I remember the first time I saw impala in the wild. I was genuinely enchanted, they typify what’s most captivating about antelope; they’re elegant, beautifully coloured and move with speed and grace. I think I said something earnest like “what are they? They’re gorgeous!” Everyone else looked at me with a mixture of surprise and knowing, but patient pity.
You see, impala are EVERYWHERE in east Africa, you can’t open a door or turn a corner without tripping over them, so you quickly become accustomed to their existence – like pigeons in London, only the tourists pay them any attention (and they’re likely insane anyway, only the insane go on holiday to London).
If you’re not insane, most people go through the following stages of encountering impala in the wild:
Stage 1: Wonder – “Wow, they’re gorgeous, look at the colours. Look at them run and jump! And there’s so many of them! I love Africa, I love impala!”
Stage 2: More impala – “Wow, impala are great. But there’s quite a lot of them aren’t there?”
Stage 3: Oh, more impala. Again – “Oh look, more impala. I wonder if there’s anything else around here?”
Stage 4: Even more impala – “I see something over there! What is it? Oh never mind, just more impala”. “Wait! What’s that over there? I think I saw a lion. Oh no, sorry, just impala again.”
Stage 5: Impala death – “Wouldn’t it be cool to see lions catch and eat some of those impala?” “YES!” (Everyone else in the vehicle).
ds413 December 23rd, 2014 Kenya archive