Interesting Facts About African Cape Buffalo

African Cape Buffalo – The Cape buffalo, often observed as a prominent member of the Big 5, is frequently sighted grazing in herds across the African plains. Here are 10 intriguing facts about these large bovids.

Scientific Classification

Common Name: African cape buffalo, cape buffalo, savanna buffalo

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Artiodactyla

Family: Bovidaen

Genus Species: Syncerus (together horns) caffer

Interesting Facts

The horns of Cape buffaloes serve as reliable indicators of age and gender. Unlike large adult males, females and young males lack the hard shielding protecting the base of the skull.

These highly social animals form large, mixed herds comprising up to 2000 members! Within these herds, both sexes maintain separate hierarchies, with males exerting dominance over females. Members of the same subgroup maintain close contact, often sleeping with their heads resting on one another.

While often mistaken for the Asian water buffalo, the African buffalo is a distinct species, though they share many characteristics.

Cape Buffaloes are one of the largest bovid species in Africa, with males, known as bulls, weighing up to 910 kg (2,000 lbs) and standing up to 1.7 meters (5.6 feet) tall at the shoulder. Females, known as cows, are slightly smaller.

Cape Buffaloes are carriers of several diseases that can be transmitted to livestock and humans, including tuberculosis and foot-and-mouth disease. This makes them a significant concern for conservationists and livestock farmers in some areas.

Cape Buffaloes hold cultural significance in many African societies, featuring prominently in traditional myths, rituals, and folklore.

Cape buffaloes are always found within a day’s walk of a water source, especially crucial during the dry season when they predominantly feed on dried grasses.

Known for their potentially dangerous behavior when cornered or injured, Cape buffaloes have earned a fearsome reputation. Many stories recount encounters where injured buffaloes have retaliated against hunters, highlighting their formidable strength and defensive instincts.

Where to see African Cape Buffaloes


African Cape Buffaloes can be found in various countries across sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in national parks and game reserves. Here are some popular destinations where you can see these magnificent animals:

  1. Kenya: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park, and Tsavo National Park are among the prime locations for spotting Cape Buffaloes in Kenya.
  2. Tanzania: Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Selous Game Reserve are renowned for their populations of Cape Buffaloes.
  3. South Africa: Kruger National Park, Addo Elephant National Park, and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park are some of the best places to see Cape Buffaloes in South Africa.
  4. Botswana: Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve offer excellent opportunities to observe Cape Buffaloes in their natural habitat.
  5. Zimbabwe: Hwange National Park, Mana Pools National Park, and Matobo National Park are known for their Cape Buffalo populations.
  6. Namibia: Etosha National Park and Waterberg Plateau Park are potential spots to encounter Cape Buffaloes, although they are not as abundant as in some other countries.
  7. Uganda: Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park are two of many locations where you might have a chance to see a number of Cape Buffaloes during a safari.
  8. Zambia: South Luangwa National Park and Kafue National Park are popular destinations for wildlife enthusiasts seeking sightings of Cape Buffaloes.

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