The Battle of Beasts

Johan van Zyl All Authors, Johan 2 Comments

How many times have you heard horror stories of Buffalo mauling people, being one of the most dangerous animals to encounter of foot etc?  Yes fact of the matter is that this is mostly towards hunters when a Buffalo is injured, but I’ve heard numerous stories of trials guides being mauled by Buffalo.

For those who have been on Safari a few time, you will know that MOST of the time viewing Cape Buffalo from the comfort of a vehicle is pretty “calm” experience, almost in a way like viewing cattle.  The Buffalo generally carry on feeding, momentarily looking up to see what is around, only to put their heads down a carry on grazing.

On a recent safari to the Timbavati, I saw the other side.  The side that sends shivers down your spine.  The side that showcases their true power of which we know we have no fighting chance.

It was our first early morning game drive of the trip, and we were hoping to come across some Lions or Leopard, but knew from the sounds while we were having coffee, that a big Buffalo herd was not too far from camp.  It was just getting light, with the sun not having risen above the horizon yet, we were hoping to be in a position to photograph something when it did.  The golden light was stunning, and in the distance we could see a cloud of dust in the middle of the Buffalo herd.  Was it the Lions?

As we drove closer to the herd we witnessed two Bulls clashing horns.  What first appeared to us as a practice run for the Buffalo, soon escalated into a full on brawl.  These guys were smashing horns, running around, pushing and shoving.

There were a few times where we had to make space, only to find them steamrolling through the area where we had previously parked.  The sun was just rising above the horizon and we tried wherever possible to position ourselves, with safety in mind above all, to get some backlit images of this unbelievable occasion.


The fight must have carried on for about 15-20 minutes, but it felt like hours.  There we were, spectators with front row seats, smelling the dust and the unmistakable scent on Buffalo.  Eventually the one Bull surrendered and disappeared into the thickets.

What a way to start a morning and just goes to show that no matter how many hours you have spent observing animals in situations in the bush, never underestimate to power of these or any wild animals.

Till next time…


About the Author

Johan van Zyl


The opportunity of visiting some of the wildest, undisturbed areas and sharing my passion for wildlife, conservation and photography with like minded people is a privilege that I am forever grateful.

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Comments 2

  1. Chetan K Jain

    The backlit photos – just too good .. seems like the 2 giants are fighting with fire all around them

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