One of the less discussed Big 5 members on our Blog is the African Buffalo. Syncerus caffer weighing in at roughly 700 kg, but being able to reach 900 kg or more, is a formidable foe. The Big 5, (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo), is derived from the fiercest or hardest animals to hunt. In terms of buffalo the Big 5 classification is meant mostly towards the old Dagga Boys, of which we have many.
A Dagga Boy, (“Dagga” referring either to mud or as a slang term for crazy), is a bull who has left the breeding herd in his old age. Usually by himself, although sometimes multiple Dagga Boys come together to drink or eat, he is as grumpy and crazy as old men come, and is constantly rolling in the mud to rid himself of pesky parasites, aid in his inevitable hair loss, or to cool down. Buffalo’s eyesight, hearing, and sense of smell is acute and even in their old age Dagga Boys still have reputable use of their senses, which they love to use to stalk and find a ranger out walking in the bush and then proceed to chase them up thorn trees…Ouch! They also are extremely aggressive if wounded naturally or by unsuccessful hunters, and will charge anything within their vicinity, including getting into an argument or two with unsuspecting trees.
Breeding herds, (also known as an Obstinacy), consisting of the younger and more virile bulls, mothers and young of successive generations, and towards the back the aging and sick, also enjoy chasing rangers up said thorn tree, or perhaps chucking young lions half-way across a dam wall, (see Battle at Kruger on YouTube), and will hectically defend their young by stampeding. Our breeding herd here at Kapama is roughly 400 in number and during the winter/spring seasons tend to roam about in huge numbers lazily eating, drinking, nursing their young, and basically just being buffalo.
Accompanied in multiple numbers by the ever present Red-Billed Oxpecker, ready to alarm call at the slightest interruption, our huge breeding herds make for spectacular viewing while on a quiet morning drive such as this morning. Although myself and my guests were high-up relative to the ground while in the Land Cruiser, buffalos still tend to impress in their size and ability to make any unsuspecting guest ill-at-ease by sniffing the air, nose held high, and eyes staring straight at you as if to say, I see you and could charge if I wanted but have better things to do at the moment.
Just for fun, here are some other collective nouns for animals found here at Kapama:
Herd of Buffalo – Obstinacy of Buffalo
Herd of Elephants – Parade of Elephants
Flock of Vultures – Parliament of Vultures
Multiple Leopards – Leap of Leopards
Multiple Rhinos – Crash of Rhinos
Herd of Zebra – Dazzle of Zebra
Group of Giraffe – Journey of Giraffe
Multiple Mongooses – Business of Mongoose
Story by: Noelle Di Lorenzo-Kapama River Lodge Ranger