A new species arrives at UmPhafa!

On a misty morning on 2nd November 2023, the African Buffalo arrived and were offloaded – running as fast as they could once they were released, they soon disappeared into the bush and we have only had glimpses of them since. We are hoping over the coming weeks that they will relax and enjoy the freedom and habitat on UmPhafa and we will get to see them on a daily basis.

Several years ago, UmPhafa decided to apply for a permit to have one of Africa’s big 5 animals introduced to the Reserve; the African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer). It took 2 years for the permitting process, not only getting neighborhood agreements for the introduction of this species, but also having fences checked to ensure they were adequate to keep the animals in, as well as the vet doing site visits and then the final ‘shopping’ for some disease-free buffalo.

Once the Buffalo were chosen, they were kept in a ‘boma’ for several weeks whilst the vet tested them for Foot and Mouth, Corridor disease, TB as well as other diseases. Once they passed, they could then be brought to UmPhafa. The movement of Buffalo is strictly controlled in South Africa and a vet has to be present on their departure from the seller and also on the arrival to the Reserve where special numbered tags are removed from the transport truck to prove the Buffalos were not been tampered with on their journey to their new home.

We have introduced 4 Bulls – one being a dominant bull and 12 females.

Buffalo are important for the ecosystems as they are so large and heavy, they play an important role in land management. Because of their size and weight, they break up the soil, stimulating the recycling of nutrients back into the ground. They can also digest long fibrous grasses and often clean up old grazing areas to open the way for new growth.

UmPhafa is looking forward to many sightings of these majestic animals as they roam through the bush!

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