Regional Names

Afrikaans: Waterbok French: Cobe à croissant
German: Wasserbock Nama: Gampiris
Portuguese: Cob-untuoso Sesotho: Phitlwa
Shangaan: Mhitlwa Shona: Dhymukwa
Spanish: Antílope acuático Swahili: Kuru
Tswana: Piltwa, tumoga Xhosa: Phiva
Zulu: Phiva
Average Body Dimensions Trophy Dimensions
Average male mass:  595 lb (270 kg) Rowland Ward Minimum: 28” (71cm) : Method-7
Average shoulder height:  4.3’ (1,3m) Rowland Ward Record: 39¼” (99,7cm)
Spoor size front:  3.5” (90mm) SCI Minimum (Rifle):  67 / SCI Record (Rifle): 937/8 : Method-1
Spoor size rear: 3.5” (90mm) SCI Minimum (Bow):  60 / SCI Record (Bow) – 89


The common waterbuck is found along Africa’s south-east along the larger river regions or in water rich regions such as Botswana (northern), Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia (Caprivi Zipfel), Somalia, South Africa* (north-eastern), Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique*
* Top trophy destinations

Herds average 5-10 animals, temporary larger at times. At the age of 5-6 bulls establish smallish territories and bulls without territories establish bachelor herds. Territories are fiercely defended and fatalities are common. Herds often break into smaller groups in dry periods. They are most active during the cooler hours of the early morning and late afternoon and will graze at night.

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

Hunting tips

Find bull’s territory and work through it. Alternatively zig-zag along the water courses and adjacent floodplains.

Sexual Differentiation

Bulls have horns whilst cows do not.

Habitat & Food

Waterbuck are associated with water, but they are not aquatic. They occupy reed beds, grass- and floodplain type woodland provided there is cover. Waterbuck are grazers with a preference for tall grass and mostly remain within 1.3 miles (2 km) from water. The will browse on the rare occasion.

Rifle & Cartridge Recommendations

Except in very open areas shooting ranges rarely exceed 150 yards. Any moderate velocity medium or transition bore cartridge should perform well. Riflescopes with maximum magnification between 4x – 7x will be more than sufficient

Bolt Actions : Any decent bolt action rifle will do. So will single shot rifles.

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

Typical Cartridges :

.270 Winchester 150-gr bullets
7mm-08 Remington 150-gr bullets
7 x 64mm Brenneke 160-gr bullets
7mm Remington Magnum 175-gr bullets
.308 Winchester 180-gr bullets
.30-06 Springfield 200-gr bullets
.300 Winchester Magnum 220-gr bullets
.303 British 215-gr bullets
8 x 57 / 60 mm Mauser 223-gr bullets
.318 Westley Richards 250-gr bullets
.338-06 A-Square 275-gr bullets
.338 Winchester Magnum 275-gr bullets
.35 Whelen 250-gr bullets
9,3 x 62mm Mauser 286-gr bullets
.375 Ruger / H&H Magnum 300-gr bullets

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