Region Spotlight: Maasai Kopjes

Tremendous wildlife viewing opportunities exist at the Maasai Kopjes. The craggy hollows and smooth granite crests of these towering granite kopjes are home to one of the Serengeti Lion Project’s most studied prides, called the Maasai lion pride. The nearby swamp, where the rare Bohor reedbuck can be found, is also the famous hunting spot for the resident lion pride. Kopjes are remarkable in that they have their own little ecosystem with a range of vegetation and wildlife including hyrax, mongoose, lizards and birds.

The rock outcrops of the Serengeti are one of the Park’s most delightful habitats. The more visible ones on the open plains stand out like islands in a sea of grass. These rock outcrops are called ‘kopjes’, an Africans word meaning ‘little head’, and they often do resemble heads or fantastic sculptures. They consist of 2 – 3 billion year old granite rock which, because of erosion and weathering, has been broken up into a jumbled pile of rocks. On the open plains where the countryside has been leveled off by ash deposits from the volcanoes of the crater highlands, the kopjes emerge as towering monuments. It is said that on the Serengeti Plains, “the bone of Africa emerges as magnificent kopjes.”

Each kopje is indeed like an island with its own community of plants and animals as well as being a refuge for a mother cheetah or lion with cubs. The kopjes serve as water catchments and in the clefts where soil has mixed with eroded rock, tree seeds take root that would be otherwise unable to survive on the surrounding plains.

The beautiful Bohor reedbuck can be seen in the swamp on the south side of the Maasai Kopjes. This swamp, formed by the Seronera River, is a magnet for wildlife. It is interesting to note that reedbucks are monogamous and form bonds for life, so where you might see one reedbuck be sure to keep an eye out for his or her mate following close behind. The Bohor reedbuck is only found in swampy areas or along rivers where the grass is tall enough to conceal them. These reddish colored antelope are slender and elegant; the male reedbuck has two horns that point forwards giving it quite a unique profile. Reedbucks possess the ability to live off this long and coarse grass which other grazers find completely unpalatable.

For more information on the Maasai Lion Pride and incredible history of this location, visit:


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