Buffalo and Sable


Of all of the animals that make up the Big 5, it is the buffalo that is the most aggressive and as a result, he is the most dangerous. When in his herd, this animal can come across as calm, but the moment he feels stressed and under threat, his temperament goes from calm to threatening. This is not an animal you want to wound. A wounded buffalo will have you nervous as they tend to have a very vengeful nature.

The Cape buffalo can be found all over southern African. They are massive beasts and they live in herds. As grazing animals, they will often need to be near to a water source. They prefer to live in thick bushveld and at night they cluster together to protect their young ones from predators. Both the male and the female have horns however it is the male who carries the trophy horns. The males’ horns can have a deeper curl while they have a sturdy boss which covers the forehead.

Hunting Cape buffalo in Africa is not for the amateur hunter, and even if you have some experience, be sure to talk to your outfitter about bow setup. Each hunting experience might be different, but your Outfitter will give you the best advice.


One of the most sought after plains game antelopes are definitely the majestic Sable Antelope. Its general coloration is rich chestnut to black. Females and juveniles are chestnut to dark brown, while males begin darkening and turn black after three years. Both sexes have ringed horns which arch backwards.

At Dries Visser Safaris we offer 2 types of sables to the hunter:

The Matetsi (Southern or Common) sable is regarded as the ‘typical’ sable, as it was the first to be described and named in 1838. Often referred to as the black sable because it tends to have the darkest coat, this subspecies occurs south of the Zambezi River, particularly in northern Botswana and in large numbers in the Matetsi valley of Zimbabwe, but is also found in South Africa. 

The Zambian (also known as “West-Zambian”) sable occurs in central Angola and Western Zambia (Kafue). This antelope showing close phenotypic resemblance to the giant sable of Angola, most notably the distinct facial markings (Black Mask) and coat colour. This specimen is known to have a larger (heavier) body with longer and thicker horns than the Matetsi sable. In 1997 Dries Visser Safaris imported their own herd of Zambian sables into South Africa and kept them pure until today.

Measuring methods: SCI – Safari Club International

The SCI, or Safari Club International Record Book of Big Game Animals, is one of the most used record keeping systems in the world. It keeps a unique and detailed history of the club’s hunting recorded and it includes a scoring system. This record includes typical and non-typical animals as well as free range and estate animals. The SCI has various measuring methods and those that are applicable to trophies hunted in Southern Africa include:

Method 1: Animals with simple horns PDF

Method 2: Animals with spiralled horns PDF

Method 4: African buffalo PDF

Method 5: Common Wildebeest PDF

Method 6: Black wildebeest PDF

Method 8: Rhinoceros PDF

Method 12: Hippopotamus and pigs PDF

Method 14: Elephant PDF

Method 15: Carnivores  PDF

Method 16-C: Body length of crocodilian PDF

What type of shooting practice should I do to get ready for my safari?

Shooting on level ground, from tree stands and from inside pop up blinds would all be very good practice. You need to be very proficient from 40 yards and closer. Most shots do take place under 20 yards from blinds, but you may get longer shots from tree stands, spot and stalk or even a second shot on a wounded animal further away from the blind, so practice and be very proficient.

Can I hunt dangerous game with my bow?

Absolutely! When permits are available, we offer bowhunts on Cape buffalo, lion and leopard. Leopard permits are difficult to get and we only have opportunity to apply once a year. No lion, buffalo or leopard will be hunted without the proper permits.

Do your guides understand bowhunting?

Our guides are experienced bowhunters themselves! They know the needs of a bowhunter and this is why our bowhunts are so successful!