It is the 23rd of October and here in the Klaserie Private nature reserve at Africa on Foot we have received our first rains. Rain is always welcome in the Kruger after a long dry winter! The bush springs to life with colorful plants and flowers, the wildlife also springs to life and many mammals, birds and reptiles become active and start to bare young!
The most noticeable of the animals is the Impala, who over a few days almost double in number. The Impala have a rutting season earlier on in the year where the males fight and compete for dominance and the rights to mate with as many females as possible. After just over six months the impala ewes give birth to a single lamb.
People used to believe that the baby impalas birth was linked to the rain and that the impala ewes could hold their young until the first rains arrived. This however is not accurate, and like all mammals impala have a certain gestation period. The only thing that can affect when the lambs are born is when the rut and mating takes place.
Impala are very easy to view and occur in large herds throughout the Kruger National Park, Sabi Sand, Timbavati, Balule. There is a very good reason why the ewes drop their lambs together, a form of survival which literally floods the market with young prey and enables at least a few to survive and help the small antelope population grow and survive. Impala make up the bulk as prey for all large predators within the Kruger and most of Africa.
So next time when you are on a South African safari and you see the common Impala, take a moment to notice how social and organized they are and remember what a huge role they play within the system!