The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Cape Buffalo

Afrikaans name: Buffel

A hard of Cape Buffalo in Kruger National Park

Cape Buffalo

Photo © Steven Herbert

Syncerus caffer

Interesting facts about Buffalos

The Cape Buffalo is also known as the African Buffalo. Surprisingly it is smaller than its distant cousin the Water Buffalo from Asia. Unlike the Water Buffalo the Cape Buffalo cannot be domesticated.

Standing up to 1.7 metres tall, over 3 metres in length, and weighing up to 900 kg, this is one large and potentially dangerous animal.

The Buffalo is one of the Big 5 mammal species along with the Lion, rhino, elephant and leopard.

In some game reserves, like Kruger National Park, you can find buffalo in huge herds numbering hundreds of individuals. Older bulls may be found singly in small groups. These older males have a reputation for being grumpy and can be a risk to humans.

Injured buffaloes, particularly ones that have been wounded by a hunter, are notoriously dangerous and may even ambush the hunter.

Buffalo live in a variety of habitats and feed off longer grasses. They need to get water each day and can often be seen near waterholes, rivers and dams.

The gestation period of a female buffalo is nearly twelve months. Although the bond between mother and calf is not that strong the herd will defend the young who may be predated on by Lions or hyenas. Nile Crocodiles may also attach a younger buffalo.

Cape Buffalo covered in mud

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - Cape Buffalos and mud go together like waffles and cream. They were made for eachother. This little girl had just had a mud bath in Hluhluwe Game Reserve.

Cape Buffalo bull

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - Old male Cape Buffaloes often lead solitary lives and are not creatures that you want to cross paths with when out walking in the bush. This old bull looks really grumpy.

Cape Buffalo bull

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - This Cape Buffalo bull was part of a large herd. He looks like he has been through many adventures and could tell an interesting story or two!

References and further reading

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 222

Wild Issue 9 - Author: - Published: 2010 - Page: 30

Wild Ways - 2nd Edition - Author: Peter Apps - Published: 2000 - Page: 171

Tracks and Tracking in Southern Africa - Author: Louis Liebenberg - Published: 2000 - Page: 126

The Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa - Author: P. Briggs - Published: 2020 - Page: 336

The Mammal Guide of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Burger Cillie - Published: 2011 - Page: 84

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 48

South African Animals in the Wild - Author: Anthony Bannister - Published: 1985 - Page: 32

Signs of the Wild - 5th Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Published: 1996 - Page: 202

Signs of the Wild - 3rd Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Published: 1986 - Page: 219

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 23

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 18

Mammals of the Kruger and other National Parks - Author: The National Parks Board - Published: 1980 - Page: 144

Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Burger Cillie - Published: 1987 - Page: 133

Maberlys Mammals of Southern Africa - Revised edition - Author: Richard Goss - Published: 1986 - Page: 301

Land Mammals of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Reay HN Smithers - Published: 1986 - Page: 189

Kruger National Park, Visitors Map 1996 - Author: - Published: 1996 - Page: 4

Kruger National Park Questions and Answers - Author: P.F. Fourie - Published: 1987 - Page: 146

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 415

Hit the Road - 2nd Edition - Author: MapStudio - Published: 2018 - Page: 147

Game Ranger in your Backpack - Author: Megan Emmett and Sean Pattrick - Published: 2013 - Page: 28

First Field Guide to Animal Tracks of Southern Africa - Author: Louis Liebenberg - Published: 2003 - Page: 55

Field Guide to the Mammals of the Kruger National Park - Author: U. de V. Pienaar et al. - Published: 1987 - Page: 132

Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 2001 - Page: 182

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Published: 2004 - Page: 167

Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1997 - Page: 106

Chris and Tilde Stuarts Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 1st Edit - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1988 - Page: 182

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Published: 1987 - Page: 13

An Introduction to the Larger Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Joanna Dalton - Published: 1987 - Page: 252

African Wildlife - A photographic safari - Author: Nigel and Wendy Dennis - Published: 1999 - Page: 30

A Field Guide to the Tracks & Signs of Southern and East African Wildlife - 3rd - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 2000 - Page: 72

A Field Guide to the Mammals of Africa including Madagascar - Author: Theodor Haltenorth and Helmut Diller - Published: 1980 - Page: 106


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List of South African Mammals

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