IMPALA – Aepyceros melampus

Impala Ram

Exceptional Impala Ram

One of the most common antelope of sub-Saharan Africa, the impala is an evolutionary success story and is capable of living in many different conditions. They are one of the few animals in Africa that have increased their numbers and range over the past century despite human encroachment and threat.

Most hunters will not hunt in Africa without bagging at least one impala and often more as they are used extensively for leopard bait. They are very handsome antelope and their meat is tender and not gamey.


Impala are mixed feeders and live in herds of up to 20 animals, most active in the morning and evening. They have no preferred habitat but do tend to shy away from mountainous difficult terrain and are dependant upon water.

Their colour is a reddish brown which changes to pale brown and white halfway down their flanks and onto the belly. They have three unmistakable black stripes on their tail and buttocks.  They are the only hoofed animals that engage in reciprocal grooming and are the smallest antelope attended by ox-peckers and tick birds.

Herd of Impala

Typical Impala sighting

hunting tips – the calibre

Anything from a .22 Hornet upwards is a suitable rifle however despite their small size, Impala are tough animals and if vitals are not hit it is possible to lose them.

hunting tips – the trophy

A good male will have thick based horns, extending upwards and outwards a good deal before curling back and upwards. The tips of the horns tend to flair outwards and become shiny with age. Look at the body shape and size as well because many young males have impressive looking horns compared to their body size which is often quite small.

hunting tips – where

The East African Impala is found in east African countries and is mainly hunted in Tanzania. It is by far the largest subspecies with horns averaging 3-4 inches longer than others.

The Southern Impala has the widest distribution occurring in Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. Larger specimens are found in southern Zimbabwe and northern South Africa while the Zambian and Mozambique Impala have shorter horn.

Impala at water

Impala at water

The Black Faced Impala or Angolan Impala is listed on the CITIES I Appendix as they are in decline due to serious poaching. Surplus males are can be hunted from ranch herds in Namibia, yet the permit control is strict into the Untied States.

There are three distinct sub-species for hunting records, the East African Impala, the Southern Impala and the Black Faced Impala.

CITES – No restriction on the East and Southern sub-species but the Black Faced Impala or Angolan Impala is listed on Appendix I

SCI minimum scores

East African Impala – 60″

Southern Impala – 54″

Black faced Impala – 50″


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