The Karamoja region of northern Uganda may best be known for the elephant hunting exploits of WD “Karamojo” Bell and his famous writings. However, today this remote area derives its well-earned reputation from offering what many experienced hunters consider as the absolute best buffalo hunting in Africa.

I have been fortunate to hunt Karamoja four times over the past five years, and as an international hunt consultant for Worldwide Trophy Adventures, I have sent many clients there. The region we hunt is operated by Christian Weth and UWS, and it is situated in the extreme north of Uganda where South Sudan, Uganda and Kenya come together. The hunting concession borders the Kidepo Valley National Park, and is a picturesque locale mostly consisting of fairly open savannah, interspersed with acacia trees and some low brush, and you are virtually surrounded by mountains in every direction. Buffalo surveys of the area have estimated the population to be almost 10 000.
With the area being quite open, buffalo hunting in Karamoja is more of a spot-and-stalk affair rather than a traditional tracking hunt. There are generally so many buffalo around that you cover as much ground as possible by vehicle and glass as many buffalo as possible until you find what interests you. Then you try to formulate a plan to stalk within reasonable shooting distance, which in some cases is made quite difficult because the area is so open. That is not to say that there will not be situations where you can get close, but I would say the average shot on buffalo is from 80–100 yards.
The area’s buffalo are classified as Nile buffalo, and though they are supposed to be a bit smaller in body than Cape buffalo, there are some real tanks around. The first buffalo I ever shot in Karamoja back in 2017 was a beautiful 40″ bull with heavy, chipped bosses and classic Nile buffalo shape. He had a huge body, and when I got him home and mounted, the taxidermist told me that he had to use the largest Cape buffalo form made to fit my bull’s skin.
Generally, Nile buffalo have flatter horns than typical Cape buffalo but as in most species, this can vary a lot. I have seen a number of Karamoja buffalo with very typically-shaped horns, and even a few with a beautifully deep drop.
In 2020, I was hunting with my good friend, Tom Niederer, and PH Edwin Young one afternoon, and we ventured up into some foothills. The terrain is more broken than on the main valley floor and there is a fair amount of cover in that specific area. We eventually spotted two old bulls feeding a few hundred yards away and as we glassed, Edwin told me he thought one bull was a “scrum cap”. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, a scrum cap is a bull that is so old, he has basically worn away all of his horns except the bosses. To me this is the ultimate trophy, and I told Edwin I was more than game to pursue the bull.
We dropped into a dry creek bed, snaked our way closer to the feeding bulls and crawled up a steep bank. That put us about 40 yards from the unsuspecting buffalo, with the wind in our faces. Edwin put up the shooting sticks and I settled the green aiming point of my Trijicon AccuPoint scope low on the oldest bull’s shoulder, and sent a 470 gr Cutting Edge Bullets’ Safari Raptor straight into his heart.
The bull bucked and lunged forward and though he was dead on his feet, I put another in his backside as he retreated. That put him down for good. When we walked up to the ancient old bull, I couldn’t have been more pleased. I think the old boy had to be over 15 years old and although he was obviously the smallest buffalo I had ever taken, he is still hands-down my favourite. To take an animal that has lived that long, evading the area’s lions and hunters, is something special, and the bull’s body was worn down just like his horns. He was on his way out, many years past being a breeder, and in my opinion is the perfect type of buffalo to take out of the population. There just aren’t many of those old guys to be found.

The author and Edwin Young with a scrum cap

On that trip our timing was perfect. It seemed that every buffalo in the area had left the park and was in our concession. We literally saw up to 2 000 buffalo a day and dozens upon dozens of mature bulls in groups of two to upwards of twelve. You could be very choosey about the type of bull you went after. Tom wanted wide and he took 42″ and 43″ bulls. I wanted really old bulls and I ended up with four nice old worn buffalo. Friends Russell and Mike had come along as well and they took three bulls each, varying from very wide to deep drop, and both of them also took scrum caps. Four of us shot 12 great bulls in a week. It was literally buffalo heaven!
I returned in March 2021 with longtime friend and WTA client, Jay Cohea. We were on a short seven-day buffalo hunt, and Christian was our PH. The first evening we were in the area – with our hunt actually starting only on the following day – Jay took a really wide 43″ bull. That kicked things off the right way.
A couple of days later, after pursuing a group of bulls that evaded us due to the wind, we got mixed up in a huge herd. We decided to walk slowly back a couple of miles to the truck in the hope of running into some bulls that might have been trailing the herd. Eventually we did spot some buffalo. The first two we saw were younger bulls so we moved on. A few minutes later, Christian’s tracker, Suliman, spotted another bull busy feeding and we could see another bedded down beyond him.
We slowly got the wind in our favour and crept closer to assess the bulls. Christian looked at the one feeding and whispered to me that it was a very big buffalo and we needed to get a bit closer. We were able make it another 50 yards and pulled up under a small tree that gave us just a little cover.
The bull was actually walking towards us and he stopped in the shade of some scattered trees about 75 yards away. Christian put up his bino and told me that this was a really big bull. I could tell he was quite excited. To be honest, I hadn’t studied the bull much up until then. I had noticed that he was hard-bossed but he still had pointed tips, and in Karamoja that is the first thing I look for. If a bull’s tips aren’t well worn, I usually don’t give him much thought. But as I focused in on this guy, I could tell he was something special. He was 100% fully hard-bossed, had very good bosses, beautiful classic shape and he was very wide, especially for a Nile buff.
I had my .416 on the sticks but there was a small dead tree just in front of the bull that perfectly covered his vitals. If he had taken one step forward or had stopped one step back, I would have had the perfect shot. The bull stood there chewing his cud and was content, and I knew eventually he would step forward and all would be good. After about 4 minutes, I felt the breeze on the back of my neck and I knew things were about to get real.
The bull threw his nose up, took a deep sniff of human scent and wheeled around 180 degrees to leave. When he turned and opened up his shoulder to my view, I sent a 370 gr CEB into his lungs and he took off. With the area being pretty open, I was able to get a second shot into him but missed with a third. He stopped after about 100 yards with head hanging low and I put one more in his lower chest to finish the deal.

Mike Jines’s deep-drop Karamoja bull

This is when things really got exciting!
Not far from where my bull was now lying, the bull we had seen bedded was up and standing looking back at us. He was an old slick-horned brute and Jay quickly took aim and hammered him with his .460 Weatherby. Jay’s bull only went 50 yards and suddenly, from seemingly nowhere, another bull appeared! He took off but when Jay’s bull death bellowed, he turned, came back a few yards and stood looking back at us. He, too, was an old worn-tipped warrior and Jay wasted no time, dropping him in his tracks!
In a span of less than three minutes, we had three excellent buffalo on the ground. We all just looked at each other in disbelief. My bull ended up being 44″ wide and when measured would rank well into the top 10 of all Nile buffalo ever taken. However, I am really not a record-book guy, so will not enter it. Jay’s two bulls were exactly what you want in Karamoja in my opinion. Both 12–13 years old (or possibly older), bosses worn slick, tips dulled with age – just perfect old bulls.
We called in another vehicle and more help, cut up the three bulls and then went to a couple of villages close-by, where we distributed a huge amount of buffalo meat to the happy locals. We had quite a morning, to say the least!

The author’s 44″ Nile buffalo

That afternoon as we were about to head out for the evening hunt, one of the skinners came and told Christian that he had seen a lone old bull feeding in the bush a few hundred yards behind the skinning shed. We decided to check it out and hoped the bull was still in the vicinity.
It didn’t take long for Suliman to spot the old bull feeding and we slipped from bush to bush to get into a position for a good shot. When we were at about 80 yards from the bull, Christian threw up the shooting sticks and I got ready. The buffalo saw our movement and squared up on us, and I quickly put a CEB Raptor into his chest. He did a typical buck and forward lunge and then turned right to run. Jay and I simultaneously fired backup shots and the bull dropped down on the spot.
He was another gray-faced, super-worn old bull that had been past his prime for years. Quite honestly, he is one of my favourite-looking buffalo I have ever taken. It was St Patrick’s Day, Jay and I had taken two fantastic buffalo each, so we had a lively celebration in honour of our bulls that evening.

Delivering meat to a village always creates big excitement.

The author’s second 2021 bull with nicely worn horns

Jay went on to take another very nice bull a couple of days later to conclude our 2021 hunt. Karamoja is by far the best buffalo hunting I have ever experienced anywhere in Africa. The quantity and quality of bulls is just incredible and that, combined with some unique plains game such as Jackson’s hartebeest, East African Defassa waterbuck, Gunter’s dik-dik and Haggart’s oribi, and the incredible beauty of the surrounding area, make Karamoja a must visit for the serious African hunter.

To book this or any other quality hunt around the world, contact Tim Herald at Worldwide Trophy Adventures,

CEBs recovered from numerous buffalo.

Tools of the trade


Because of the open landscape in Karamoja, optics are more important than in most areas when one is hunting buffalo. I always take my Swarovski EL Range 10×42 binoculars. I want to be able to glass and judge bulls, often at distance, while in open terrain and I also want to quickly be able to range the buffalo. This I can do with an easy push of a button on the EL Range. There is no need to carry a separate rangefinder when you have the ultimate combo.
At the same time, Karamoja really is a place where a scoped rifle shines because of some of the longer shots. I like the .416 if you want to carry only one rifle and shoot both plains game and buffalo. The .416 is an excellent buff calibre with plenty of energy, and it will hold up at well past 200 yards if you need it for plains game.
My Winchester Model 70 .416 Rem is topped with a Trijicon AccuPoint 3.5×12.5×42 scope with an illuminated aiming point in the middle of crosshairs. It is super versatile and I have a huge field of view. I can actually see my barrel in the scope when on 3.5 but if I need to key in on something like an oribi at a distance, I have the option for 12 power. I also find myself using the illuminated aiming point almost exclusively when hunting buffalo. It makes for super-quick target acquisition, especially on follow-up shots on a moving target.
For many years, on buffalo and many other species, Cutting Edge Bullets’ Safari Raptors have been my go-to bullets. I don’t think anything else comes close in performance. I have shot scores of animals from buffalo and brown bear to kudu and reedbuck with the CEBs in .416, .458 and .470, and they have performed flawlessly 100% of the time.
The all-brass Raptor incorporates 3+1 band configuration for reduced barrel strain. It has the 67% Meplat BBW#13, which has been proven to provide the deepest penetration of any nose profile to date. Instead of mushrooming, six petals shear off starting at 3″ of penetration, and gradually move in a star pattern away from the main wound channel, while the base continues on for even deeper penetration like a solid.
Finally, it is hot in Karamoja, usually 32° C or higher, and I love the performance of my Kuiu clothing, which is ultra-light, super breathable and dries incredibly fast when I am sweating. They make both camo and typical safari-solid colours like olive, brown and khaki, and I have used their Tiburon line of shorts, pants and shirts for years on safari. This year I added Kuiu’s Peloton 118 Zip T to my lineup in both olive and their new Valo camo, and I liked them so much I wore one of the two every single day. Not only was this shirt breathable, quick-drying and durable, but it also has UPF 50+ sun protection, which was nice when I came out of winter in the US into the equatorial sun. ASM