Establishing robust temporal control of the arrival of domesticated stock and the associated husbandry skills and lifeways in Southern Africa remains frustrated by the osteological similarities between domestic stock and wild endemic fauna. We report the results of a systematic ancient DNA survey of appropriately sized bovid remains from Later Stone Age deposits in four South African archaeological sites. We show that none of the tested remains originated in domesticated cattle. The precise date of arrival of domestic cattle in the region awaits further study, although we also report new radiocarbon determinations which further refine the local chronology.