Theileria buffeli/orientalis is a group of benign and mildly pathogenic species of cattle andbuffalo in various parts of the world. In a previous study, we identified T. buffeli in blood sam-ples originating from the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in the Hluhluwe–iMfolozi GamePark (HIP) and the Addo Elephant Game Park (AEGP) in South Africa. The aim of this studywas to characterise the 18S rRNA gene and complete internal transcribed spacer (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) region of T. buffeli samples, and to establish the phylogenetic position of this speciesbased on these loci. The 18S rRNA gene and the complete ITS region were amplified fromDNA extracted from blood samples originating from buffalo in HIP and AEGP. The PCR prod-ucts were cloned and the resulting recombinants sequenced. We identified novel T. buffeli-like 18S rRNA and ITS genotypes from buffalo in the AEGP, and novel Theileria sinensis-like18S rRNA genotypes from buffalo in the HIP. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that the T.buffeli-like sequences were similar to T. buffeli sequences from cattle and buffalo in Chinaand India, and the T. sinensis-like sequences were similar to T. sinensis 18S rRNA sequencesof cattle and yak in China. There was extensive sequence variation between the novel T.buffeli genotypes of the African buffalo and previously described T. buffeli and T. sinensisgenotypes. The presence of organisms with T. buffeli-like and T. sinensis-like genotypes inthe African buffalo could be of significant importance, particularly to the cattle industry inSouth Africa as these animals might act as sources of infections to naïve cattle. This is thefirst report on the characterisation of the full-length 18S rRNA gene and ITS region of T.buffeli and T. sinensis genotypes in South Africa. Our study provides invaluable informationtowards the classification of this complex group of benign and mildly pathogenic species.