African Buffalo

buffaloes in Murchison falls national park

The African buffalo is or member of the ‘Big five’ group of animals with the elephant, rhino, lion and leopard. It is among the hunted animals it is a large animal and of the dangerous. They are unpredictable and are usually placid if left alone.

Murchison falls NP

Fact Sheet

Common name: African Buffalo

Scientific name: Synarus Caffer

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Family Genus: Syncerus

Species: Caffer

Where to find the African Buffalo

They are found in Kazugula, Virunga, Zambezi, and East Africa. They live close to water, and are found throughout savanna as well as the lowland and rain forest characteristics.

In Uganda it is found in Queen Elizabeth, Murchision Falls, Kidepo Valley and Lake Mburo National Parks.

What the African Buffalo eats

They mainly feed on grass and at management seeming to have a relatively poor ability to regulate body temperature. They have a lifespan of 20 years.

How to Identify the African Buffalo

They are large, hairy cow-like animals. They vary greatly not in size but in shapes of their horns and color. Adults are usually dark gray or black (or even look led or white if they have been wallowing in mud of that color) and the young are often reddish-brown. Adults lose hairs as they age. Both males and females buffaloes have heavy ridged horns that grow straight out from the head or curve downward and then rip. The horns are formidable weapons against predators and for jostling for space within the herd; males use the horns in fights for dominance. They weigh 1500 pounds and are about 65 inches of the shoulder.


Buffaloes can live in herds of a few hundred, but have been known to congregate in thousands in the Serengeti during the rainy season. Females and the offspring make up the bulk of the hard. Males spend much of their time in bachelor groups. Males do not reach full weight until about age 10. After this, body weight and condition decline. Sight and learning are rather poor but scent is well developed in Buffaloes. In mating seasons, they grunt and emit hoarse bellow and gestation period is between 11-12 months they calve only once every 2 years. Most occur in the rainy season.