Hunting Cape buffalo in South Africa
Cape buffalo scientific name – Syncerus caffer
The sheer thrill of seeing a hunter shiver with anticipation when the words Cape buffalo are mentioned is an indication of the high regard these animals demand from hunters all over the world.
Robert Ruark aptly described the African Cape buffalo as follows in his book Horn of the Hunter: “But that buff is so big and mean and ugly and hard to stop, and vindictive and cruel and surly and ornery. He looks like he hates you personally. He looks like you owe him money. He looks like he is hunting you.”
After many years hunting Cape buffalo we are of the exact same opinion as Ruark. There have been a number of incidents when hunting dangerous game but none get our attention as severe as Cape buffalo.
Cape buffalo are mean, revengeful and downright nasty animals in general but particularly become more annoyed when wounded.
Please be advised from the onset your Professional Hunter may have to back you up in the event of a dangerous situation. In the event of a Cape
buffalo charge it is expected of your PH to protect himself and those on the hunting safari around him.
Sometimes a shot must be taken in a hurry but please make sure when you take the shot that the shot will be placed where it was intended to go. The effective area to place a shot is rather large and there is room for limited error. To minimize the risk of a wounded Cape buffalo use the correct caliber when hunting Cape buffalo in South Africa (or any other African country) and only use premium grade ammunition.
Further down this page there is good advice with regards to hunting Cape buffalo which can be applied to all Cape buffalo hunts no matter in which country you are hunting.
Cape buffalo sincerely deserve the respect they receive as being one of the most dangerous of African dangerous game animals that are hunted in Africa.
Be safe, be sure and enjoy being incredibly aware of your surroundings on your Cape buffalo hunt.
Information on hunting Cape buffalo in South Africa
Cape buffalo hunting prices
The cost to hunt Cape buffalo in South Africa appreciates in some cases according to the spread of the horns. The larger the spread of the horns the higher the trophy fee becomes. The magical spread of 40” and above is the decider between the usual listed price and an increased price.
The starting Cape buffalo hunting prices South Africa is US$ 11 500-00 which includes daily rates for 5 hunting days, trophy fee, accommodation, meals and land transport.
We aim to offer affordable Cape buffalo hunts and reasonable Cape buffalo hunting prices.
Best caliber for Cape buffalo hunting
A 375 H&H or any other larger caliber is the minimum legal caliber to hunt dangerous game with in most African countries. It is our recommendation to use any caliber from 400 and up if you feel comfortable using it. Make sure you use enough gun when hunting Cape buffalo. We recommend 416 Rigby, 45-70, 458 Win Mag, 458 Lott, 460 Weatherby, 460 A-Square, 470 NE, 500 Jeffrey, 505 Gibbs or any other large bore caliber that you can shoot with confidence.
Ammunition for Cape buffalo hunting
Hunting in Africa Safaris states you only use premium grade ammunition when hunting Cape buffalo. To use any other inferior ammunition than premium grade may save you money on the ammunition but it may cost you your life, or the life of one of the hunting team.
Our preferred ammunition manufacturer is Barnes TSX for any and all caliber rifles Barnes cater for. Other premium grade ammunition manufactures you can use with confidence would be Federal Premium, Sierra and others.
Many dangerous game hunters prefer to hunt dangerous game with open sights. We must accept that some hunters, with age, may lose a little of their usual 20/20 vision and prefer to hunt with a rifle scope.
There are numerous gun scopes and gun scope brands available on the market today. It is our experience that the more costly gun scopes like Leupold and Swarovski optics certainly provide more light under darker conditions. However, if you can afford these optics is your choice. The single most important issue would be for the gun scope to be able to withstand the severe recoil once you squeeze the trigger.
A 1.5 – 5 X 20 gun scope should be sufficient for a Cape buffalo hunt due to the shorter expected average shooting distance when hunting Cape buffalo in Africa.
Average shooting distance
The average expected shooting distance when hunting Cape buffalo in South Africa is 20 to 60 yards depending on the terrain you are hunting in.
Shot placement when hunting Cape buffalo
General rule of thumb is to place the shot directly on the shoulder in line with the front leg, one third of the way up from the start of the chest to the top of the back. Such a shot should lead to a high heart shot while still penetrating both lungs making for a safe recovery of your best trophy ever.
Quartering to shot
Shot placement when quartering towards you – aim for the inside of the closer shoulder so the shot can penetrate the vital organs.
Quartering away shot
Shot placement when quartering away from you – if the Cape buffalo is not quartering away too much, bisect the angle formed between the front legs and aim in the bottom third of the distance between the bottom of the chest and the top of the back.
Facing to shot
Aim for the center of the chest just above the brisket. Head shots should be avoided as far as possible partly due to the relative small sweet spot to where the brain can be reached, and partly due to the hardness of the boss if the shot is slightly high.
Shot placement diagram when hunting Cape buffalo
Cape buffalo charges hunter
Below are a few pictures of the buffalo charges hunter video below. The hunter was 24 yards from the buffalo when the first shot was taken. By the time the buffalo fell, six shots were fired in a question of almost three seconds. By then the buffalo lay at four yards from the hunter.
Read about the bow hunter who was charged by a Cape buffalo
Cape buffalo hunting videos
Below are two Cape buffalo hunting videos depicting two completely different scenarios. One is a Cape buffalo attack video of buffalo hunting gone wrong, and the other is a Cape buffalo video of a buffalo hunt with a happy ending. It would be pure speculation if the reason for the charge was due to a good or a bad first shot.
Tips for hunting Cape buffalo South Africa
Larger Cape buffalo herds can be more difficult to stalk for obvious reasons. Solitary bulls (often referred to as dagga boys) can be extremely aggressive and may charge unprovoked. Bachelor herds of between 3 and 10 animals are common and are equally as difficult to stalk. Archery hunting Cape buffalo is on the increase and in such a case you can hunt Cape buffalo from a hide or blind, or walk-and-stalk for a more traditional bow hunting experience.
Extreme caution should be applied when on the final approach. Any sudden movements will attract the attention of a weary buffalo so try and keep the Mopane flies away from your eyes, ears and nostrils. If you are hunting 2 X 1 it will be common courtesy for the second hunter to refrain from accompanying the tracker, PH and first hunter on the final approach.
Often a dead give-away to the presence of Cape buffalo will be the sound of the red-billed oxpeckers. Somehow these birds do not have the ability to keep quiet and with their excited chattering they can lead the hunters directly to where Cape buffalo are.
Best time of year to hunt Cape buffalo
Traditionally the bush in the best Cape buffalo hunting areas is rather dense during our summer months from November to May. From June to August the bush starts to recede rather quickly and during September and October the daily temperatures start rising while the bush recedes to a minimum. The best time of year to hunt Cape buffalo in South Africa is late June to end October.
We can and do hunt Cape buffalo from January to December.