We are finally getting into the “Big 5”! Although, to be fair, we didn’t see two of the Big 5… so I will (sadly) only be showing you the “Big 3”.
We’ll go in alphabetical order, starting with the African Cape Buffalo.
I have to be honest, including these guys as one of the “Big 5” seems a little strange to me. The lion, leopard, rhino, elephant all make sense to me, but the African buffalo?!
I don’t know about that.
The first time that I saw one, I thought to myself, “Wow! That thing is impressive!”
Then I saw a second… and a third… and a fourth. Honestly, by about the thirtieth time that I saw an African buffalo, I was rather tired of seeing them.
That sounds terrible, but it’s true.
In fact, at one point we were seriously on the lookout for a black rhino, and we knew we were in rhino territory because other tour guides had recently seen one in the specific area we were in. Then, suddenly we emerged into a clearing and we were face to face with a big black… buffalo.
I had wrongly assumed that the “Big 5” had earned their name because of how difficult they can be to spot. That is not accurate. Apparently the “Big 5” earned their name because they are among the most poached animals, and also because they are the most difficult and dangerous animals to hunt on foot.
Okay. That checks out. As boring as these things are, I don’t think I would have too much interest in trying to hunt them on foot.
Did you know:
While they seemed rather slumbering and boring to me, Cape buffalo attacks are actually quite common amongst hunters. In fact, among hunters, they have been given the nicknames “The Black Death” and “Widow-maker” due to their aggressive nature. African cape buffalo are responsible for roughly 200 human deaths per year.
Cape buffalo have unique horns not seen on any other buffalo. Their horns are a sign of maturity. Young African buffalo do not have fully developed horns, and won’t until roughly they are seven or eight—at which point their horns become hard.
Cape buffalo are herbivores, and never wander more than nine miles from a river or water source.
One of the reasons that cape buffaloes are so dangerous is because they tend to travel in a herd. When one attacks, they all attack.