5 Interesting Facts | The African Buffalo


African (or Cape) Buffalo Syncerus caffer

The African Buffalo, aka the Cape Buffalo, is the only native African member of the bovini tribe that includes wild and domestic cattle, American bison etc.

The African Buffalo is massively built with short, powerful limbs and weighing in at up to 1750 lbs (793 kg). The hook-shaped horns of the African buffalo, which can grow up to 63" (1.6m) long, are often used to defend themselves against predators, such as lions, and also to show dominance between the males in the herd. The hard shield in the middle of the male's horns is called the boss.


Some good places where African Buffalo are abundant and relatively approachable are: Masai Mara Nature Reserve, Kenya; Ngorongoro Crater, Manyara National Park, Tanzania; Kafue National Park, Zambia; Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe and Kruger National Park, South Africa.


Did You Know?

  1. African Buffalo will often kneel down and rub their necks and heads on the ground in a display of aggression to establish dominance.
  2. Although not the fastest bovine at 35mph (56kph), African Buffalo can still outrun lions. However, predators can accelerate quicker making the buffalo easy to ambush.
  3. African Buffalo do not have very good eyesight but their hearing and especially their smell is exceptional.
  4. The African buffalo has a symbiotic relationship with many African birds such as the Oxpecker. They are often found eating insects off the buffalo and will also warn the buffalo of approaching danger.
  5. The old adage that an Elephant never forgets, well a Buffalo never forgives! There are many hunting tales that mention wounded buffaloes setting ambushes for hunters that follow or have attacked them in the past (even years before), by circling back on their own tracks, to stand and wait for the hunters that are tracking them. This has earned them the title "Black Death".

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