Cape Buffalo Hunting

The Cape or African Buffalo and kudu are a must for an African hunting safari. Cape Buffalo kill more hunters while buffalo hunting than any other animal in Africa

Shot placement should be on the bottom third of the shoulder. The first shot needs to count when you are buffalo hunting.
Shot placement for African Buffalo hunting
How to hunt Cape Buffalo, and how much does it cost?

Hunting is done through walk and stalk techniques. A Cape Buffalo will cost between $9000 and $11000.

Cape Buffalo is one of the most iconic African animals. The Cape Buffalo should be on any hunters bucket list.
Cape Buffalo Hunting. Trophy shot in the Eastern Cape South Africa with Nick Bowker

Interesting facts about the Cape Buffalo

  • Cape Buffalo hunting results in the death of more hunters than any other species. Also, buffalo are no slouches and can reach 56 KPH; that’s 15.6 meters per second.
  • Herd mentality is very strong; in some circumstances, it will force a mother to abandon her calf.
  • Buffalo movement is determined by “pathfinders.” Despite this critical role, these animals do not have to be high ranking.
  • Rinderpest a disease in the 1890s which nearly wiped out the buffalo; estimates say that for every buffalo that lived, 10,000 died.
  • Buffalo eat a large quantity of coarse material, and they need to drink regularly, up to twice a day, managing as much as 34 liters in just 6 minutes.
  • The African or Cape buffalo is not related to the water buffalo of Asia.

  • Buffalo kill lions, and if lions attack a herd of buffalo, they do so at significant risk as buffalo will often retaliate with a mobbing attack.
  • Older buffalo bulls will choose to drop out of the herd and wander alone or in small groups.
  • Groups of older males are called “dagga-boys,” which refers to the Zulu word for mud given their preference for wallowing.
  • African Buffalo have poor eyesight and hearing but an incredible sense of smell.
  • Cape Buffalo hide is as thick as two inches in certain parts.
  • The Cape Buffalo is the largest of the subspecies found in South and East Africa.
  • Cape Buffalo are truly good swimmers.
  • Cape Buffalo hunting should be a must for all hunters; however, they are more expensive than other plains game.

The difference between a male and female Cape Buffalo

The Cape Buffalo bull has a colossal lump or boss. Also, males are larger and will have a thicker neck in comparison to females. In contrast, the female’s horns will have a gentle slope without the boss or helmet.

Old Buffalo Bull. Note the large hard boss which distinguishes females and young males from mature males
Cape Buffalo male or bull
Buffalo in the open grasslands. Cows have horns that slope back with the boss present only in bulls.
Cape Buffalo female or cow

About the African Buffalo

Their habitat includes mixed scrub woodlands. They will occasionally venture onto plains only if there is a large abundance of bushes, but typically avoid such open areas to avoid becoming an easy target for their predators.

One of the “big five” African game, it is known as “the Black Death” or “Widow Maker” and is widely regarded as a dangerous animal.

According to some estimates, it gores and kills over 200 people every year.

Buffalo kill more people in Africa than any other animal. However, hippos and crocodiles have the same claim.

Buffaloes are notorious among big-game hunters as dangerous animals, with wounded animals ambushing and attacking pursuers.

African Buffaloes weigh 1,100 to 2,200 lb, with males typically larger than females, reaching the upper weight range.

The horns form entirely when the animal reaches five or six years, but the bosses do not become “hard” till 8 to 9 years old.

In cows, the horns are smaller and do not have a boss.

African buffalo are frequently preyed upon by lions. As a result, African buffalo are known to rush to the defense of another herd member if it is under attack from a predator.

In a large group, they are also able to ward off the pride of preying lions.

The Cape Buffalo has many similar characteristics to the Blue Wildebeest but a very different hunt!

Cape Buffalo Hunting in South Africa

Cape Buffalo trophy hunting. Cape or African buffalo can be added to any of our South African Hunting Safari Packages.
Buffalo trophy hunted in the Eastern Cape South Africa. Cape or African buffalo can be added to any of our South African Hunting Safari Packages.

buffalo trophy will have an average shoulder height of around 65 inches, weigh 1400 pounds, and have a horn length of  36 – 40 inches.

The Safari Club International minimum score for a cape buffalo is 101. Measure the length of the outside of the horn curl from tip to tip, plus the straight-line width measurement of both bosses for a combined total score in inches.

A 375-caliber rifle is the minimum legal requirement to hunt a buffalo.

Buffalo is now widespread across the Eastern Cape. Generally, Buffalo hunting in South Africa is in high fenced areas, and the size of the area varies widely.

If you want real free-range buffalo, you will need to hunt in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, or Tanzania.

However, the trade-off is that buffalo hunting in South Africa is substantially cheaper on an all-in basis.

The day rates in countries like Zimbabwe are expensive and dramatically increasing the cost of the overall hunt.

Day rates reflect the taxes and fees paid to the government. In most cases, the land is not private, and the government owns the animals.

In South Africa, most land is private, including the game.

Cape Buffalo hunting in South Africa is still tremendously exciting.

In particular, in thickly wooded areas, the buffalo have learned to avoid humans and feed at night and hide during the daylight hours.

Buffalo is considered dangerous game rather than plains game, although they have all the same plains game characteristics.

Trophy Judgement and Rifle Caliber

Vital organs showing the position of the heart and lungs. Buffalo should have a horn length of 36 to 40 inches.
African Buffalo vital organs

As with most African animals, shot placement should always be in the bottom third of the shoulder. As a result, a well-placed shot, a rifle of .375 caliber is adequate for the Cape Buffalo.

Nick Bowker Hunting has available a 375 and ammunition for hunters not wishing to go through the red tape of bringing a rifle to South Africa. Included free of charge in your package are the rifle and ammunition.

Robert Ruak famously wrote, “When coming face to face with a buffalo, he will look at you as if you owe him money”… enough said.

Probably the number one desired African trophy for international hunters from around the world. Dangerous animals to hunt.

A wounded buffalo can sometimes circle back and wait for the hunter along its track and charge without warning.

Loud death bellows are the best sign of a dying buffalo, but not all will give this bellow.

With age, one will find old solitary bulls move off from the herd; these bulls are called “Dagga Boys” due to their enjoyment of regular mud baths, leaving caked mud on their backs, giving the appearance of dried cement (“Dagga”).

These bulls are the most challenging and fun to hunt and may, from time to time, form small “Dagga” groups.

A hard and solid boss is the number one sign of a great trophy.

Sometimes these old bulls won’t carry a spread beyond 30 inches, as with age, horns will wear down. These are, in fact, the best and most memorable trophies.