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For other uses, see Buffel (disambiguation).
Buffel variant designed for airfield defence.
Place of origin South Africa
Weight 6.14 t
Length 5.1 m (16.73 ft)
Width 2.05 m (6.73 ft)
Height 2.95 m (9.68 ft)
Crew 1+10

Optional M1919A4 / FN MAG 7.62 mm MG
Engine Atlantis Diesel Engines
Suspension 4×4 wheeled
1000 km (620 mi)
Speed Road 96 km/h (60 mph)
Off-road 30 km/h (19 mph)

The Buffel (Afrikaans: Buffalo) is a mine-protected infantry mobility vehicle used by the South African Army during the South African Border War. The Buffel was also used as an armoured fighting vehicle and proved itself in this role. It has been replaced by the Mamba in South Africa, but remains in use elsewhere, notably Sri Lanka.

Production history[edit]

The Buffel was introduced in 1978 after it was found that the South African Army had the need for a basic mine protected vehicle. The Buffel was an improvement of the Bosvark which offered little protection to the driver.[1] More than 1,400 were delivered before production stopped. A few of these vehicles found their way into other armies.

The Buffel (Afrikaans for Buffalo) was not a wholly South African built vehicle, but made use of the chassis, engine and some other components of the Mercedes-Benz Unimog, which were married to the armoured driver's cab and separate armoured troop compartment. The driver's cab was situated on the left with the engine compartment on the right. Later models replaced the original Mercedes engine with copies built under license by Atlantis Diesel Engines factory near Cape Town.

Land mine protection was provided by the V-shaped hull underneath these compartments, which quite effectively deflected the blast. The troop compartment contained two plastic tanks in the vee beneath the floor, a 200 litre diesel tank and a 100 litre water tank. The water tank provided drinking water to the occupants by means of a tap at the rear of the vehicle. It was a commonly held misconception amongst the troops that the weight of the water added to the blast protection.

In order to help dissipate the energy from hitting a mine, the large tires were usually filled with water, adding, as was told, about 500 kg per wheel to the vehicle weight.


Sri Lankan Army Buffel, 2012.
  • Buffel - original
  • Buffel Mk 1 - Improved engine and bushguard/bumper
  • Log Buffel - Logistic/Cargo version, a standard Buffel with the seat assembly removed from the troop compartment
  • Moffel - Open cargo-bed version
  • Unicorn - Sri Lankan produced version of the Buffel original.
  • Unibuffel - Sri Lankan produced version of the Mk 1 with a Tata engine.
  • Buffel Mk IIA/B - Rebuilds of earlier Mk 1s with an enclosed troop compartment, a rear exit door and large bulletproof windows on the sides and rear
  • Bulldog - based on SAMIL 20 truck with the driver's cab on the right
  • Rhino - A further development of the Bulldog but with the driver seated inside a fully enclosed troop compartment


Combat history[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Engelbrecht, Leon (2010-01-21), Fact file: Mamba APC/MRAP, DefenceWeb, retrieved 2013-07-09 
  2. ^ "Scramble for the Congo - Anatomy of an Ugly War" (PDF). ICG Africa. 2000-12-20. Retrieved 2013-06-18. 

External sources[edit]