Regional Names

Afrikaans: Krokodil French: Crocodile
German: Nilkrokodil Nama:
Portuguese: Crocodilo-do-nilo Sesotho: Kwena
Shangaan: Ngwenya Shona: Ngwena / Garwe
Spanish: Cocodrilo del Nilo Swahili: Mamba
Tswana: Kwena Xhosa: Ngwenya
Zulu: Ingwenya
Average Body Dimensions Trophy Dimensions
Approximate max mass:  2,200 lb (1000 kg) Rowland Ward Minimum: 14’ (4,260m) : Method-18
Average length:  13.5’ – 20’ (4,1 – 6.1m) Rowland Ward Record: 17’ (99,7cm)
Spoor size front:  6.1” (156mm) SCI Minimum (Rifle):  67 / SCI Record (Rifle): 937/8 : Method-1
Spoor size rear: 10.1” (258mm) SCI Minimum (Bow):  60 / SCI Record (Bow): 89


The Nile crocodile is distributed throughout all the sub-Saharan warm water lake and river systems of Africa, but has been eradicated from most of these in the agricultural sectors of South Africa. It is also prevalent from its general distribution northwards along the entire Nile River right up to central Egypt almost reaching the Nile Delta. The largest specimens have been hunted in Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania* and Zimbabwe*.
* Top trophy destinations


Nile crocodiles are social and maintain a size-based hierarchy, but they are not territorial nor congregate in family groups. The largest and thus oldest males claim the primary basking areas and dominate feeding opportunities. Hierarchical breaches result in conflict and even fatalities. They can walk and can achieve bursts of speed of almost 9 mph (±14 kph). They rarely remain under water for longer than half an hour, but can remain under water for several hours under threat. Nile crocodile are opportunistic ambush predators from under water surfaces, but they sometimes set nocturnal ambushes up to ±50 yards from the water’s edge. During daytime they bask on sand banks to warm their blood and also to protect eggs.

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

Hunting tips

Historically Nile crocodiles have been hunted for commercial purposes at night from boats with the aid of artificial lights. The sport hunting of crocodiles involve stalking within range while they are basking and then shooting them. They are extremely alert and aware of vibrations on ground, so they are difficult to approach closely. I find the building of blinds and ambushing them while basking from blinds an effective method.

Sexual Differentiation

Males are larger than females. The Nile crocodile is the largest freshwater crocodile and the second largest extant reptile in the world. The saltwater crocodile is the largest.

Habitat & Food

Nile crocodiles are aquatic and live in warm freshwater systems, but do venture into brackish and sea water for short periods. Crocodiles have ectothermic metabolisms and can survive for months between meals. The bulk of their prey consists of antelopes, but they also eat fish and are responsible for large numbers of human deaths every year.

Rifle & Cartridge Recommendations

Crocodiles have very small brains and the skin on the side of their bodies are not that difficult to penetrate for heart shots. Normal jacketed soft point bullets that fragment (not varmint bullets) are recommended as the fragments often cause fatal trauma even if shot placement had been marginally imperfect. The Norma Kalahari, the GS Custom HV and European bullets work well. It is one of the few occasions that central European bullets such as the Evolution Green-, H-Mantel-, Uni Classic- from RWS are recommended.

Bolt Actions : Any accurate bolt action rifle will do provided it is equipped with suitable optics. Magnification in the 12x – 14x is recommended.

Bullets : Opt for premium bonded core bullets if muzzle velocities exceed about 2,700 fps (±825 ms).

Typical Cartridges :

.25-06 Remington 120-gr bullets
.257 Weatherby Magnum 120-gr bullets
.260 Remington 120-gr bullets
6,5x68mm 120-gr bullets
.264 Winchester Magnum 120-gr bullets
.270 Winchester & Magnums 130-gr bullets
7 x 64mm Brenneke 140-gr bullets
7mm Remington Magnum 145-gr bullets
.30-06 Springfield 165-gr bullets
.300 Winchester Magnums 165-gr bullets

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