For our family get together of 2017 we all went to Shindzela for safari. Shindzela is an authentic tented bush camp, set within the Timbavati Private Game Reserve and is part of the greater Kruger National Park in South Africa. Our experienced guide for our stay was my brother who took us on both our games drives each day. Our game drives were conducted in the early mornings and late afternoons. With our afternoons spent relaxing in camp with a good book.
The most experienced cows are known as pathfinders. They are responsible for taking the herd to the most beneficial area for grazing and water.
They are one of the most dangerous of the big five because they simply ambush their prey without giving any type of warning signal.
If you see a lone buffalo bull, it is probably a “dagga boy”. Dagga boys are older bulls who have past their prime and have separated from their heard. They generally spend their days wallowing in mud either alone or with other dagga boys.
On one of our morning drives were were fortunate enough to find a huge herd of African or Cape buffalo at one of the watering holes. Being large animals they can easily overheat, so they feed mostly during the cool night, and rest during the heat of the day. We got really close to these huge animals and I was just glad that they were all very calm as I have heard stories about how dangerous they can be. Buffalo in herds are placid, although some of the old bulls in the herds tend to be easily angered and prone to charge when disturbed.
Buffalo are actually fantastic swimmers. They will swim through deep waters to find better grazing areas.
The birds you see sitting on the hide of a Cape buffalo are called oxpeckers. They have a symbiotic relationship with the Cape buffalo and remove ticks/insects embedded in their skin.
African buffalo is a grazer. It feed mainly on the grass. When the grass sources are scarce, it may eat shrubs and trees.
The Buffalo is one of the so called Big 5 animals, an old hunter’s term given to the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt in Africa. In the buffalo’s case it is mainly due to their dangerous and cunning nature. They do not have very good eyesight but apparently their hearing and smell is exceptional.
The adult buffalo’s horns are its characteristic feature; they have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield referred to as a “boss”.
The sparse covering of hair over the body typically ranges from brownish to black in color.
Average lifespan of the African buffalo is about 20 years in the wild.
There are currently four recognised subspecies of African buffalo, which vary greatly in size and appearance.
There are many hunting tales that mention wounded buffaloes setting ambushes for hunters that follow them, by circling back on their own tracks, to stand and wait for the hunters that are tracking them. A number of hunters were injured or killed by buffaloes through the years while hunting them. So I was not planning on testing this.
African buffalo has poor eyesight and sense of hearing, but their sense of smell is excellent.
Mating season of African buffalo takes place between March and May. Pregnancy lasts 11 and half months and ends with one baby (calf).
Bond between mother and calf is very strong. Calf is completely dependent on its mother during the period of suckling, which lasts one year.
Average lifespan of the African buffalo in the wild is 20 years.
Buffalo cows have their first calves at age 4 or 5 and they become completely reliant on their mothers, right up until a year old.
They can run at speeds of up to 57 kilometers (35 miles) per hour.
The African buffalo has a broad chest, large limbs and a large head.
The birds you see sitting on the hide of a Cape buffalo are called oxpeckers. They have a symbiotic relationship with the Cape buffalo and remove ticks/insects embedded in their skin. It was quite difficult to get a good shot of one as they kept flitting about, searching for ticks.
African buffalos live in large herds that sometimes include thousand animals. Usually, herds are smaller, with up to 12 animals on average.
Solitary animals are easy target of lions, which are their natural enemies.
Herds usually consist of females, their offspring and one or more males. Males that are not part of the herd can form bachelor herds, or live a solitary life.
The Average lifespan of the African buffalo is about 20 years in the wild.Buffalo cows have their first calves at age 4 or 5 and they become completely reliant on their mothers, right up until a year old. This herd had no young calves and we were informed that it was because of the drought. In the last couple of years the area had been experiencing a drought so the buffalo just had not been having any calves as there is already a food shortage.
African buffalo has large head, broad chest and strong legs. It is four times stronger than ox.
African buffalo is large animal that can reach 6.8 to 11 feet in length, 3.2 to 5.6 feet in height and weight between 660 and 1900 pounds.
Body of African buffalo is covered with hair that can be brownish to black in color.
Horns of African buffalo are shaped like question marks. Males have longer and thicker horns.
Life in herd ensures certain advantages. Animals are well informed about the best feeding areas and sources of water. Besides that, they are protected against the predators.
This is another disadvantage of climate change and how it is affecting nature negatively.
Timbavati Game Reserve, Hoedspruit, 1380, South Africa