The African buffalo is not an ancestor of domestic cattle and is only distantly related to other larger bovines. Owing to its unpredictable nature, which makes it highly dangerous to humans, the African buffalo has never been domesticated, unlike its Asian counterpart, the water buffalo. Other than humans, African Cape buffaloes have few predators aside from lions and large crocodiles, and are capable of defending themselves. Being a member of the big five game, the Cape buffalo is a sought-after trophy in hunting.
Male and female cape buffalo can be distinguished by the base of the horns on the head. On male the bases come very close together, forming a shield referred to as a “boss”. The horns form fully when the animal reaches the age of five or six years but the bosses do not become “hard” till 8 to 9 years old. In cows, the horns are, on average, 10–20% smaller, and they do not have a boss