All You Need To Know About Successful African Buffalo Hunting
African buffalo hunting is by far the most popular of all dangerous game hunting in Africa. Hunters may take one lion or leopard in their African hunting career but will keep coming back to hunt more buffalo. Be warned though - African buffalo hunting is the most addictive sport hunting in the world!
"You're going after African buffalo. You've read a lot about them and no doubt you're excited over the possibility of some thrilling encounters. Well, calm down. Chances are about five thousand to one against your meeting up with one of those much-publicized, murderously minded bulls. What you're more likely to see are the rapidly disappearing hind ends of hundreds of shy, apprehensive herds." Alexander Lake
Where To Hunt African Buffalo
African buffalo are available to hunt in one form or another in all African hunting countries.
- The Cape or southern buffalo can be hunted in South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Uganda. Cape buffalo are found in Botswana but are not huntable since the Government hunting ban was imposed on all controlled hunting areas throughout the country.
- The western savanna buffalo may be hunted in Benin, Burkina Faso and Cameroon.In Central African Republic (CAR) the western savanna buffalo is often known as the central African buffalo but it is still the same subspecies.
- The Nile or north-eastern buffalo may be hunted in the savanna woodlands of west Ethiopia and west Uganda.
- The dwarf forest buffalo may be hunted on a forest hunt in Cameroon and CAR. A few forest buffalo hunts are available in the Republic of Congo.
African Buffalo Hunting Prices (For Informative Use Only)
The Cape or southern buffalo is by far the most popular buffalo to hunt and often hunters are keen to know where they will get best value for money and the best quality or biggest trophies.
Buffalo beauty is in the eye of the beholder and some hunters have very firm ideas about how their buffalo trophy should look. Some just want the biggest horn spread possible, regardless of the maturity of the animal and the fact it may have a soft boss. Others want an old animal with hard boss, the wider the better, and are not too concerned with spread. Some hunters want a stylish deep horn drop and curl, while others are looking specifically for a really worn old boy with hardly any typical horn shape left, commonly called a scrum-cap.
The other important buffalo hunting consideration is the quality of the hunting experience and 'atmosphere' of the hunt that you may want. Do you want to hunt buffalo in a traditional wilderness area or are you happy to hunt one on a fenced game ranch?
Cape Buffalo Hunting In Tanzania
- There is no doubt that the biggest Cape buffalo herds are to be found in Tanzania and this is the place to go to hunt Cape buffalo BUT it is expensive, not least because you need charter flights to access most hunt areas. The least expensive Tanzanian buffalo hunt is on the 10 day licence where you may take 2 buffalo, plus a handful of plains game. You may occasionally find 7 day buffalo hunts offered, sometimes only for 1 buffalo, sometimes for 2 buffalo. These short hunts will still be using a 10 day licence and the outfitter may offer them because they are popular with clients, being cheaper and they can get more clients in and spread the buffalo quota further.
- In Tanzania you are only allowed to hunt Cape buffalo bulls.
- When you are looking at 7 or 10 day buffalo hunt pricing in Tanzania, at first glance you will find quite a variation. This is because some outfitters quote for a whole package including air charter flights. Depending on where the hunt is exactly located, but say, the north Selous, you will be looking at US$19,200 to 21,900 for a 1x1 10 day hunt + trophy fees and about US$17,500 for a 1x1 7 day hunt + trophy fees. Other outfitters quote a daily rate + all Government taxes + air charter which when totalled should be in the ballpark of a buffalo 'package' with an average quality outfitter. The more renowned 'upmarket' outfitters, of course, will be far more expensive, even if they offer 10 day buffalo hunts, which some don't.
- The Government trophy fee for buffalo is US$1900 - for all buffalo whether it is the 1st, 2nd or 3rd buffalo (21/28 day only) taken on licence. However you will rarely see this quoted because varying percentages of Community Development/Anti-poaching fees are added. Outfitters frequently charge different trophy fees for the 1st and 2nd buffalo. So for the 1st buffalo you are looking at a trophy fee from US$2200 to US$2900 and for the 2nd buffalo, US$2500 to US$3100.
Cape Buffalo Hunting In Zambia
- Zambia has some great buffalo hunting, particularly in the Luangwa Valley and the Kafue regions. In 2014 Government concessions were closed to hunting with only privately owned game ranches and hunting reserves allowed to conduct hunting safaris. However recently the Zambian Government lifted this ban and is allowing hunting of most game, including elephants. The hunting of cats is still banned, pending surveys of their numbers and 'sustainability measures'.
- Buffalo hunts in Zambia are frequently offered as varying length packages with other specific game such as hippo, crocodile or roan etc. If these packages are of interest, you are looking at daily rates of US$1200 1x1 + trophy fees. The minimum hunt length for buffalo only is 7 days. Privately owned game ranches may offer lower daily rates but higher trophy fees. Buffalo trophy fees may range from US$4000 to US$7500.
- Hunts in the wilderness areas of Zambia are fantastic experiences but are generally more expensive because the costs of logistics are high, as in Tanzania.
Cape Buffalo Hunting In Mozambique
- In Mozambique, buffalo hunting is commonly offered in 7 or 10 day packages which include the buffalo licence fee and trophy fee. In addition there are lots of combo buffalo packages of different hunt lengths and animals. If you want to hunt other animals on your package, you will need to ask the outfitter about quota and pre-pay the additional non-refundable licence fees.
- A 7 day buffalo only inclusive 1x1 package may range from US$11000 to US$14000. A 10 day buffalo 1x1 buffalo package goes from US$12500 to US$15500.
- A regular buffalo hunt daily rate goes from US$1200 to US$1350, with a licence fee from US$1050 to US$1400 + buffalo trophy fee from US$3200 to US$6200.
- Buffalo package hunts in Mozambique rarely, if ever, offer a partial refund if you don't, for whatever reason, take a buffalo. Always read the full terms and conditions on these hunts and if package refunds are not specified, make a point of asking the outfitter.
Cape Buffalo Hunting In Namibia
- Buffalo hunting in Namibia is restricted to conservancies in the Caprivi area because of strict veterinary control to prevent bovine disease spreading to affect cattle.
- Buffalo only hunting is usually for set minimums of 7, 8 or 10 hunting days + trophy fee. The 1x1 hunt rates go from about US$13200 up to US$14200 with buffalo trophy fees from US$3250 to US$8500. There is also a conservancy fee to pay on these Caprivi buffalo hunts.
- If you want to hunt other dangerous game as well as a buffalo, there are plenty of dangerous game combo hunts offered.
Cape Buffalo Hunting In Zimbabwe
- Buffalo hunting in Zimbabwe is the least expensive in Africa because generally area fees are lower, there are higher buffalo quotas and easier logistics.
- In Zimbabwe you can find any number of buffalo bull and other dangerous game or plains game combo hunts, all-inclusive buffalo package hunts, short 'special offer' buffalo only hunts and still cheaper hunts for 'non-trophy' buffalo or non-exportable buffalo.
- Some examples of 1x1 buffalo hunting prices go from a 5 day non-exportable buffalo hunt at US$6800, a 7 day 'special' for US$13000 + US$4000 buffalo bull trophy fee and 10 day buffalo trophy fee included packages from US$15520 to US$22500. A straight daily rate + trophy fee hunt may be in the range of US$1100 to US$1700 with buffalo bull trophy fees going from US$4000 to US$5500. An undefined 'non-trophy' buffalo bull is around US$3500.
- Don't forget you can hunt cow buffalo in Zimbabwe for a considerably lower trophy fee of US$1500.
Cape Buffalo Hunting In South Africa
- In South Africa, buffalo hunting can be done on fenced game ranches or in the bigger reserves near the Kruger National Park.
- Like Namibia, there are veterinary 'red line' regulations on the movement of buffalo to protect domestic cattle from various bovine diseases, such as foot and mouth, bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis and corridor disease. However, unlike Namibia, South Africa has quite a few game ranches where herds of 'clean' or disease-free buffalo are raised for breeding and hunting. These buffalo have gone through the hoops of being quarantined, tested for disease, tagged, chipped and registered at great expense to the owners. Thus if you are going to hunt a 'clean' buffalo on a game ranch you are going to be paying a hefty trophy fee. However, you may have the 'advantage' of knowing your buffalo's exact horn size before you shoot it. If you want an old heavy-bossed bull, be careful if considering this kind of hunt. You might get the biggish spread but the boss is likely to be soft or at least, not at its full potential, if the owner allows the bull to be shot when too young.
- As with many horned game animals hunted in South Africa, you may pay different package hunt costs and trophy fees for buffalo depending on horn spread measurement. Some outfitters will offer as many as 5 different buffalo horn size price increments, the lowest being for a scrum-cap or helmet buffalo who may only measure 34" spread, rising through to a 'superior' trophy bull with about a 44" spread. Generally a horn spread of 38" is the magic number that divides 'non-trophy' and 'trophy buffalo' bulls.
- Buffalo hunting prices in South Africa generally have reasonable daily rates but high trophy fees. Daily rates run from about US$350 to US$600 and buffalo bull trophy fees from US$11000 to US$15000. The sky's the limit for an ex-breeding bull in the area of 50" horn spread.
- Cow buffalo in South Africa have trophy fees in the range of US$5000.
Cape And Nile Buffalo Hunting In Uganda
- The Cape buffalo of Uganda are generally smaller than those found in Tanzania and elsewhere.
- The Nile buffalo of Uganda are larger than the ones found in Ethiopia.
- The 1x1 Cape buffalo hunts in Uganda have hunt rates of between US$1400 and US$1850 per day with trophy fees of US$2500 to US$3000.
- Hunted in west Uganda in the Nile river basin, Nile buffalo are slghtly more expensive - a 10 day hunt is about US$19500 and the Nile buffalo trophy fee ranges from US$4000 to US$5000.
- How to tell the difference between a Cape buffalo and a Nile buffalo? To quote Peter Flack..."The acid test, I believe, is to draw a horizontal line through the eyes sockets of the buffalo. In the case of genuine Nile buffalo, the downward sweep of the horns will never break this horizontal line".
Nile Buffalo Hunting In Ethiopia
- The Nile buffalo of Ethiopia are generally smaller than the ones found in Uganda. Also there are no Cape buffalo in Ethiopia to confuse matters - just Nile buffalo.
- If you are going to Ethiopia first and foremost for a mountain nyala, you'll need to add a lowland hunt location such as Danikal, if you want a Nile buffalo too. If you only want a Nile buffalo and some of the special Ethiopian lowland species, a 16 day hunt will be in the region of US$57500. The trophy fee on a Nile buffalo is around US$3000.
Western Savanna Buffalo Hunting In Benin
- The western savanna buffalo come in 3 colours - noir, noir-rouge et rouge. If you want the largest horned beast, hunt the noir or black buffalo. The noir-rouge (black-red) and rouge (red) are generally smaller horned but all are extremely tenacious, irritable and agile - even more so than the Cape buffalo on a bad day.
- When looking at western buffalo hunt prices in Benin, be aware some outfitters price the daily or total hunt rates in US$ and the trophy fees in Euros. Others use Euros for the whole hunt.
- The cheapest option for western buffalo + a few plains game in Benin is a 6 day hunt at about 6000 Euros. This rises to US$36000 for a 20 day full bag of Benin game animals, including the western buffalo and western roan. The western buffalo trophy fee ranges from 800 Euros to 2000 Euros.