The term “Big Five” originally referred to the danger and difficulty when it came to hunting the Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant, and African Buffalo. These five large African mammal species were known to be dangerous, and it was considered an accomplishment by trophy hunters to bring them home. None more feared by hunters on foot than the African Buffalo. Thankfully, the expression takes on a more innocent form these days, referring to seeing the Big Five as a collection of big game and elusive cats rather than hunting them – with the only shot taken is one with a camera – during a game drive at Madikwe Safari Lodge.
Rebels of the Bush
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the African Buffalo is a gentle-natured, large bovid resembling a cow, but you’d be gravely mistaken. Known to be grumpy and unpredictable, the Buffalo is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous animals to call Madikwe Game Reserve home. Unlike most other animals who display some warning before charging, the Buffalo will charge out of nowhere and for little to no reason. With speeds topping 50km an hour, it’s safest to keep your distance when coming across these 800kg beasts.
Old bulls, colloquially referred to as Dagga Boys, ousted from the herd tend to break off and form tight bachelor groups. As they no longer have the protection of the herd, they tend to be highly temperamental. Dagga, in Zulu, is a term that means “mud”, which is pretty apt as you will most likely find the old bulls wallowing the days away in mud holes and exercising their dominance. Dagga boys are enormous and typically have deeply etched horns from many years of sparring and protecting herds.
Pragmatic Herd Strategy
Buffalos live in large family units and often band multiple families together to travel in thousands of strong herds. There is strength in numbers, after all. How these herds coordinate their numbers is pretty clever. The calves and mothers – invaluable members for carrying on the lineage and ensuring the continuation of the gene pool – go in the middle of the herd and are encircled by the non-breeding bachelors and weaker members. This protective wall ensures that the calves and mothers are protected when under attack from the lions of Madikwe Game Reserve.
Though they may be dangerous, there is a thrill and sense of something special when one gets to be in the presence of the mighty African Buffalo. Come experience this incredible sighting for yourself in Luxury at Madikwe Safari Lodge.
Madikwe Safari Lodge offers a unique, luxury experience of a world-class South African game reserve. Book your stay today!