Impala dominance

After Clarens, and much wining and dining back in Johannesburg, Rob and I drove Mike and Karen, Hayley’s parents, to Pilanesberg, for a day of game watching and conversation and getting-to-know-each-other-better. We had a simply lovely time together, with two wonderful people.

At the very beginning of our game drive, on the far bank of the first dam, we came across this pair of male impala, duelling for dominance, while a harem of females browsed unconcernedly nearby.

The ground was arid, a dull sandy orange, much the same colour as the animals; the light was flat and the action was far away. Even with my 70-300mm zoom, equivalent to 450mm with the crop factor of the Nikon D500, I had to crop the images severely to get these pictures, and the absence of contrast posed a further challenge.

I was fascinated by the interlocking ironmongery of the horns, however, not to mention the strained bodies of the contestants, and so I offer these images not as great photos but simply as reference to the experience of watching this struggle in the wild for dominance and females.

2 responses to “Impala dominance”

  1. Great title ‘Impala Dominance’. #9 is almost an abstraction. One note, however. I found the term “game” disturbing. I looked it up to make sure the word has the same meaning that I bring to it and yes, It does. Merriam-Webster’s definition. “a (1) : animals under pursuit or taken in hunting; especially : wild animals hunted for sport or food”. I assume they are protected, or are they not? And, if so, why are they still referred to as “game”.


    1. Game is used pretty interchangeably with wildlife here in SA, I think – and yes, the animals in the Pilanesberg reserve are protected – though not from each other, of course. An impala is game – in the sense of ‘fair game’ – to the resident leopards and lions and cheetah, I’d imagine 🙂


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