The truth behind the name ‘daggaboys’
Often we find lone bulls or small bachelor groups of buffalo around the sparsely spread waterholes or sludge wallows.
‘Dagga boys’ is a term used to describe old and usually solitary buffalo bulls who have been forced out of the herd by young virile bulls, or have fallen behind the herd due to their need for softer vegetation. But it’s wise not to be fooled by their condition. These monoliths are known for putting up a great fight when spooked, injured or trapped, even chasing down potential danger, like lions, by themselves. They were also known to kill hunters in the old hunting days of Zambia and Zimbabwe, and were notoriously hard to take down, hence their inclusion in the ‘Big Five’ (along with elephant, lion, leopard, and rhino).
These males have adopted the nickname of ‘dagga boys’, which mainly refers to the thick black clay that coats their skin; ‘dagga’ being another word for mud.
These daggaboys have often been kicked out of the herd or fallen behind, due to age or physical condition.
They tend to move from one wallow to the next, preferring these swampy areas as they not only guarantee fresh, soft grass for their worn teeth to feed on, but also a constant supply of oozy slush in which they can loll. It is believed the reason for the love of these mud baths is that the sludgy silt actually acts as a barrier between the sun’s harsh rays and the older buffaloes’ hairless rumps.