Southern Africa and for this reason the distribution patterns oppose those of the springbok - with overlapping in the distributions happening in only a few places.

In Botswana there is an overlapping of the distribution of the two species in Nxai Pan. It is a common occurrence to see the two species around the same waterhole in Nxai Pan - an unusual scene in other parts of southern Africa.

As they are the most abundant antelope they are the most common prey for predators and in particular of wild dogs. When startled by predators a group of impala will scatter in a number of directions in an attempt to confuse the predators.

Although not the fastest runners impala are very agile, being able to jump as high as three metres. Personal observations have recorded impala jumping more than two and a half meters high and ten meters long.

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