What you will find a lot of at Nambiti Private Game Reserve, as with most game parks, are Impala. Hundreds of them. Now, I don’t know how you are with buck but I admit that, even after all these years of visiting game reserves, I still mix my buck up a little. Some are more obvious, like the Waterbuck, but others look pretty similar to me. So I thought, for the sake of any others who share this confusion, I’d pepper these blog posts with a short series on the different buck you will most definitely spot at Nambiti, either on your way to Nambiti Hills Private Game Lodge or when going on one of the wonderful game drives.
Let’s start with the Impala.
A medium-sized antelope, the impala is graceful and slender with a reddish-brown body, white hair inside the ears, over each eye and also on the chin. The white hair continues along the upper throat, the impala’s underparts and its buttocks. It is further distinguished by a narrow black stripe that runs along the lower part of its back to its tail. As well as a vertical stripe on the back of thighs. If you manage to see the heels of its hind leg through the long grass, you will spot brushlike tufts of coarse black hair. These tufts cover a scent gland located just above the heel.
Impalas stand at around 90 centimetres tall, can leap as much as 3 metres in the air, and can cover a distance of 9 metres in a single bound. When in danger, they leap, zig-zag and even jump over each other to confuse predators. You’ll find them at the edge of grassland or woodland, usually close to water.
If you thought flashing was confined to the city, think again. Male impalas are prone to engage in what is termed “tongue flashing”. In order to attract females or warn off fellow males, they repeatedly stick out their tongues. Hmmm, that’s something else worth looking out for next time you go on a mini-safari through Nambiti. Maybe not quite in the league as spotting a lion kill but a good conversation topic around the bar at Nambiti Hills nonetheless.
Speaking of the bar, I’ll see you there this weekend. We’ll catch up then.
- Siobhan Gunning, writer and wildlife enthusiast