Hunting Cape Buffalo in Southern Africa

Hunting Cape Buffalo or African Buffalo is on every hunter's bucket list. Don't be fooled by its seemingly docile appearance as part of an undisturbed herd. Dubbed Africa's Black Death, the Cape Buffalo is the most dangerous of the Big Five, especially when it is wounded. An agitated buffalo can be cunning, vindictive and very aggressive.

Cape Buffalo are not confined to the Cape regions. In fact, they are found across South Africa. They typically spend their days grazing leisurely in thick bushveld. Herds congregate at night, protecting their young from lions and other predators.

Both bulls and cows have horns, with the bull's horns being particularly spectacular in size and curl. Unlike the bull, Cape Buffalo cows don't have a boss on the forehead. They may still have a wide spread.


A Cape Buffalo can weigh up to 816 kg and makes for a spectacular Big Five trophy for the dangerous game hunter


Cape Buffalo Fact Sheet

Scientific Name: Syncerus caffer
Gestation period: 11 months
Weight: 590 kg
Height: 1.0 - 1.7m
Length: 1.7 - 3.4m


Cape Buffalo Hunting Considerations

A well-placed shot with a .375 calibre rifle would suffice. Many hunters use a .375 with good quality soft-point bullet on their first shot in order to prevent over-penetration and accidentally wounding another animal in the herd. If a follow up shot is required, they will use solid bullets in a 40 caliber, which offer superior penetration.

If the Black Death is wounded, it may still be extremely difficult to bring down. The adrenaline that flows through its thick veins provides immense strength to the buffalo. It will be strong, fast, and fierce, particularly if you have to execute the follow-up shot in the thick bushveld cover.

Rely on your professional hunter's guidance to choose the best rifle and ammunition that you can comfortably handle, and follow his advice on shot placement.

The Inyati, as the Zulu people of South Africa call the Cape Buffalo is extremely strong. Hunters agree that if your first shot on the buffalo is bad, the next fourteen shots will only annoy him more. An annoyed Cape Buffalo can make for an exciting (or deadly!) hunting experience. Make good decisions, based on your professional hunter's judgment.

Shot Placement

For the best chance at putting a Cape Buffalo down in one shot, aim for the head or the heart. At close frontal range, aim into the V.

From the side view, aim at the area where the neck and shoulder come together. You can also shoot in in the right backside with a 40 caliber, which offers strong penetration that should hit it straight into the heart, or into the back of the head.

Ultimately, your aim should be to ensure that you hit the deadly shot so as to avoid days of agony. Sit down, aim directly at the preferred body part, shoot coolly, and press the trigger gently, rather than jerking the rifle. Ideally, you should rest the rifle against a solid item in order to prevent it from jumping, causing you to miss the animal.


Hunting Cape Buffalo in Southern Africa

Cape Buffalo Shot Placement


Hunting Cape Buffalo in Southern Africa

Cape Buffalo Shot Placement


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