(A.k.a Southern- or the African savannah buffalo)

Regional Names

Afrikaans: Buffel French: Buffle d’ Afrique
German: Steppenbüffel Portuguese: Búfalo do Cabo
Nama: |Goab Shangaan: Nyarhi
Sotho: Nare Spanish: Búfalo Africano negro
Shona: Nyathi Swahili: Mbogo
Tswana: Nare Xhosa: iNyathi
Zulu: iNyati
Average Body Dimensions Trophy Dimensions
Average male mass: 1,550 lb (700 kg) Rowland Ward Minimum: 42″ (106.5cm) : Method-12
Average shoulder height 4.6’ (1,40m) Rowland Ward Record: 64″ (162,6cm)
Spoor size front: 4.7″ (120mm) SCI Minimum (Rifle): 101 / SCI Record (Rifle) 141 : Method-10
Spoor size rear: 4.7″ (120mm) SCI Minimum (Bow): 90 / SCI Record (Bow) 135 4/8


Angola (south-eastern), Botswana, Burundi, Ethiopia (south-western), Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa,Tanzania, Uganda (southern), Zaire (eastern), Zambia and Zimbabwe.


The social complexity of buffalo are often underestimated. Most herds vary from about 50 to a few hundred, but in that structure cow dominated hierarchical family units comprising of relatives are distinguishable. In the mixed sex and age herds adult bulls maintain a dominance hierarchy. Non-breeding males form into relative based bachelor groups which gradually die out until solitary bulls remain. Herds occupy clearly defined home ranges that rarely overlap. They are inquisitive and fearless and will often stare and approach one to apply their acute smell to overcome their relatively poor eyesight. Cape buffalo are not renowned for good hearing either. They are diurnal, but usually graze at night or during cooler times of the day. Watering times take place in the cooler early and late afternoon hours of the day.

* Read more in Game Animals of the World by Chris & Tilde Stuart Hunting tips

Exploit their inquisitiveness unless they are hunting-wise. Dominant herd bulls becoming aware of your presence will drop back to investigate your presence and that offer opportunities. Another common hunting method is based on finding bachelor herd spoor and pursuing that. Make very sure of the first shot as it will offer the best potential for success. A wounded buffalo can become a hand full and can absorb incredible punishment without flinching once pumped up on aggravation and adrenalin. Over the years much debate has been generated about the selection of solid or soft bullets with convincing arguments supporting all the different views. Bullets have come a long way since the advent of the arguments. The one argument rejected by the author is to use a soft point bullet so as to not shoot through the animal and wound others behind it. The solution is to wait rather than shoot when unsure about other animals behind the target. The modern monometal expanding bullet such as the Peregrine Bushmaster is a perfect single solution for all buffalo hunting. It is sturdy, expands but otherwise retains the characteristics of a solid, retains weight and penetrates deeply in linear fashion. Another solution is the Barnes TSX bullet.

Sexual Dimorphism

Males are heavier than females and develop heavier horns with bigger bosses. Horns with widest spread on record belongs to a female.

 Habitat & Food

Savannah dwelling grazers that remain near water and exhibit a predilection for access to shade. They have a preference for grasses that grow in dense swards. They often wallow in mud

Rifle & Cartridge

Bolt Actions : When backed-up by a PH any rifle design can be used. When hunting alone a controlled feed design as a Dakota M-76, Enfield P-14/Mod-17, Kimber Caprivi, Mauser M-98, Montana 1999, Springfield M-1903, Ruger M-77 RSM or Hawkeye, or Winchester Safari should be considered.

Double Rifles : Boxlock or sidelock. It is immaterial in modern trophy hunting situations whether the rifle has ejectors or not.

Single Shot Rifles : Not recommended once following-up is required.

Bullets : The flat-nosed, large meplat, hydraulic expansion Peregrine Bushmaster is the first choice, followed by the Barnes TSX. If non-expanding solids are opted for consider (in alphabetic not preferred order) the South African made Dzombo, GS Cusom FN, Peregrine FN solids, or the foreign Barnes solid, the North Fork Premium Flat Cup-point solid, or the Woodleigh/Speer hydro-dynamically (not static) stabilised monometal bullet.

Cartridges : Large (≥ .400″ bore) and Super Bore (≥ .465″) are required. The various .375’s can be used where legal and if the hunter is more accurate with these than larger calibres. Do not go overbore on power unless very used to such cartridges as it affects hunter accuracy and between shot recovery time.

Typical Cartridges :

.375 H&H Magnum 300-gr bullets
.375 Ruger 300-gr bullets
.378 Weatherby Magnum 300-gr bullets
.450/400 400-gr bullets
.400 H&H Belted Magnum 400-gr bullets
.500/416 Krieghoff 400-gr bullets
.416 Ruger 400-gr bullets
.416 Rigby 400-gr bullets
.404 Jeffery 400-gr bullets
.425 Westley Richards 410-gr bullets
.450 No.2 480-gr bullets
.458 Lott 480-gr bullets
.458 African 500-gr bullets
.450 Rigby Rimless 550-gr bullets
.460 Weatherby Magnum 550-gr bullets
.500/465 H&H NE 480-gr bullets
.470 NE 500-gr bullets
.505 Magnum Gibbs 525-gr bullets
.500 NE 3″ 570-gr bullets
.500 Jeffery 535-gr bullets

* Read more in African Medium Bore Cartridges by Pierre van der Walt