The Cape Buffalo

The Cape Buffalo

Height: male: 1.6 m (63 inches).
Weight: male: 750 kgs (1,654 lbs).
Habitat: Open savannah, permanent water supply.
Grouping: Gregarious, herds up to 500, bulls often solitary.
Breeding: March - May, 1 calf.
Diet: Grazers, tall, course grass.
The Buffalo of South Africa


Formerly occurred throughout the Northern and Southern Savanna, in arid regions wherever there is permanent water and herbage, and from sea level to the limits of forest on the highest mountains. In the Lowland Rainforest buffaloes inhabit clearings, swamps, floodplains, and secondary growth.


A few of the parks where buffaloes are both abundant and approachable are: Kruger NP and several others in South Africa, Masai Mara in Kenya, Ngorongoro Crater and Manyara NP inTanzania, Kafue NP in Zambia, and Hwange NP in Zimbabwe.


Most abundant in well-watered savannas, swamps, floodplains, and montane grasslands and forests. Although herds can live in open woodland, the best habitat offers reeds, high grass, or thickets for cover. Grazer, including tall, mature grasses too coarse for most other ruminants to process. Massive cheek teeth, broad incisor row, and prehensile tongue that gathers and bundles grass before each bite enable buffalo to feed efficiently in longer grass. Herbs and foliage amount to 5% of diet, considerably more when grass is scarce or too unpalatable. Has to drink at least daily when pastured on standing hay.


Usually considered nocturnal, but herds protected from hunting spend 5 to 10.5 hours feeding at all seasons, night and day almost equally. Breeding herds range c. 2 mi (5.5 km) in the wet season, compared to 3/4 mi (2 km) covered by stodgy bachelor herds. But buffaloes daily commute up to 17 mi (27 km) between pasture and water in dry season.