The Simba Kopjes of East Africa’s Serengeti Plains

July 02, 2012

The Simba Kopjes

Photographer: Ray Boren
Summary Author: Ray Boren

Dotting parts of Tanzania’s vast Serengeti plains like rocky islands in a sea of grass, kopjes are outcrops of granite or gneiss. They provide a scenic contrast to the surrounding grasslands, and habitat for many creatures and plants. SimbaAs evidenced by these two lionesses (right), seen on the Simba Kopjes in Serengeti National Park, kopjes are particularly favored by lions for the high perches and as a place to hide their cubs. Kopje is a Dutch/Afrikaans word that is pronounced very like “copy,” and which translates as “little head”. Simba is Swahili for lion. The cores of most kopjes formed in the Precambrian, as magma intruded upward into even older metamorphic rock. As that older layer eroded away over eons, the tops of the harder granitic bubbles were exposed. Their spotted surfaces, weathered, cracked and rounded, today harbor insects, birds, lizards, hyraxes, cheetahs … and simba. Photo taken May 29, 2012.

Photo details: Camera Maker: NIKON CORPORATION; Camera Model: NIKON D60; Focal Length: 22mm; Aperture: f/22.0; Exposure Time: 0.040 s (1/25); ISO equiv: 100; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Matrix; Exposure: aperture priority (semi-auto); Light Source: Flash; Flash Fired: No; Orientation: Normal.