The Buffel is a mine-protected APC used by the South African Army during the South African
Border War. It was certainly not the most comfortable vehicle, but it offered the necessary protection
against mine attack. The Buffel was also used as an armoured fighting vehicle and proved itself in this role.
The Buffel was introduced in 1978 after it was found that the South African Army had the need for
a basic mine protected vehicle. More than 1400 were delivered before production stopped. A few
of these vehicles found their way into other armies.
The Buffel 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 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.
Configuration 4 x 4
Engine 6 cylinder diesel (125bhp)
Dimensions 5.1 x 2.05 x 2.9m
Fuel capacity 200l
Turning radius Not available
Max speed 96 km/h (on road)
Range 1000km (on road)
Vertical obstacle Not available
Crew 1 + 10
Armament 7.62mm Browning machine gun