Impalas…70 to 80 in our yard… We observed quietly and still… Closeup video and photos…

Even the little ones, learn to stand watch.

Please click here for interesting facts about Impalas.

Check out these touching photos of a lioness adopting an orphaned baby Impala…

Impalas are everywhere. Preferring open spaces, even at night, we saw them in huge numbers while on safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya, and now in both Marloth Park and Kruger National Park, next door to one another.

This is the most common antelope of the bushveld regions of South Africa. A very graceful, rufous-fawn antelope, with white underparts, measuring approximately 900mm at the shoulders. Rams weigh around 132 pounds, 60 Kg, and ewes, 88 pounds, 40 Kg. A black stripe extends from the top of the rump down the back of each thigh. The lower hind legs have glands beneath tufts of black hair. Only the rams have horns which are lyre-shaped, and reach a length of 27.56 inches, 700mm.”

Here’s our impala video that was taken on Friday, January 3, 2014.
With the numbers of them readily available it’s easy to take them for granted paying little attention when passing by. Very shy and cautious, they leap into the air, taking shelter, if humans or other wildlife approaches.
We had no alternative but to take the photos and video while seated on the veranda to avoid scaring off the Impalas.

Oddly, on the same day the giraffes visited on Friday for which we posted yesterday’s story, photos, and videos, the impalas arrived on the same day, just as the giraffes were wandering off.  

Our attention was torn between the two until we realized it wasn’t 10 or 15 impalas standing in front of our veranda across the driveway in the bush, it was 70 to 80 (we lost count). We couldn’t have been more excited. However, the reality of their skittishness made us whisper as to how we’d go about taking photos. We could easily determine which were assigned “watch duty.”

After we took these obstructed photos, we switched to taking the included video.

Tom was seated in his favorite Adirondack chair, somewhat behind me, without me blocking his view and I was seated at the table with a partially blocked view due to the protective railing on the veranda. It was impossible to stand, even with the least possible movement, or in a few seconds, they’d be gone.

Impalas have a keen eye, quick to spot a potential predator and to them, that may as well be us. Always keeping the camera within reach, requiring the least amount of movement, I gingerly managed to pick it up and take photos from my chair, albeit through the spaces in between the thick wood western-style railing.

The stripes on their rumps make it easy to determine they are impalas. Other species in the Antelope family look similar without the stripes.

As most of you photographers know, zooming in to a subject creates a ton of jittery action. With my unsteady bad, right shoulder, and no tripod, this is quite a challenge. They are moving constantly so I was at a disadvantage. The video was the only option. 

If I could zoom in enough to get between the railing, steadying my elbows on the table, with the least amount of movement, I could possibly get the video. Keep in mind, I am a neophyte with photography, having only made an effort to get good photos over the past eight months ago.  

We’d ordered the new camera, arriving in a box of supplies that we received at a UPS store on April 13, 2013, when our ship docked in Florida for one day. We were on a back-to-back cruise, taking a taxi to pick up the box. Once we opened the box for the camera, we put everything back inside, saying “We’ll do this later.” 

A single Duiker stopped by while the Impalas were here.

I was intimidated with all the instructions (I never read instructions) and parts and didn’t want to spoil the second part of the cruise caught up in technology. As it turned out, it wasn’t until May 2013 that I finally opened the box and inquired within, foregoing the use of the tiny Samsung Camera that had sufficed up to that point.

Intimidated as I was by cameras when we first left the US, we had foolishly believed that we could take photos using our new high tech Smartphones. Little did we know at the time how our readership would grow and how interested, we’d become in preserving our experiences.  

At a port of call in Mexico in early January, while still on our first cruise through the Panama Canal, we got off the ship to purchase the cheap pink Samsung camera (pink was all they had, like the pink car we have now) at a Walmart store walking distance from the pier.  

Even then, we thought the little camera would fulfill our needs. Ha! But only a few months later, as our interest peaked at taking photos (finally!) we knew it was time to upgrade.  

Any jittery aspects to my video taking are my own issue, the painful unsteady right shoulder (I’m right-handed) that tires quickly and painfully when holding up the camera. How we ever took 600 photos at the Masai Mara escapes me. I had to fashion a sling for my arm to wear for days after that glorious experience. “Safari luck” served us well when the shoulder didn’t become immobilized until we got back to our home in Diani Beach days later.  

While taking today’s included video of the Impalas, I held up until the last few seconds when I could no longer hold up the arm. Thus, the jittery end. In any case, we’re pleased to have been able to get what we did, seated, between the railing and free of any movement that could scare them off. 

They lingered for a half hour or so as we sat mesmerized by their gracefulness and beauty. In a flash, a distant sound startled them and they quickly began the trek through the yard, down the same worn path that most visitors seem to prefer when they decide they’re on their way to greener pastures.  

This path allows us one more distant peek at the visitors, as they wander single-file along the path. Finally, we stood up, un-kinking our stiff joints, all the while shaking our heads and reveling in yet another extraordinary day; giraffes, impalas, three videos (see yesterday’s post); over a period of only a few hours.

Having dined out many times in the past few weeks, we decided to prepare our meals over the weekend, but not without a trip to the Crocodile River for more, and more and more.

Tomorrow, we’ll share our itinerary for the upcoming 500+ days and details of a three-day trip we’ve booked from January 15th to January 18th to explore another amazing area in South Africa, touted as a “must-do” by those who live here.  

It will be hard to leave. But, we know it’s time to expand our horizons while living in this vast country of South Africa, which has proven to have much to offer.  

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