The Impala Lily, also sometimes called the Desert Rose or Sabi Star, grows in northern KwaZulu-Natal, eastern Mpumalanga and Limpopo, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, extending further to Malawi and Zambia. Most of its range in South Africa therefore falls within the Kruger National Park, and most of the park’s rest camps contain many examples of these decorative beauties.
It is a deciduous, succulent shrub that can grow up to 3 metres high, with a thick trunk and woody base with many thick and fleshy, short branches arranged in spirals.
The Impala Lily, that has been compared to a miniature baobab tree, flowers mainly in winter when the surrounding vegetation is rather dull by comparison to the brilliant white, pink and red flowers that cover these small trees. It is indeed a beautiful sight every time you see it!
The plant contains certain toxins that are harmful to domestic stock although they are seldom eaten by animals; however Chacma Baboons have been seen uprooting whole plants to feed on the tuberous rootstock. The toxins are used by the Bushmen as poisons for their arrowheads, although usually in conjunction with the toxins from another plant. Other San cultures use different species of the Impala Lily as treatments for snakebites and scorpion stings. The watery latex-like substance in the Impala Lily is also made into a “magic potion” used by many different African cultures both in South Africa and Mozambique.
For your chance to see this stunning plant in full bloom, visit the Kruger National Park with us in winter when it is easier to spot animals and the temperatures are milder. On our popular Southern Kruger Safari we visit several camps with many Impala Lily plants dotted in the grounds. Browse through this safari to see what it’s all about or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.