Meet Africa’s Big Five: the Buffalo (5/5)

Africa’s “Big Five” animals are so-named because they’re the most dangerous to bump into in the bush!

The African, or “Cape” Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is the most cantankerous member of Africa’s Big Five – do NOT upset this weighty bovid, which can charge at the hint of a threat, accelerating its 200kg worth of horn and skull up to 40 km/h. In a panelbeater’s paradise, buffalo would wander the streets.

The size of an average buffalo varies with its home habitat. In the wild, they can live in many different types of terrain; the forest-bound buffalo is significantly smaller than its savannah-roaming cousin.




Game drive tip: Keep your distance from a herd of buffalo that’s about to cross the road. The buffalo’s motto is “offense is the best defense”; it will never rule out a charge, or mock-charge, and often doesn’t appreciate the sound of a vehicle’s cooling fan disturbing its peace. This is especially true of members of buffalo “bachelor herds”, comprising male animals that are too old to belong to breeding herds.

If your rear wheels happen to be stuck in mud while a bachelor herd is drifting past on either side (as happened to Your Correspondent on one sticky occasion), turn the motor off and sit tjoep-stil – that is, very still – until they’re gone, and don’t break the vehicle’s shape by sticking your head out a window!