The Rumbling Buffalo

The Rumbling Buffalo

When exploring the vast African Bush while on Nambiti, coming across one of Africa’s most dangerous Big 5, the Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer caffer) is an experience which will stay with you for years to come. Nambiti is home to around 180 Buffalo which were introduced in 2007. We originally introduced 15 bulls followed then by 15 cows in 2010 and another 10 cows in 2019.

The Cape Buffalo is one of the “Big 5” species, a vestige of the hunting era. The term “big five” was initially used to refer to the five most difficult and dangerous African animals to hunt on foot.

The Cape Buffalo is not one of the tallest animals, they stand only 130 – 150 cm (51 – 59 inches) tall and have relatively short legs, but they are massive in size, weighing 425 – 870 kg (935 – 1,910 pounds). Bulls are about 100 kg (220 pounds) heavier than cows, and their horns are thicker and usually wider, up to 100 cm (40 inches) across, with a broad shield (only fully developed at seven years) covering the forehead. The coat is thin and black, except in young calves, whose coats may be either black or brown.

One of the common misconceptions about Cape Buffalo is that they are docile animals and have the same temperament of a cow, however this is far from the truth. Cape Buffalo are formidable animals because of their large size and large horns. Herds will stick together and will charge together when threatened, a tactic which ensures that predators find preying on young and feeble animals quite challenging. In summary, the combination of size, aggression, and social behaviour makes Cape buffaloes formidable and dangerous creatures in Africa.

Within these herds, it is common to see calves. Cape Buffalo calves are born year-round after a 9-month gestation period. Buffalo calves do not have a laying up period, they will move with the herd keeping close to their mother for protection as soon as they can stand.

Nothing beats watching the magnificent herds feeding as the sun sets over the grasslands of Nambiti Private Game Reserve.