Book a Cape Buffalo Hunting Safari of a lifetime with Graham Sales Safaris

“We are stewards of a life altering experience you will remember for years to come and at GSS, we take that responsibility seriously”

“The excitement of the hunt, thrill of the chase, the final result of a spectacular trophy, this is why we hunt, and that is why we guide hunts ethically and professionally for other hunters. – The team at Graham Sales Safaris (GSS).

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Whether you are an experienced Cape Buffalo hunter or ready to hunt your first Cape Buffalo, Graham Sales Safaris will professionally guide you to your next magnificent Cape Buffalo trophy.

 

Hunters looking to experience the thrill of hunting Africa’s black death – the Cape Buffalo in Africa, take note….

 

Article Highlights:

  • Hunting grounds – Where will you be hunting free range Cape Buffalo?
  • Tips on preparing for your Cape Buffalo hunt from Graham Sales himself.
  • Hunt preview: How your hunt will be conducted and what you can expect. Graham explains.
  • Our ethical approach to Cape Buffalo hunting.
  • Tips on ammunition when hunting the Cape Buffalo.
  • Get in touch.

GSS is extremely selective in trophy quality, guiding our clients to top trophy animals.

Hunting concessions – Where will you be hunting free range Cape Buffalo?

Graham Sales Safaris offers exceptional free range hunting safaris in the world renowned  Klaserie Private Nature Reserve and Timbavati Private Nature Reserve (which forms part of the Associated Private Nature Reserves) as well as Songimvelo Nature Reserve which is South Africa’s largest Provincial Nature Reserve that also has World Heritage status.

Experience ethically minded hunting at its best and a professionally conducted hunting safari with experienced professional hunters and field staff. From Elephant Hunting Safaris to Leopard Hunting Safaris, we hunt only in our high quality Safari areas that produce true trophy quality animals.

Both reserves (Timbavati & Klaserie Private Nature Reserves) share a common open boundary to the world famous “Greater Park”, which is 4 million acres of rugged beauty, offering an ever-flowing bounty of Cape Buffalo that trek into the Timbavati and Klaserie Private Nature Reserves.

“Hunting in the Klaserie and Timbavati is as free range hunting as you will get in Africa.” – Graham Sales

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Buffalo hunting Safaris

Your hunt / Safari will take place in either one of the following free-range areas, Timbavati Private nature Reserve of the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve which forms part of the Associated Private Nature Reserves where you will encounter Cape Buffalo, Elephant, Lion, Leopard, Hyena, Hippo, White and Black Rhino, Cheetah, Wild dogs and various plains game species like, Blue Wildebeest, Giraffe, Impala, Kudu, Waterbuck, Warthog and Zebra on a day to day basis.

The staggering quantity of Buffalo in the Klaserie and Timbavati Private Nature Reserves allows your Professional Hunter, Graham Sales to be very selective in trophy quality.

“While on Safari in 2016 we saw a herd that was at least six hundred animals. The area is known for huge herds of Cape Buffalo, another herd that we are aware of is at least 1000 – 1200 Buffalo strong with a pride of Lions that moves along on the outskirts of this specific herd. It is quite something to see, a big herd like that,” Graham recalls.

Being on a true Safari and the thrill of the chase is what it is about for anyone hunting Cape Buffalo, as well as having the team of Graham Sales Safaris find  your quality trophy for you among hundreds of other Cape Buffalo in the vast expanse of the Klaserie and the Timbavati, which are both in excess of 125 000 acres each.

Through the years Graham has personally witnessed the gratitude of hunters for simply being able to hunt in the magnificent surrounds of the Klaserie and Timbavati. “These are unique areas and I have guys re-book Safaris to experience a true wild / free range Safari. When one takes a big Buffalo it’s hard to control the excitement. Hunters who want to have a traditional Safari experience hunts with us,” Graham explains.

If you look at our slogan it says “Mind and heart open to nature”. We see when hunters respect nature, it immediately comes through, that respect that our clients have for the animals.” – Graham Sales.

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Buffalo hunting Prices South Africa

Tips on preparing for your Cape Buffalo hunt from Graham Sales himself

Working on your shooting skills and getting more comfortable with your rifle is a good idea before your hunt. A lot of guys who book hunting Safaris with Graham Sales Safaris shoot on the shooting range and off shooting sticks before they come on Safari, which obviously does help.

Here’s what Graham advises: “One of the most important things I think is that hunters know their firearm and to me, safety comes first. Due to lots of adrenaline and excitement, especially when close to a huge Cape Buffalo bull or numerous bulls one must be very aware of safe rifle handling”.

Graham stresses the importance of safety first, that a hunter knows when his rifle is on safe: “I will tell my client when to load his rifle and keep the firearm on safe till he is ready to make the shot and I will instruct him to push the safety off.” We do not travel with loaded firearms on the back of our Safari vehicles –

At GSS, we have shooting sticks (tripod) that we use to practice a few shots from before the hunt and we will make sure that our clients are comfortable shooting off these sticks before we take any shots at any animals.

Hunt Preview: How your Cape Buffalo hunt will be conducted

As soon as we arrive in camp, whether it be the Klaserie or Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, we will let our guests settle into camp and get familiar with our camp setup, maybe have a light lunch if it is that time of the days, only after that we will sight or check rifles at 70 or 100 yards. First, we will shoot off a bench with sand bags to make sure the firearm is sighted where we want it to be, and only then we will let our client take a few shots off the shooting sticks.

Each morning we will have an early breakfast and we will have the Land Cruiser hunting vehicle ready for the day ahead. You and your team, which consists of your Professional Hunter, two trackers and a driver will head out from camp to search for Cape Buffalo or fresh Cape Buffalo tracks.

Graham explains: “When hunting Cape Buffalo in the Klaserie and Timbavati, we will head out until we find fresh Buffalo tracks or sometimes an actual herd – some of these big herds don’t really run away when we get close, they actually just move due to the huge numbers of Cape Buffalo in such a herd. We will then move away with the vehicle and pursue on foot, and then the challenge starts, to get close to the herd and sometimes right among these animals to be able to identify a big old Cape Buffalo bull.

Very old Buffalo Bulls which we refer to as ‘Duggu bulls’ or bachelor bulls do move in and out of herds, and in general move along the outskirts or towards the tail end of herds for a few days and then move off on their own again, it is a common misconception that these old Buffalo bulls never return to herds.

When a large herd is encountered the plan is to get close on foot to determine if there are any trophy quality Bulls in or on the outskirts of the herd. To do this is a matter of experience and Graham Sales Safaris will provide guidance throughout to the hunter we are guiding. It is our job to find an old Buffalo Bull and to get you close enough to comfortable make a good clean shot.

“From the very first Cape Buffalo that we see, I will show my client what a Buffalo with a 36” or 40” outside spread looks like and ascertain the age. If we see a group of Buffalo bulls, I will go through those Buffalo bulls individually (if possible) and explain to my client what we look at when determining if it is a quality animal or not, the face, the neck, the bosses, the drop, curl, tips and width of the horns as well as the body size of the animal” says Graham.

Pro tip: On an old buffalo, which has a smaller body, the horns might look deceivingly big.

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Buffalo hunting

Our ethical approach to Cape Buffalo hunting

We keep to this code of ethical hunting whenever we undertake a hunt:

  • We will never shoot an animal from the back of a vehicle or have a loaded rifle on the back or inside the vehicle. In certain situations a wounded Cape Buffalo might be, due to the terrain and possible low light conditions, followed with a Safari vehicle.
  • To hunt an old animal that has done breeding and is considered past his prime.
  • To always make the best possible shot.
  • To always use the best quality ammunition for Cape Buffalo hunting.

(We recommend our clients to use quality soft nose bullets like, trophy bonded Bear Claw, Swift A-Frame or Barnes X – and always opt for the heavies bullet like a 300gr. On solids we recommend “Sledgehammer” bullets that is made by Federal. Woodleigh also makes a high-quality bullet)

  • All hunting is done on foot – I believe this is one of the first aspects one will look at when it comes to ethical hunting.
  • Just respect the animal we are hunting. One must always remember that we are about to take an animal’s life. Without hunting as a conservation tool, we wouldn’t be able to hunt these magnificent animals in these areas.

We only hunt Cape Buffalo bulls of 10 – 12 years and older as well as barren Cape Buffalo cows. A lot of people ask; how do you determine the age of a Cape Buffalo? Well, there are quite a few things to look at to determine the age of a mature Cape Buffalo bull:

  • The face of the animal says a lot, old Cape Buffalo bulls usuallyhave a lot of facial markings, these Buffalo bulls will also have a rounded nose (Roman nose) and usually a well-developed dewlap under the chin. Some old Cape Buffalo bulls will have lost some hair in their faces and the area above and between the eyes appear grey in color.
  • Body size is important to a certain extent. For an inexperienced hunter it is hard to tell if a Cape Buffalo has a big or larger than normal body, especially if the animal is on his own.
  • Hard bosses, with horn tips that are not “sharp” anymore – worn down to some extent. The bosses of a Cape Buffalo obviously start off as very soft bone, (consist of a covering of keratin and other proteins surrounding a core of live bone) the horns harden from the outer side towards the bosses. A Cape Buffalo can have hard bosses but there where the bosses meet might still be soft – this can vary from around 6 -8 years of age of a Cape Buffalo bull (please keep in mind that genetics also plays a huge part). Then after a few more years these bosses will harden up and will eventually grow close together. The bosses of the Buffalo bull will grow very hard – only once this age has been reached the bosses will start to separate, creating a ”gap” between the bosses. Once the bosses of a Cape Buffalo bull have separated it is considered an old bull – again please keep in mind that genetics does play a role and that the above is not the rule but accurate in 90% of wild Cape Buffalo bulls.

 

“We will not let a client shoot a Cape Buffalo if the Buffalo is not an old animal, this is where the ethical aspect comes in. We will not let any client shoot a Cape Buffalo bull with soft bosses,” Graham explains.

TESTIMONIAL: This Cape Buffalo Cow Hunt in South Africa Offers Hair-raising Excitement

“(posted September – 2016 on the Hunting Report)
Subscriber H. Meyers recently filed a report on a South Africa safari with an unusual add-on – cow buffalo hunting. In Report 10582 Meyers says that he hunted the Timbavati and Klaserie reserves with PH Graham Sales of Graham Sales Safaris (www.grahamsalessafaris.com; salesgraham@gmail.com; 011-27-82-449-2357) in May.
Meyers writes, “My recent hunt with Graham Sales Safaris was a little different from the usual, in a very fun way. Timbavati and Klaserie adjoin the western edge of Kruger National Park with no fence and are famous areas for big buffalo. I took a great 15-plus-year-old bull, but more intriguing was hunting for old, barren cows. Previously, I wasn’t aware that this kind of hunting was available.
“We went after old cows that were 12 or more years old and that had no calves. This meant sneaking into herds of 300 to 400 head and literally being surrounded by buffalo while trying to find a single cow. I highly recommend this kind of hunting. It is quite affordable (a fraction of the fee for a bull) and offers all the excitement of buffalo hunting. I actually found this style of hunting to be more exciting.
“The ongoing drought didn’t affect our hunt, although conditions could deteriorate if there is no rain in the wet season. On a separate note, rhino poachers are very active in the area. While I was there three poachers were caught and their rifles seized along with a horn of a young cow rhino. Whenever you shoot, the number of shots is radioed to everyone in a 10-mile radius so the patrols know what’s going on. The anti-poaching efforts are impressive, but they are still losing some rhinos.”

Tips on ammunition when hunting the Cape Buffalo

When booking your Cape Buffalo hunt with Graham Sales Safaris, we will advise you in detail what caliber rifle and what ammunition to bring – but here are a few guidelines:

  • By South African regulations the minimum caliber allowed to hunt Cape Buffalo, and any dangerous game animal for that matter, is a .375.
  • Shot placement is very important. In short, GSS does not advise a full frontal shot unless the animal is very close. On a broadside shot, the shoulder or just behind the shoulder is preferred.
  • The quality of your ammunition is critically important. There are a few makes of ammunition that we prefer so please contact us for more details.

In terms of loading your rifle magazine, the first round should be soft, and in general the rounds after that should be solids. The reason is that the solids will penetrate towards the vital organs of the animal when a follow-up shot is fired and by then the animal is usually running away from the hunter. A soft bullet wouldn’t penetrate sufficiently if the Buffalo is facing away from you or are behind some brush.

As Graham puts it: “One has to be very careful, say there are four or five Cape Buffalo bulls together, I would suggest you only put soft bullets in the rifle magazine. After the initial shot has been fired the animal is generally running away from the hunter, if a follow up shot is fired that shot might not be placed perfectly, so if it goes right through the target animal, or doesn’t hit it exactly where you intended it to hit, it might go through and there is a possibility of that bullet hitting another animal. “This is something one needs to be very careful of and we will make sure that does not happen!”

If the animal is on its own, Graham Sales will make a suggestion on the bullet selection, and very likely make a different suggestion when it’s more than one animal. Every situation dictates a different scenario. “But I am there next to my client, and I will explain exactly what he or she needs to do, no one will have to guess. There will be no guesswork involved,” Graham explains.

Common mistakes when Cape Buffalo hunting

Firstly

 

  1. To book a Safari in an inferior quality area.
  2. To hunt with an inexperienced Professional Hunter and his team. One of my clients once made a statement; “experience is the currency of life”.
  3. Not to trust and listen to your experienced Professional Hunter.

 

The hunt itself

 

  1. To take a shot at a Cape Buffalo when you are not 100% sure and understand where the shot should be placed.
  2. When there is tall grass, or the grass comes up to the bottom third of the Buffalo’s body. Clients tend to shoot high – unintentionally. One can shoot through grass with these large calibres at close range.
  3. It is extremely risky to take a shot at a Cape Buffalo that is walking.
  4. Not to have unrealistic expectations. There are various aspects that an experienced Professional Hunter looks at when determining if the Cape Buffalo is a trophy animal or not. Outside spread of the horns are only one of the many aspects.

Professional tips when Cape Buffalo hunting

  1. Choose the right Safari Outfitter with the best quality areas to schedule your Cape Buffalo Safari.
  2. Trust and listen to your experienced Professional Hunter.
  3. Study and familiarise yourself with the anatomy of a Cape Buffalo, look at different angles and where shot placement should be on various angles.
  4. A well-placed shot with a .375 calibre rifle is way more desired than a poorly placed shot with a very large calibre rifle.
  5. Be equipped with the advised calibre of firearm. The minimum required calibre is a .375 for dangerous game in Africa. Personally, I prefer .375 / .404 or a .416 calibre.
  6. Use the best quality ammunition to get the ‘job” done in a “clean” manner. Ammunition is a very cheap component compared to the cost of quality Safaris.
  7. If you use optics on your firearm, which most hunters do and are recommended, use quality optics.
  8. On the heart/lung shot never aim higher than one third of the way up the body, using the Buffalo’s front leg as reference.
  9. Do not take a shot further than 100 yards on a Cape Buffalo, it is asking for a wounded animal and potentially dangerous situation. (It is unlikely that an experienced Professional Hunter will tell you to take a shot that is at a range that becomes risky)
  10. Stay calm or at least try to stay calm during times of intense moments as your experienced Professional Hunter and tracker is there to take care of you, analyse each situation and make things happen. (Cape Buffalo hunting in the right area is extremely exciting and a lot of adrenalin flows whether it is your first Cape Buffalo hunt or your 20th, if you are on your 20th Cape Buffalo hunt there is obviously a very good reason for that)

Get in touch

Book your cape buffalo hunting Safari with Graham Sales Safaris, two-time winner of the PHASA Professional Hunter of the Year Award and make sure your next shot at a magnificent old trophy bull or barren buffalo cow is made under the guidance of Southern Africa’s top hunting outfitter.

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Graham Sales

Professional Hunter

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Is Cape Buffalo hunting legal?

Yes, Cape buffalo hunting is legal in some areas of Africa and is heavily regulated in countries where it is legal, such as South Africa and Zimbabwe. Hunters must obtain permits and follow strict guidelines to ensure that only certain animals are targeted and that hunting is done in a sustainable and ethical manner. These regulations aim to prevent overhunting and ensure the long-term survival of the species. However, there are still concerns about the impact of trophy hunting on the conservation of the species and the ethics of hunting for sport.

 

What is the cost of hunting Cape buffalo?

The cost of hunting Cape buffalo can vary widely depending on various factors, such as the location of the hunt, the reputation of the outfitter or guide, the length of the hunt, the type of accommodation provided, and more. In general, the cost of a Cape buffalo hunt can range from approximately $10,000 to $50,000 or more. It is important to note that there may be additional costs associated with the hunt, such as permits, licenses, trophy fees, and transportation. It is always recommended to research and consult with reputable outfitters to understand the full costs and what is included in the hunt.

 

What are the risks involved in Cape Buffalo hunting?

Cape buffalo hunting is considered one of the most dangerous big game hunts due to the buffalo’s aggressive nature and tendency to charge when threatened. Hunters must be experienced and skilled in handling firearms and navigating dangerous situations. It is also important to note that Cape buffalo populations have been declining due to habitat loss and hunting, so ethical and responsible hunting practices are crucial to the conservation of the species.

 

What are the measurements for a Cape Buffalo trophy?

Cape buffalo trophy measurements are based on horn length and circumference, with horn spread and boss width being the most common measurements. A trophy Cape buffalo bull typically has a horn spread of at least 40 inches and a boss width of at least 14 inches, although minimum requirements can vary depending on regulations and hunting area. Bulls with wider horn spreads and thicker bosses are considered more valuable.

 

What are the best tips for Cape Buffalo hunting?

 Here are 5 potential tips for Cape Buffalo hunting:

  1. Choose a reputable outfitter: When planning a Cape Buffalo hunt, it’s important to choose a reputable outfitter with experience and a track record of ethical hunting practices. Look for outfitters that are licensed and have good reviews from previous clients.
  1. Use appropriate gear: Cape Buffalo are large, powerful animals that can be dangerous if wounded. It’s important to use appropriate gear, such as a high-powered rifle and quality ammunition, to ensure a quick and humane kill.
  1. Practice shooting skills: Before embarking on a Cape Buffalo hunt, it’s important to practice shooting skills to ensure accuracy and confidence. Consider taking shooting lessons or practicing at a shooting range.
  1. Be patient: Cape Buffalo hunts can require a great deal of patience and persistence, as these animals can be elusive and difficult to track. Be prepared to spend several days in the field and to wait for the right opportunity.
  1. Respect the animal: When hunting Cape Buffalo, it’s important to respect the animal and to ensure that it is killed quickly and humanely. Additionally, it’s important to use all parts of the animal and to follow local laws and regulations regarding hunting and trophy exportation.

 

Is Cape Buffalo hunting very dangerous?

Bottom line is Cape Buffalo are dangerous animals. Each situation is obviously different, and these animals act different under different conditions. In my opinion, Cape Buffalo hunting on a game ranch is probably the most dangerous Cape Buffalo hunt one can do when compared to truly wild free-range Cape Buffalo hunting. On most game ranches the Buffalo has been introduced at some stage, so these animals had to have been darted to be moved and some bulls have been moved numerous times. These animals are also, in some areas used to humans and the human scent – I’m not saying that they won’t run away from danger but the have been accustomed to humans and whatever goes with that…They get fed up with the situation hence these animals can and will charge unprovoked. This kind of behaviour is way more likely to happen in these game ranch/introduced situations compared to truly wild situations. You can take my word for it.

Wounded Cape Buffalo: Wounded Cape Buffalo are extremely dangerous irrespective of the area where the hunt took place. Follow ups should be done with a large calibre rifle, preferable with open sights. 

 

What calibre should I use to hunt Cape Buffalo?

The minimum required calibre to hunt Cape Buffalo is .375. It depends on each hunter what calibre he / she is comfortable shooting accurately. Most Cape Buffalo in Africa gets hunted with the .375 calibre without any doubt. The .416 is probably one of your very bet calibres to hunt Cape Buffalo in my opinion. The .416 shoots a much heavier projectile than the .375 and has some “knock down” power where the .375 doesn’t have “much knock” down power. There isn’t much room for error when it comes to Cape Buffalo hunting but if I can put it this way, shooting a .416 accurately will give you a fraction more room for error versus using a .375 calibre. (.375 calibre has ample penetration but its knock down power is insufficient)

 

What bullets should I use when I go Cape Buffalo hunting?

The best proven quality bullets available. One can hardly go wrong using Barnes X bullets. Barnes X penetrate very well and retain projectile weight. “Swift A-Frame” and “Trophy Bonded Bear Claw” bullets are excellent choices when it comes to soft nose bullets. Regarding solids, I prefer “Trophy Bonded Sledgehammer solids”. These bullets penetrate like nothing I have ever seen before and hardly ever deflect when hard bone is hit. Woodleigh bullets are also some of the very best available on the market when it comes to large bore calibres – especially the Woodleigh Hydrostatically Stabilised Bullets – excellent choice no doubt.

 

What is the best shot placement on a Cape Buffalo?

Well, this depends on various factors and situations and these situations change constantly. If a Cape Buffalo is standing perfectly broadside, personally I prefer the shot slightly behind the shoulder (front leg). There is a little room for error when aiming slightly behind the shoulder. Say for instance the animal is facing to the right and one is aiming slightly behind the shoulder. If one pulls it to the right, it will hit the shoulder and if one pulls the shot to the left the bullet will still hit the back of the lungs. In the same scenario, when aiming on the shoulder the room for error to the right is none….

If the animal turns slightly towards the hunter the shot should be placed right on the shoulder. If the animals turn to a quartering towards angle, the shot should be places between the shoulder and the chest area – these angles are common, and we discuss these with our hunters. Slight quarter away shot is also a good angle, the bullet should be placed behind the shoulder at an angle towards the opposite shoulder. I do not suggest a quartering away shot on a Cape Buffalo. If this shot is taken, ONLY take it on the right-hand side of the animal. (the Buffalo’s rumen lies on his left hand side and the quartering away shot should not be taken on this side whatsoever.) follow up shots must be taken with quality solid bullets.

 

Is it wise to take a frontal shot on a Cape Buffalo?

Under the right conditions, yes! If your Professional Hunter has been able to get you within very close range of the Cape Buffalo you are after, most likely when he sees or senses the hunters, he will turn his body towards you. It is every unlikely that he will turn broadside at this stage. Again, with high quality bullets this angle is a good angle to shoot a Cape Buffalo. Usually at this stage the Buffalo will lift his head trying to get the scent of the hunters and will be staring down the length of his face towards the hunters or where he suspects the danger is coming from. The shot should be placed about 5 inches below the nose – this will vary as it depends on how close the shot is. One can use a soft nose bullet or a solid in this instance. (Personal suggestion/opinion would be if one is using a .375 calibre one should use a good quality solid bullet. If you are using a .416 calibre or larger a good quality soft or solid bullet can be used.)

 

What is Cape Buffalo hunting?

The Southern Buffalo or Cape Buffalo is without a doubt the African continent’s most formidable game animal. Cape Buffalo are bovines and are gregarious herd animals. In my opinion, the real Cape Buffalo trophies are the so-called “Dugga” bulls. A trophy buffalo should not be young with soft bosses or in his prime with long, sharp, and backward pointing horns. “Dugga” bulls are at least 11 years old or older and these are the true trophy animals despite what the record books say.

Any ethically hunted, solid bossed Cape Buffalo trophy, regardless of its size, should be a conversation piece for a lifetime and evoke memories of the hunt and your Safari in Africa itself, and therein lies its true trophy value.

The sport pursuit of these “Dugga” bulls is what, in my opinion is what Cape Buffalo hunting is all about.