The buffalo is a large and powerful bovine mammal known for its robust build and distinctive horns


Tall at shoulder


adult weight


Year lifespan



Vulnerability Factor

Least Concern

Activity period




Buffaloes, also known as African buffalo or Cape buffalo,
are highly social animals found in sub-Saharan Africa.

Buffaloes are iconic members of the African savanna, known for their impressive herds and powerful presence. These majestic creatures are highly adapted to their environment, equipped with formidable horns and a robust build that commands respect. Buffaloes are social animals, forming tight-knit herds that can range in size from a few individuals to massive gatherings of hundreds or even thousands. Their cooperative behaviour and collective defence mechanisms make them a formidable force in the wild. Observing these magnificent animals in their natural habitat provides a captivating glimpse into their social dynamics, communication, and survival strategies. From witnessing their synchronized movements to marvelling at their sheer strength, an encounter with buffaloes is an awe-inspiring experience that leaves a lasting impression.

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Buffalo Overview


Buffaloes, also known as African Cape buffaloes, are imposing bovine creatures that exhibit unique characteristics and offer exciting photo opportunities. They have a massive build, with males weighing up to 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds) and standing about 1.7 meters (5.6 feet) tall at the shoulder. These herbivores are easily recognized by their large, curved horns that form a characteristic “boss” on their heads. The horns are instrumental in their defence against predators and are a striking feature to capture in photographs. Buffaloes are known for their striking appearance, with a dark, stocky body covered in thick, coarse hair. Their colouring can vary from dark brown to black, and they often exhibit a dusty or mud-covered appearance, adding to their rugged charm. Their large size and powerful presence make them an impressive subject for wildlife photography, whether capturing close-ups of their expressive eyes or photographing the dynamics of a massive herd in motion. Encountering buffaloes in the wild can offer a range of photo opportunities. From capturing their distinctive horns in profile to photographing their interactions within a herd, there are numerous chances to document their behaviour and social dynamics. In addition, capturing images of buffaloes in their natural habitat, whether grazing peacefully in open grasslands or drinking at waterholes, provides a glimpse into their connection with the African landscape. Photographers can also capture the intensity and energy of a buffalo herd during a stampede or the serene moments of a solitary buffalo against the backdrop of a stunning African sunset. While buffaloes are not considered as rare as some other wildlife species, their population numbers can vary across different regions of Africa. They are widely distributed across the continent, from savannas and grasslands to wetlands and forests. This adaptability allows for diverse photographic opportunities, as buffaloes can be found in various habitats and ecosystems. Whether in East Africa’s Serengeti, South Africa’s Kruger National Park, or other wildlife-rich areas, encountering buffaloes on a safari expedition offers an immersive experience in the heart of Africa’s untamed wilderness. Overall, photographing buffaloes allows for a captivating exploration of their physical attributes, behavioural patterns, and their role as an integral part of the African ecosystem. Their combination of power, beauty, and social dynamics makes them an appealing subject for wildlife photographers seeking to capture the essence of Africa’s wild landscapes.

Buffalo Overview

Key facts

  • Buffaloes are one of the Big Five game animals in Africa, along with elephants, lions, leopards, and rhinoceroses.
  • They are herbivores and primarily graze on grasses, although they may also feed on leaves, bark, and aquatic plants.
  • Buffaloes are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, forests, and swamps.
  • They have a strong social structure and live in large herds, which can consist of hundreds or even thousands of individuals.
  • Buffaloes are known for their aggressive behaviour when threatened, making them one of the most dangerous animals in Africa.
  • They play a vital role in shaping the ecosystem by creating water holes, maintaining grasslands, and providing food for predators. • Buffaloes have a lifespan of around 20 years in the wild.

Types and Habitats

There are two main species of buffalo: the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) and the water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis). African buffaloes are found in various habitats across sub-Saharan Africa, including grasslands, woodlands, and savannas.


Explore the Fascinating World of This Animal Through These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Yes, buffaloes can be dangerous and should be observed from a safe distance. They are known to charge when they feel threatened or provoked.

Buffaloes can reach speeds of up to 56 kilometres per hour (35 miles per hour) when running.

Buffaloes are not migratory animals like wildebeests or zebras. However, they may move in search of water and grazing areas.

Buffaloes are herbivores and primarily feed on grass. They have a specialized digestive system that allows them to extract nutrients from tough, fibrous vegetation.

Yes, buffaloes are social animals and live in large herds, ranging from a few dozen to several hundred individuals.

Lions and crocodiles are among the main predators of buffaloes in Africa. They often target weak or young individuals within a herd.

The African Cape buffalo is not currently classified as endangered. However, its conservation status may vary in different regions.

In the wild, buffaloes typically live for around 15 to 20 years. However, they can live longer in captivity.

Yes, buffaloes are excellent swimmers and often cross rivers and other bodies of water during their movements.

Buffaloes have a tough, fused boss on their heads that serves as protection against predators and rival males during territorial disputes.

Buffaloes use vocalizations, body postures, and scent markings to communicate within their herd and establish dominance hierarchies.