Everything you need to know about Cape Buffalo on safari

Cape buffalo can be somewhat overlooked on safaris as wildlife enthusiasts seek out the big cats and majestic elephants during game drives. However, a sighting of a large herd of buffalo can be just as exciting, if not more so. Despite being herbivorous, buffalo work as a group to protect their young and aren’t afraid of using their strong bulk and prominent horns to fight off predators attempting to attack. In the famed “Battle at Kruger” a buffalo calf was saved by its herd when attacked by not only a lion but a crocodile as well!


Buffalo aren’t known to be territorial and the matriarchal females decide the direction the herd will travel during rest periods and will then be followed by the group. The herd interactions can be interesting and calves and males will sometimes spar as part of play.

Seeing a buffalo herd ward off a hungry lioness on the prowl is an unforgettable experience.

Experts view: Oliver Greenfield

The best place to see huge herds of buffalo is Kavati National Park in western Tanzania. During the dry season (June - October) rivers start to dry up necessitating the animals to gather near the dwindling water supplies.

Cape buffalo can be seen in huge numbers of the African plains, if you know when and where to go.

The Cape buffalo

Weighing in at around 1500lb (700kg) Cape buffalo are one of the largest African bovine creatures but they aren’t, surprisingly, related to domestic cattle. It is their distinctive fused horned skull that sets them apart and which protects them against predators such as lions.


Found in southern and eastern Africa, buffalo are known to live in a wide range of habitats from grasslands and forests to swamps and floodplains. Needing water daily it is necessary they migrate between water sources and this also determines the reproductive cycle of buffalo ensuring the young are born during the rainy season.


Being part of the African big five, Cape buffalo are susceptible to trophy hunting and are occasionally also hunted for their meat.

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