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Buffalo
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Buffalo

Buffalo in Africa | Expert Africa

One of the celebrated so-called Big Five, the buffalo’s fearsome reputation derives largely from hunters’ tales. Visitors will usually find this big, sociable bovid to be a largely placid animal – although courageous in defence against predators.


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Quick facts about Buffalo

Scientific name: Syncerus caffer Habitat: Floodplains, mixed bush & moist grasslands
IUCN status: Near-threatened Adult weight: 500–950kg

The African or Cape buffalo is Africa’s only wild cattle species and should not be confused with the domestic water buffalo. The subspecies inhabiting southern and eastern Africa (S.c. caffer) is the larger of two, the other being the smaller, reddish forest buffalo of west and central Africa (S.c. nanus).

Males are imposing beasts: larger than females, their curved horns meet at the base in a bony shield, called a boss. Buffalos are bulk grazers and must drink daily.

Their social structures are matriarchal, and herds may coalesce in huge gatherings of more than 1,000. Older males form smaller, separate groups. Lions are a constant threat, but buffalo herds co-operate to repel the big cats – sometimes even killing them.


1.7m

Max. shoulder height (male)

164cm

Record horn span (tip to tip)

±400,000

Today’s population

11 months

gestation period

Africa's top camps for seeing buffalos

Based on 1110 reports by our travellers since Mar 2018, the camps below have the best chances of sighting buffalos. Simply follow the key below.


Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Top 10 camps for buffalo

% of travellers who saw buffalo

Top 10 camps for buffalo

% of travellers who saw buffalo

Where to see buffalo in Africa

Buffalo require a combination of thick bush for cover and open grasslands for grazing. They are reasonably common in most large parks and reserves across east and southern Africa, except for in the drier south-west parts of the continent.


Top tips for viewing buffalo

A large herd of buffalos on the move, filling the air with dust, is one of the more impressive sights of the bush. During the rainy season, herds move constantly in search of fresh grazing and may quickly disappear, leaving only the evidence of their passing – the trampled ground splattered with droppings. During the dry season, herds throng to waterholes, wading in deep and jostling for position.

Parks with impressive buffalo populations include Tsavo East and West (Kenya), Serengeti, Ruaha and Selous (Tanzania), Luangwa (Zambia), Hwange (Zimbabwe) and Chobe and Moremi (Botswana).

Lions often tail buffalos, so remaining in a herd’s vicinity may produce some action. Old bulls tend to hang out around wallows and waterholes. Vulnerable to lion attack, and thus edgy and aggressive, these individuals require a wide berth when you’re on foot.

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Holiday ideas to see buffalos

Based on our travellers experiences, these are the holidays which will give you the best chances of buffalo sightings


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Rock Hare Self-drive Safari

20 days • 12 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

An in-depth look to Namibia including from the Namib Desert to Victoria Falls and everything in between. This three-week self-drive adventure includes unrivalled mix of environments and great value.

US$4,670 - US$5,970 per person

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The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.

US$12,470 - US$15,070 per person

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Black-footed Cat Safari

14 days • 6 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

Combine three of southern Africa's most iconic destinations in this exciting and varied safari. Discover the world's oldest desert in Namibia, seek iconic wildlife in Botswana and gaze in wonder at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

US$11,120 - US$19,560 per person

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Wild Dog Safari

13 days • 5 locations
KASANE AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

An in-depth discovery of northern Botswana’s wilderness, from Chobe and the private Kwando Reserve to the Moremi and iconic Okavango Delta with a great variety of activities and wildlife.

US$9,180 - US$15,600 per person

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Marabou Stork Fly-in Safari

13 days • 5 locations
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO DAR ES SALAAM AIRPORT

Four luxurious camps enable exploration of Tanzania’s north and southern regions. With a range of land and water-based activities available throughout, decidedly comfortable accommodation and applicable long-stay discounts, this adventurous safari is excellent value.

US$13,390 - US$18,440 per person

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Leopard Safari

13 days • 4 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Victoria Falls, Botswana and Cape Town – a classic southern African itinerary combining luxury, wilderness, safari and culture. We can't think of a better way to spend two weeks.

US$8,070 - US$11,030 per person

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Golden Monkey Safari

12 days • 5 locations
KIGALI AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

The perfect itinerary for those who want see everything that Rwanda has to offer. Combine four key areas on this excellent value trip, for a true wildlife and cultural experience.

US$8,960 - US$9,990 per person

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Sable Self-drive Safari

12 days • 7 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

A great value southern African self-drive adventure from Namibia along the Caprivi Strip to Botswana and Zimbabwe, combining otherworldly landscapes, unforgettable wildlife spectacles, rarely visited places and ending at Victoria Falls.

US$2,870 - US$3,910 per person

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Great Egret Safari

12 days • 4 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

A wonderfully varied adventure to Botswana and Zimbabwe combining three fantastic safari areas, a luxury river cruise and the mighty Victoria Falls.

US$7,180 - US$11,560 per person

View all holidays to Africa

Our top destinations for buffalos

Click below for detailed information about buffalos in these countries, including our latest sightings data from the camps and lodges there.


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