African buffaloes are usually found grazing in large herds of varying sizes with exception of the old males who seek out solitude away from the younger and stronger males. Buffaloes are not the most docile or tolerant of creatures – unlike their distant Asian cousins, which man has long been able to domesticate. Outside of man and lion, they have no major enemies and we have all seen footage or photographs of lions come off second best when when they try and take a down buffalo. However, they can be susceptible to normal cattle diseases like Bovine TB, Corridor disease and foot-and-mouth though, and contrary to belief are not the ancestors of our domestic cattle
Staring down a large male buffalo is one of the greatest feelings when out in the bush and best done from the safety from a vehicle. I have had fantastic encounters whilst being surrounded by hundreds of these curious animals and as long as you don’t startle them by driving badly, they will simply move around your vehicle.
On my last trip to the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve I found a large waterhole which had several big males waiting in turn to get out of the heat and into the cool refreshing mud. Considering I was visiting during the peak of summer, the humidity was already extremely uncomfortable as I sat in the car. I did give some serious thought to crawling over on all fours to test out their mud theory. But as I had no urge to replicate the European craze of “running with the bulls”, I decided to sit in the car and overheat in the car.