The five stages of watching impala

Botswana

I was genuinely enchanted the first time I saw impala in the wild.

They typify what’s most captivating about antelope; they’re elegant, beautifully coloured, and they move with speed and grace. I think I said something overly earnest like “they’re so beautiful!”

My remember my companions looked at me with a mixture of surprise, and pity.

Impala herd
Impala: like pigeons in London, kind of.

You see, impala are all over the place in southern and eastern Africa. You can’t open a door or turn a corner without tripping over one, so you quickly become accustomed to their existence.

When exposed to impala, most people go through the following stages:

Stage 1: Wonder: “Wow, they’re gorgeous. Look at them run and jump. And there’s so many of them. I love Africa, I love impala.”

Stage 2: More impala: “Impala are great. But there’s quite a lot of them isn’t there?”

Stage 3: Impala indifference: “Oh look, more impala. I wonder if there’s anything else around here?”

Stage 4: Impala fatigue: “What’s that over there? Oh never mind, just more impala… Wait! I think I saw a lion. Oh no, sorry, just impala again.”

Stage 5: Impala murder: “Wouldn’t it be cool to see lions catch and eat some of those impala?” “YES!” (Everyone else in the vehicle).