27 Feb 2015 The African Buffalo: an eating machine on the move
There are often times when I wish that I had more time to spend in nature. A very special experience for me is the time spent among a herd of grazing buffalo. It’s quite mesmeric, as you are literally immersed in a vast sea of slowly moving and ruminating horned bovines – lulled by breaking grass, buzzing insects, occasional rumblings, gentle lowing and snorting. They move surprisingly fast while feasting, but it’s easy to feel as if you have become one with them.
Buffalo spent approximately 10-18 hours of their day foraging, and are active during both day and night. They are bulk grazers, and feed primarily on grass, with just 5% of their diet made up of leaves (unless, of course, the grasses are scarce). They will never be far from a water source as they need to quench their thirst daily.
Let’s not fool ourselves. Despite their seemingly gentle demeanor, the buffalo is one of the most dangerous animals in the wild and has earned its reputation as a member of The Big Five (so classified as one of the most dangerous animals for man to hunt on foot). An injured or wounded buffalo is lethal, and these formidable animals have killed more hunters in Africa than any other animal. I remember my grandfather telling us that if a woman or child were to walk right into a herd of buffalo, they would remain undisturbed. But if a man with a rifle were to do the same thing, the herd would stick together and probably charge as a unit. Anyone who has watched “The Battle of the Kruger” will understand how these impressive beasts will look after their own!
The buffalo has a set of excellent senses, which are of great importance while feeding after sunset – the hours when predators are most active.
I truly appreciate every animal, both great and small. But there is something about the buffalo that I find enchanting.
MD, Camp Jabulani