Black Death? Big Five Part 4: Cape Buffalo

black death boy lives with buffalo whisperer what are the big five expat life Pretoria

We weren’t even one kilometer into the park when we saw our first of “The Big Five.” These cape buffalo were relaxing in a river bed just inside the the gate where we entered Kruger National Park.

black death boy lives with buffalo whisperer what are the big five expat life Pretoria

Cape buffalo resting along a riverbed in Kruger National Park

black death boy lives with buffalo whisperer what are the big five expat life Pretoria

This small group was spotted on our second day, as we drove some of the back roads between Skukuza and Crocodile Bridge.

black death boy lives with buffalo whisperer what are the big five expat life Pretoria

Small African buffalo herd in Kruger National Park

Before coming to South Africa, I thought of Cape buffalo like the water buffalo I encountered in Viet Nam. They were relatively docile and have been domesticated for farm work for generations.

But actually, Cape buffalo are considered one of the most dangerous animals to hunt on foot, and even non-hunters are killed by this bovine group known as “black death.”

black death boy lives with buffalo whisperer what are the big five expat life Pretoria

This brief glance was the only attention the Cape buffalo paid to us as we sat and watched the herd.

We saw Cape buffalo every single day at Kruger, even though we stayed in three different areas of the park. We saw them in ones, in twos, in small herds and in large. Thankfully, they never showed more than mild interest as we would pull to the far side of the road and take photographs.

black death boy lives with buffalo whisperer what are the big five expat life Pretoria

Cape buffalo scratching itself on a tree in Kruger National Park

I won’t share the videos I found on YouTube demonstrating the deadly power of Cape buffalo against humans or other animals, but they are abundant. “Cape buffalo kills lion” is a popular search and brings just as many tough “circle of life” videos to watch as the videos of lions killing buffalo.

Thankfully, in reading up on Cape buffalo (also called “African buffalo”) for today’s post, I found a beautiful article about a young boy who lives on a farm in the Limpopo Province, who safely interacts with a couple of Cape buffalo living on his farm.

And although no sane person would recommend the rest of us attempting to tame or interact with these wild and unpredictable animals, it’s heartwarming to see a story like his, and hopefully the kid will grow up to be an animal behaviorist, contributing his passion, compassion and knowledge to conservationists. Of course, if his Twitter feed is any indication, it sounds like his mom and dad think he needs to work on his grades before he can save the world. 😉

black death boy lives with buffalo whisperer what are the big five expat life Pretoria

This Cape buffalo was itchy!

I love feel-good stories, and just thought instead of just photos of these lesser discussed members of “the big five” you could enjoy the article and the following YouTube video of “the buffalo whisperer.”

Love, Marla

5 Comments on “Black Death? Big Five Part 4: Cape Buffalo

  1. Pingback: Zebra Crossing | Marla Sink Druzgal

  2. Pingback: The Lion at Our Window | Marla Sink Druzgal

  3. Pingback: The Battle at Kruger we Didn’t See (Baby Big Five, Part Three) | Traveling MarLa

  4. Great post! Love these animals. I found them the hardest animals I have come across so far to capture a good photo of, but very cool to be around. Nice work!!

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