Buffalo cavalry

Pamushana | December 2019

Buffalo bulls or dagga boys, are old bulls which are solitary or move in bachelor herds. These bulls cannot cope with the movement of the herd due to old age, sometimes they are forced out the herd by young bulls, or they fall behind the herd due to their need for softer vegetation.

Dagga boys can put up a great fight when spooked, injured or trapped, they can even chase down potential danger like lions, and they are known to kill hunters. They have a reputation of attacking anything they dislike from shrubs, predators, humans, and even other bigger animals.

Dagga boys are found in dense shrubs and they like to wallow in mud (‘dagga’ means mud). Buffalo bulls are fearless when they get to waterholes – they are not like antelope, zebra and other smaller animals which check the surrounding area for predators first before they drink. They march straight to the water like a cavalry, and wade in.

Hwata hide is the best place to be when it is hot, and it is fantastic to watch an army of buffalo bulls arrive to quench their thirst. Being so close you can see each animal’s characteristics and marvel at their shinny bosses (a thick continuous bone shield across the top of the head). Each one has such individual characteristics.

Oxpeckers love buffalo bulls, they fly from animal to animal looking for parasites. It is amazing watching these birds have a drink or take a bath on a particularly hot day. Sometime you will see one arrive at the water’s edge while no other animal is there, but it is a sure sign that their favourite hosts are only a short distance away.