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Where to see Buffalo in Zambia

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.


Max. shoulder height (male)


Record horn span (tip to tip)


Today’s population

11 months

gestation period

The top camps for seeing buffalo in Zambia

Based on 652 reports by our travellers since Mar 2018, visitors at these camps in Zambia have the best chances of sighting buffalo.

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 Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous) (Tanzania), Luangwa (Zambia), Hwange (Zimbabwe) and Chobe and MoremiMoremi (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.


Our best Zambia holidays for buffalo sightings

Based on our travellers' reports, these ideas for Zambia safaris are likely to give the best buffalo sightings

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Duiker Safari

10 days • 3 locations

Three luxurious bushcamps in stunning riverside locations, split between the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi national parks, offer a wide variety of expert-guided safari activities in stunning game-rich environments.

US$8,060 - US$10,020 per person

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Crawshay's Zebra Safari

10 days • 4 locations

This superb safari combines two of Zambia’s best national parks, the South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi. The camps are small and high quality with excellent safari guides.

US$9,760 - US$13,820 per person

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Civet Safari

9 days • 4 locations

Combining three intimate bushcamps in the quieter south of the South Luangwa, this safari will appeal to those looking for an interesting mix of walking and vehicle safari.

US$7,480 - US$9,230 per person

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Defassa Waterbuck Safari

9 days • 3 locations

Stay in three intimate, owner-run camps during this exploration of Kafue National Park. Remote locations, true wilderness and a range of activities make for a real adventure off the beaten track.

US$8,240 - US$8,670 per person

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Robin Pope Walking Safari

7 days • 3 locations

The definitive, original mobile walking safari; explore the remote north of the South Luangwa on foot while staying in a simple mobile camp that moves with the group.

US$6,500 - US$7,870 per person

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Vervet Monkey Safari

7 days • 2 locations

Explore the world-class wildlife of Zambia’s South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi national parks in considerable luxury, guided by experts from two sister camps renowned for their excellent level of care.

US$8,370 - US$10,990 per person

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Slender Mongoose Safari

5 days • 2 locations

A detailed exploration of Lower Zambezi from two top-notch sister camps, each in a prime location in the national park. Expect a high level of care, first-class guiding and superb wildlife.

US$6,270 - US$8,400 per person

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Perekani Walking Trail

10 days • 5 locations

Five smart but rustic bushcamps are the comfortable staging posts for this walking safari in South Luangwa. The route offers outstanding seclusion and rich wildlife with top-quality guiding throughout.

US$9,250 - US$11,500 per person

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Scrub Hare Safari

7 days • 3 locations

Camps run by welcoming owners with a passion for their environment are rare, and Tafika is one of the best. Combine this with walking safaris at equally excellent bushcamps for the best of the South Luangwa.

US$6,040 - US$7,210 per person

View all holidays to Zambia

More information about buffalo in our other destinations

Click here for detailed information about buffalo in other countries, including the places for sighting buffalo.

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