THE AFRICAN CAPE BUFFALO  🐃 is on the list of Africa’s top five as a prize trophy.  Hunters spent thousands of dollars in Africa to hunt the ‘Big Five of Africa’ as they are known.  Now four of the five are protected and permitted.   And fortunately photographic hunts are out distancing shooting hunts except by poachers. 

The five Most Dangerous Species as they are known by, are the  African Elephant, Black Rhinoceros, Cape Buffalo, African Lion,  and the African Leopard.  The Cape  Buffalo is not on the endangered list.  The buffalo besides being a trophy, some consider it the most dangerous as it will out think you, backtrack, plan a trap, and attack using logic.

But as we have seen many times before things change and the main predator on the planet is still man and when he’s not destroying animals, he is one of the few species that kills wildlife for sport and food, and a few demented individuals who would murder their own kind for sport or gain.  

Thus I have expanded this section including the animals that most of the time are harmonious with the Buffalo, in the hopes many will trade their killing tools for preservation tools.









My uncle H. Katz was a recognized world class hunter, and he had the financial means to support a very expensive hobby.  He made many journeys in the sixties and seventies to Africa, and the Orient.  He was an importer of goods from clothing to hardware and welcomed in many place willing to sell to the US.   Additional information furnished by Thomson Safaris and Wikipedia.

His house was a miniature of the Natural History Museum of NYC, mammals of the world. In fact, the trophies were curated and properly displayed by the same companies, professionals and employees that did the museum work for his donations.  He had quite an impressive collection.  

His Cape Buffalo was from my memory massive.  About five to six feet across in a massive head and the curved portion tips were about three and half feet tip to tip, when I stretched my arms out.  Not something I would like to casually meet on a trail.

I used to ask him about these hunts, he was a very patient and specific teacher.  He explained how they differed because they (the animals) were so diversified, he had a way of  bringing the hunting experience to life.  I learned from him a lot about culling herds, livestock management, and he was very selective and knowledgeable on the subject.  And he taught me about the Big Five as they are known...

They relocated downwind for a better shot.  The shot resulted in the bull hanging on my uncles wall, the herd was spread out feeding, and the guide gave the go.  As soon as my Uncle put a bullet into the bull they were stalking, the bull froze and starred at them.  The others took off, I think any thing else on this planet would have fell dead from that large round. 

He was still standing from a round that came from a bolt action, it could have been a Remington, Ruger, Winchester, maybe a Rigby in Mauser action. I don’t remember what he told me,  I’m guessing a custom built Rigby, he could afford it.  But it was the right choice on a tough animal because of rules the guides follow.

The professional guide, stepped in front of my uncle, with a double, which looks identical to a double barrel shotgun except the barrels are three time thicker.  Something called experience told him to,  and he told my uncle to put a second one in, he put a second into the bull.  It went down first on front legs.  

It was a good trophy and there were many in the group, my cousins, and the guide taking no chances, these animals are resilient.   The guide approached first and took no chances.  The bull dropped completely from the third round from the guide.  I only saw the head on the wall and the pictures of the animal were massive.

The meat and remains, just a little went to the camp, about 100 lbs, as there is a lot of meat on 2000 plus pounds and the balance was quickly removed to the local village where all of the externals and internals get used for something.  Nothing gets wasted.  That evening the locals did a dance and thanks to the hunter and guide for the gift of food.

I had even asked him, even though I had held some of his rifles,a couple very heavy, weighing ten plus pounds.  The bullets were huge.  The weight aiding the horrendous kickback or recoil-reduction.  Which didn’t help my cousin.

My cousin Steven at thirteen as a gift on his Bar Mitzvah went with Dad to Africa and got to shoot a real big trophy elephant with the big gun (The 458 or the 500 Nitro) and I seem to remember that the shot broke his shoulder or collarbone, what price glory.  But he got the trophy elephant bull and some great stories to tell.

On the ground the Cape Buffalo is quite an advisary.  My uncle told me thats the only one who will backtrack, and lay in wait to ambush you.  A wounded Cape Buffalo is an extremely dangerous animal because of his smarts and singular efforts.  Most animals if wounded flee, he’s looking for a fight and revenge, it’s their nature, comes from the rut and breeding season mentality.  

More so since he won’t back down or flee and he will circle and trap you.  The thick bush and brush hides them well for an ambush and they use it.  Many hunters and experts believe a wounded buffalo is about as dangerous as you can get and responsible for many injuries and deaths.   Though there are no hard-and-fast facts on the matter, some claim that the African buffalo is the most dangerous animal to man in Africa, even more so than the hippopotamus, which is worse than crocs, lions and tigers.

Unique, animal characteristics for a herd animal and if you watch the animal channels or nature shows, you will see when attacked by lions, the buffalos will come to the aid of each other.  They will form rings around the females and the calves.  And it takes four sometimes five or six lions to bring a large 2200 pound buffalo down.  

Just when you think he’s done, here comes the infantry, his fellow brothers in horns and you might see a lion or two thrown into the air, some mortally, by those horns and a skull that can crush almost anything that gets in it’s way.



ELEPHANTS - They’re not only the largest animal you’ll spot on safari, elephants are likely one of the smartest. Scientists have observed complex familial relationships between elephant families, and they seem to show empathy, self-awareness  famously long memories, mourn relatives who die, visiting their gravesite regularly over the years, and showing special interest in elephant bones, even if they didn’t know the animal. 

This was before Internet days and he knew all about it first hand.  If it wasn’t a trophy, as the larger Elephant bulls are, only a few ever get to mate and during a period called the rut, showing musth,  the rest spend their time fighting with each other since the door to procreation last only a short while.   Days sometimes...  

So there has to be somewhat of a culling limited to mad bulls and mad men.  They become very dangerous at this time.  If it could help the locals for food, he was there.  Some safaris, he helped feed a tribe. He got lucky on some, some empty handed.   Thats why it’s called hunting, not slaughtering.

Uncle Hy told me the Elephant will make noise, postulate, do a bluff charge, back off, and he might really charge, he’s like a kid testing his boundaries... and if you watch his ears and his head position he gives you a clue.  To survive your best bet is, stand  still, hold your ground or back off slowly.  They move a lot faster than you can.  And trees don’t usually stop them. 

Photo credit: The incident played out at the Maasai Marai reserve in Kenya and was captured by amateur photographer, Kimberly Maurer, 56, who was on holiday at the reserve.  Incredible timing, photography boils down sometimes to situation awareness and location, location, location...  The Cape buffalo got too curious, meant no harm but thats almost 1800 pounds doing a double axle with a half twist.  

And you had better exhibit most caution during the RUT when females estrus cycle begins and the males get drunk on love portion number nine.  

DEFINITION -  is a periodic condition in bull (male) elephants, characterized by highly aggressive behavior and accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones. 

Testosterone levels in an elephant in musth can be as much as 6 times greater than in the same elephant at other times. 

However, whether this hormonal surge is the sole cause of musth, or merely a contributing factor, is unknown.  Since no one in their right mind wants to interview a rogue elephant during this period of time.  Nevertheless females about 80-85% of bull size with calf are just as dangerous.  Or as my cousin said: “ Momma don’t take no crap from nobody”. 

Scientific investigation of musth is problematic because even the most placid elephants become highly violent toward humans and other elephants during musth and not a good place to be when they go off their rocker.   One keeper was killed right here in Tampa by a bull who smashed his way thru a steel door that wasn’t secured and crushed and trampled the keeper.

THE RHINO Cares less about whether you are on foot or on top of a Jeep.  Avoid him and his “ pecking distance ”    Thats a phrase used when birds are roosting and you’ll see them on power lines evenly spaced apart.  Get too close and they peck the intruder bird.  For the Rhino whose vision it’s a comfort zone.

He’ll charge and many have gotten hurt when the Jeep or Rover flips or you get knocked off.  Once they go into charge mode there is no stopping them and the 416 Rigby is the smallest round in this case or a fast Land Rover on flat land.

Massive, solitary, and horned, a black rhinoceros wandering the African plains looks almost prehistoric.  He took his Rhino from fifty yards and fifty years ago.  Now only cameras are acceptable.

Their horns, made of keratin protein such as that found in fingernails and hair, fetch high prices on the black market, the Chinese believing a powder from the horn gives great strength and virilness, only a handful of black rhinos remain in the wild. Since they were slaughtered for their horn to make men virile from the powder, I suggested poachers should be castrated for their act...only fair?

Beautiful animals poached for their horns.  In the preserves the horns are cut off to save the animals lives. Due to their low numbers and poaching, Rhinos get great clearance and rarely attack unless provoked.  

Recently in January our Busch Gardens, part of a national program welcomed Winifred, a bouncing 140 pound baby girl.  Mom and Winifred are doing fine. And Winfred is in basic training now for health reasons, treats are used as rewards for performing actions that allow the keepers to  monitor their health.  Busch Gardens has an excellent track record.

African Wildlife Foundation is working with other conservation organizations and governments to spread public awareness about the illegal rhino horn trade, the horrors of poaching, and dwindling rhino populations. For example, we launched a campaign with WildAid in 2012 featuring former NBA star Yao Ming and targeting Chinese audiences to bring attention to the atrocities of rhino poaching and dispel myths about rhino horn. You can also help spread the wor


THE LIONS -  They are the apex predator on land, a lion does exactly what your housecoat does sleep about 14 hours or more a day. Tanzania, which is home to over 15,000 lions, about half the remaining of the wild population.  The Lions are family oriented, the females do the hunting and the males do the protection and propagating. Buffalo are a favored food of the Lions who also take Zebra, smaller Gazelles and almost anything that looks like chicken including people like the Tsavo man-killers. 

They rest during the heat of the day then form coordinated hunting packs. Females with cubs are more elusive and if you happen to  get in their way, if you surprise them or come upon one you’ll see how fast they are, generally they’ll walk off and avoid you, but not a rule, mothers will be mothers and relentless.  

The hunter with permit usually goes after rogue males those not with a harem and pushed out of the pride.  They will hunt during the day as they are twice the size of most females weighing 500 plus ponds.  These younger rogues can be dangerous and sometimes form small groups and hunt together.  Even people...

THE MOST FAMOUS WERE THE TSAVO MAN-EATERS - They were a pair of man-eating East African lions from the Tsavo region, which were responsible for the deaths of a number of construction workers on the Kenya-Uganda Railway from March through December 1898. 

The significance of this pair of lions was their unusual behavior, such as the number of men killed and the manner of the attacks.  They were young males, displaced from the females and cubs, not matured as yet, no manes and became rogues.  

As the males grow into maturity and “ fighting weight and size”, they will then try to take over a harem by defeating the alpha dominant male and running him off or killing him.  They might at that point kill all the cubs to bring the females into estrus and start the clan over.  Many younger males lose in these battles, badly.  Alpha male lions are pretty good fighters.


His name was Max and he was the predominant male in Busch Gardens and lived for estimated fifteen years and every Photo Safari I took and led to Busch Gardens teaching photography close to a decade always included MAX and the Tigers.  

Max lived with a private owner who kept him as a pet for nine years. In 1997, he was transferred to Busch Gardens Africa for the opening of the Edge of Africa.  

If he was nine at his transfer and lived another decade, that might be a record for lions unless the math is incorrect.

Max was the oldest male lion at the park and spent his time with Kia, an older female.The pair rotated between two exhibits with the Spotted Hyenas. 

They rotated time spent in the exhibit with the younger pride of lions, Simon, Rose, and Iris. 

The two spend most of their time in their night quarters, as the keepers spare the older pride from the heat. They were often put on exhibit in the late afternoon, once the day has begun to cool off. 

Max was unable to breed due to a vasectomy. He has far outlived the life expectancy for wild lions, and had begun to turn blind. 

On May 12, 2002, a zookeeper, Amanda Bourassa, was taking her family on a behind the scenes tour when Max pulled her arm through the cage and severed it at the elbow.  Bourassa and three other keepers were performing a routine training exercise where the lion laid down in a cage with his tail between the bars to allow blood to be drawn. Max has a chronic liver condition and needs frequent blood tests, and this exercise was designed to allow the keepers to safely take samples. 


Even though no blood was being taken that day, keepers ran through the routine as part of training and Bourassa fed the lion meat through the bars.  Although Max showed no signs of agitation and had been through this routine several times, he suddenly grabbed the keeper’s arm and pulled it through the cage. 

Doctors were unable to reattach the arm. Behind-the-scenes tours were suspended for that day and Max was not put on exhibit. Park executives declared that Max, then 12 years old, would not be put down and that park safety policy would be reviewed. 

The reason for the accident was unknown, since Max had been touched by his trainers and responded to his name before, and had received the treatment since arriving at the park in 1997.



THE LEOPARDS -  Nocturnal, stealthy, and wary of humans, leopards are an elusive animal, making a sighting a rare treat for any safari-goer. The smallest of the big cats, leopards are mostly solitary creatures, and are likely to flee at the first sign of perceived danger.  

Leopards are most active at night, which means most safari-goers will spot them resting during the day among the branches of the trees they use as a home base. 

The treetops aren’t just a leopard’s bed, they’re often also its kitchen; leopards regularly drag their kills up into the branches to keep scavengers and other predators from snatching them away.

The LEOPARD (Panthera padres) is one of the five species in the genus Panthera, a member of the Felidae.   The leopard occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia and is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because leopard populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, and are declining in large parts of the global range.

In Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait, Syria, Libya, Tunisia and most likely in Morocco, leopard populations have already been locally exterminated.  Contemporary records suggest that the leopard occurs in only 25% of its historical global range.  Leopards are hunted illegally, and their body parts are smuggled in the wildlife trade for medicinal practices and decoration. Pound for pound and size Leopards are incredibly strong and nasty fighters.  Ask a few Hyenas....




I only sanction hunting with guide, approved permits, and gov. approved culling.  Anything else is called poaching. I used to hunt, about forty years ago,  I traded my hunting guns for hunting cameras...   but in reality sometimes herds have to be culled or adjustments made to the population so it may grow...  animals are different from us and one male lion can support his harem and the other four rogue males will do nothing except possibly kill the cubs livestock, and anything else that gets in their way like you.

Again, I would still prefer you use a camera but I understand hunting is OK,  for legal purpose, food on the table,  if done safely, properly, following rules and guidelines with approved escort.  Oh, and a healthy wallet of 7,000 to 12,000 dollars or more, plus transportation and airfare, and a port-o-let if needed.  

•  The most popular Afrikaner rounds would be .375 H&H, the .416 Rigby is most popular for Cape Buffalo.

•  Since 1902, the 458 LOTT preferred by guides as the shorter range blockbuster back up weapon in a doubles rifle if a charging buffalo is missed by the .416 Rigby.

•  The .416, RIGBY as the all around with 100 years of experience and enough bullet weight and charges to suit anything. The superbly crafted RIGBY in Mauser action, is the creme de la creme.  

•  And there are no limits in expensive models.  Weatherby is popular in the states but not in Africa for some reason.  Some of the doubles guns can run 40,000 to 100,000 dollars.  

Some even more.  They are works of art and usually seen on walls or in cases on display.

• The shippers and airlines are not well known for taking care of your 100,000 dollar wall hanger.  A CZ550 in 416 Rigby is the logical choice for the hunter as long as it is approved by permit, guide, and all rules and regulations followed to the letter. 

•  Recently I saw a video of the .700 Nitro Express being fired which is used when hunting Godzilla or Mothra.   This what the average individual would wind up getting to meet his Orthopedic Surgeon after being declared nuts by his Psychiatrist.

•  More reasonable might be the Krieghoff African BIG FIVE in II grade shown above at a starting price of 17,500 dollars.


The budget gun for Africa would be the CZ550.  The .375 H&H is the minimum round for use in South Africa Dangerous big game and I really prefer you use a Nikon, SONY or Canon. The CZ is available for 1500 to 3500 dollars US and a wise choice in .375 H&H or the .416 Rigby. It’s a complete package able to work with scope or iron sights. 

Built on our 550 Magnum action,
the American Safari Magnum is intended for use with magnified optics, but with backup irons in place were that optic to be removed. Its American-styled stock has a high, flat comb for this purpose, better sight picture, while its round front end won’t snag on brush and limbs. QD sling studs are mounted into the stock, and a thick rubber butt pad helps tame recoil.

Features include 3-leaf express sights (1 standing, 2 folding), hammer forged barrel and single set trigger. Mauser-style controlled round feed and fixed ejector make this rifle reliable for high-stress situations with heavy and dangerous game.
Suggestion: Ready to go, and small things like ultra polish the rails, for a smooth feed, ( don’t over do it,  polish does not mean grind, and means 600 grit lapping compound and a fine cleaning ) and a dozen rounds at the range should build confidence.


In  Zulu, 
ukuzingela kwe-Afrika, translates as “the spirit of African Hunting”.  The African Cape buffalo weighing over a ton, four times the weight of a male fully grown lion, needs the large big-game bullet as whats needed to do the job.  

Some tribes do not have a grocery store nearby and permitted to take what they need for sustenance. 

Simple rules, for the hunters,  too high a frontal shot is not a good option, with the mass of the head, a small brain, and serious HD cranial and horn structure might not consecrate a clean kill.  The  buffalo’s extremely thick skull with curving horns completely cover the top of the animal’s head, forming a near-impenetrable bone shield that can even deflect bullets. 

You really do not wish to tick them off.   This is not 30-06 land, this is .375 minimum, preferably 416 Rigby land max loads. There are probably another fifty suitable bullets and loads but these are the most popular and available.

With no Cabelas or Bass pro Shops on any corners, its best to use what the others use since running out of two dollar a shot bullets and you are the only one in Africa that day shooting the  “Alfred E.Newman .438 Hand Loaded Modified Round” is not a smart move.

Because of this, and the buffalo’s large size (males can weigh up to 2,000 pounds), most predators won’t attempt to take down an adult African buffalo alone.  Occasionally a lion pack will go after a calf or old weaker female or disabled male,  but thats what nature according to Darwin is all about. Survival of the Fittest.






In the cold hours before dawn this week on a South African game reserve, a dog began barking. It was a special breed of Belgian sheepdog, and its job was to listen for poachers.

The dog’s handler, trained to guard rhinoceroses, could hear a pride of lions in the distance. He decided it was a false alarm. But that Monday evening, rangers came across the remains of men suspected of being poachers.

“One of our guys found what he thought was a soccer ball,” Nick Fox, the owner of the private game reserve in Eastern Cape Province, said on Friday. “It turned out to be a skull.”

The next morning, rangers and police officers said that as many as three men suspected of being rhino poachers had been killed by lions in an area densely packed with thorn bushes.

“There was nothing we could do before that,” Mr. Fox said. “It was getting dark — too unsafe to be on foot.” He added, “Once lions have taken down a human, you cannot be on the ground with them.”  To get to the remains, the rangers had to shoot the lions with darts to knock them out.

The men killed had been carrying a high-caliber rifle and an ax for chopping off the horns of the animals they planned to hunt, Mr. Fox said. They also had food to last several days — “mostly bread,” Mr. Fox said — and wire cutters for getting through fences. His estimate of three victims was based on counting their clothes and shoes.

Rhino horn is worth about $9,000 per pound in Asia, driving a lucrative and illicit trade. It is a prized ingredient in Chinese traditional medicine and is considered a status symbol.

South Africa is home to about 20,000 wild rhinos, more than 80 percent of the world’s population. About one-third of the animals are owned by private breeders. Since 2008, more than 7,000 rhinos have been hunted illegally, with 1,028 killed in 2017, according to the South African Department of Environmental Affairs.

Capt. Mali Govender of the Eastern Cape police service confirmed the deaths and said that the remains had been sent for forensic testing. But she said it “was not possible to speculate” how many victims had died.    Good Riddance... 

African Wildlife Foundation’s Mission:

“Is to ensure wildlife and wild lands thrive in modern Africa"

African Wildlife Foundation is working with other conservation organizations and governments to spread public awareness about the illegal rhino horn trade, the horrors of poaching, and dwindling rhino populations. For example, we launched a campaign with WildAid in 2012 featuring former NBA star Yao Ming and targeting Chinese audiences to bring attention to the atrocities of rhino poaching and dispel myths about rhino horn. You can also help spread the word.

Give rhinos a sanctuary
AWF constructed Nguila Rhino Sanctuary in Tsavo East National Park in Kenya. Although fencing in wildlife is a last resort, AWF supported the sanctuary’s establishment due to the rhinos’ critical status. We provided funding to the sanctuary, ensured park staff had necessary equipment (vehicles, radio sets, etc.), and created housing for rangers and staff. Most recently, AWF provided the sanctuary with camera traps, which once caught potential poachers on camera, to monitor rhinos. At Nguila, rhinos have a protected, fenced-in space to live in. 

Recruit wildlife scouts
AWF recruits, trains, and equips wildlife scouts who protect the rhino from poachers. Wildlife scouts are familiar with landscapes, wildlife, and community members. As insiders, they are able to quickly identify any suspicious activity. They monitor rhinos—and other wildlife—and work with local authorities, like Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), to help them apprehend poachers and even identify would-be poachers.

Work with the legal system
In 2012, AWF hosted a Rhino Summit—an emergency response to the rhino-poaching crisis—to create a comprehensive plan to protect rhinos. The plan called for increasing surveillance on the ground, strengthening law enforcement, curbing demand and trade, and reaching out to influence policy makers and legal entities. Later the same year, we, along with KWS, hosted an Illegal Wildlife Trafficking Luncheon that brought together the top legal minds to discuss harsher penalties for wildlife-related crimes. 

Equipping wildlife rangers, deploying sniffer dogs, and training

Providing wildlife rangers with anti-poaching equipment and training prevents the killing of wildlife in protected areas, but to disrupt illegal wildlife trade we deploy trained Canine Detection Units along trafficking channels to intercept wildlife contraband. Located at major seaports and airports in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Mozambique, the robust sniffer dog and handler teams stop illegal wildlife products such as ivory, rhino horn, pangolin scales — as well as the smugglers and poachers behind the killing. With additional training in the enforcement of wildlife laws, national agencies ensure these criminals are prosecuted without slipping through legal loopholes.

Enabling conservation-friendly community empowerment
We understand specific community needs and work closely with members to make sure they get direct benefits from conserving wildlife and protecting natural habitat. While our education outreach programs help locals to reduce human-wildlife conflict, we also implement projects that create a positive impact for the entire community. AWF has helped communities lease their land to develop conservancies or wildlife management areas. We also help farming communities explore sustainable agriculture, growing their income and reducing pressure on living and natural resources.

Building conservation partnerships and spreading awareness across the continent — and the world
Not only do we nurture relationships with rural community leaders, we also represent Africa’s wildlife and wild lands as the continent strives to meet sustainable development goals. We are working closely with the African Union to ensure that conservation is central to progress over the next few decades. Outside the continent, we have launched successful public awareness campaigns in China and Vietnam informing consumers about the brutal truths behind the global wildlife trade. We also advocate for governments and protection agencies to ban international trade in wildlife parts like ivory and introduce stiffer penalties for criminals.

Applying research to our conservation strategies
We match our decades worth of experience on the ground with pioneering scientific research to add a new dimension to our work across the continent. GPS collars on priority populations of elephants help us identify which land must be conserved while radio collars on lions allow us to track population trends, seasonal movement patterns, and mortality. Incisive geographical information systems and mapping informs our conservation strategies so even remote landscapes are protected.