Moru Kopjes Summary
Moru Kopjes is one of the most pristine places in the Serengeti, and sports the ideal location for a Private Luxury Camp during May when the great herds of wildebeest and zebra thunder through the area. There are four private campsites tucked at the base of several kopjes including Moru 7, 7A, 8 and 9 and all offer sweeping views of the surrounding savannah. Each Moru campsite has its own stunningly beautiful location and each is positioned roughly 2 to 3 miles apart assuring complete privacy. When the migration is thundering through in May, camping at Moru Kopjes is simply unbeatable!
Resident herbivores at Moru include black rhino, elephant, giraffe, impala, buffalo, waterbuck, topi and warthog. Large bands of elephants have been seen here, mothers and offspring of various ages, gliding through these tree studded grasslands. Resident carnivores include hyenas, leopards and several lion prides. Rock hyrax and baboons are commonly seen clambering on the kopjes.
Game viewing is at its best in Moruduring May for the northward migration. At this time significant potions of the wildebeest migration march through Moru as they move northwest along the Mbalageti River on their epic journey. The entire Moru Kopjes area is choked black with unending masses of wildebeest and zebra. The pounding of hooves, the wild grunts of gnus and giddy chortles of zebra vibrate through the air and overwhelm the senses. Domed in vast blue skies with a stage of sweeping golden plains, Moru Kopjes is a grand theatre to witness perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring moments of the migration.
Moru Kopjes is simply stunning. An ocean of golden grasses wave in the sunlight as far as the eye can see. Smooth granite boulders rise from this sea of grass just as they have for millions of years, adorned by ornate candelabra trees that stretch their lofty arms to the heavens. An isolated wilderness of timeless beauty, Moru is an excellent place to lose yourself in the magic of the Serengeti. Among the many highlights at Moru is the chance to encounter the rare black rhino and climb the gong rocks to see the Maasai paintings.
Kay Turner, wife of Myles Turner who was chief game warden of the Serengeti from 1956 to 1972, eloquently writes in her book Serengeti Home,
"One of my favorite camps in the Serengeti was at Moru on the western edge of the central plains. This area, covering the most extensive kopjes in the Park, was believed to have been formed millions of years ago, preceding a long period of erosion that resulted in the formation of vast plains, jutting rocks and isolated ranges. The kopjes extended for miles, dotted with candelabra Euphorbia trees that stood above the surrounding vegetation. Shrubs and trees grew profusely amidst gigantic granite boulders, golden grasslands rippled in the wind like the waves of the sea, and the sky always seemed grander there than anywhere else. Of all the scenic wonders of the Serengeti, I thought Moru the most beautiful."
A short walk up one of the kopjes at Moru leads to a series of Maasai paintings and gong rock. A shield, elephants and people are painted on the walls in colors that are seen on Maasai shields; the white and yellow come from clays, the black from the ash of a wild caper and the red is clay mixed with juice from the wild nightshade. Presumably the artists were a band of young Maasai warriors (called il-moran) who wandered for several years before settling down to their pastoral life. A couple hundred feet away from the paintings is gong rock, which consists of a large rock with circular holes that may have been used as a communication device. Both the paintings and gong rock offer a chance for a pleasant walk and the views from the kopje are spectacular. This is certainly a great spot for a picnic lunch.
The Moru Kopjes is home to the remaining population of black rhinos in the Serengeti. Between 1975 and 1980, rhinos were poached to almost location extinction. In one year alone (1977), an estimated 52% of the original 1,000 rhinos that inhabited the Serengeti were slaughtered for their horns, which are used as aphrodisiacs in Asia and as dagger handles in the Middle East. By 1982, only two surviving females were counted and both sought refuge in the Moru Kopjes. The situation for the black rhino looked bleak until a young bull from the Ngorongoro Crater named 'Rajabu' left the Crater and followed old migration routes into the Serengeti and to the Moru Kopjes (a 70-mile journey). Rajabu was obviously welcomed by the two remaining females and four calves were born over the next several years.
There are now 12 black rhinos in the Moru Kopjes area thanks to this amazing journey undertook by Rajabu. Though there are several rhinos that are resident in Moru Kopjes, it is difficult to catch a glimpse of these rare and magnificent animals. In 1995 the Serengeti Rhino Project was launched and tracking devices were implanted in each of the rhinos' horns. The rhinos in the Moru Kopjes are monitored 24-hours a day and you will often see rhino patrol vehicles in the Moru area. There is a small visitors center at Moru where one can learn more about the Serengeti's rhinos and the conservation strategies being employed.
Moru Kopjes is situated at the mouth of the Mbalageti River Valley where there is water, some shade and abundant grazing. With such plentiful resources the migration tends to stall here during its northward and southward movements. Eventually however, the great herds do exhaust the food supply and are forced to move on. The Mbalageti River Valley links the plains to the woodlands and forms a natural corridor that the wildebeest and zebra migration follow each year. During May-June (northward migration) and November-December (southward migration), Moru Kopjes offers phenomenal game viewing as it lies directly on the main wildebeest and zebra migration route.
May is also the time of the wildebeest rut. A synchronized mating pandemonium ensues as the migration comes together and marches off the plains. Male wildebeest madly dash about rounding up females and chasing off other males. Male bulls establish frequent mobile territories (no more then 100 feet in diameter) and each one attempts to retain as many passing cows as possible. Territories may be retained for only a few crazed hours as the great herds are constantly on the move. The noise and commotion of over ½ million bulls grunting and clashing horns can be overwhelming.
After the rut in May and an 8.5-month gestation period, the synchronized calving takes place in early February on the southern plains. The original hypothesis was that the wildebeest calved in February to correspond with the time when the protein and mineral content of grass was at its greatest and most readily available for lactating females. However, latest research shows that the timing of the wildebeest calving is actually due to the rut needing to take place at the time when the migration concentrated in the smallest area. This convergence happens at the end of the green season during May when the wildebeest come together to march off the plains and funnel through the Moru Kopjes and Mbalageti River Valley.
Peter Matthiessen in 1972 writes; 'The Moru Kopjes rise like monuments in a parkland of twenty-five square miles. Impala, buffalo and elephant are attracted to the Morus from the western woods, and the elephants, which are celebrated climbers, attain the crests of the steep kopjes, to judge from the evidence heaped upon the rock. One day at noon, from this elephant crest, a leopard could be seen on the stone face of the kopjes to the south, crossing the skeletal shadows of a huge candelabra euphorbia. In the stillness that attended the cat's passage, the only sound was a rattling of termites in the leaf litter beneath my feet.'
Just to the northeast of Moru Kopjes lies the shallow and saline Lake Magadi, which can be a great spot for pink flamingos to gather in the glass like waters. There are two saline lakes in the Serengeti including Lake Ndutu and Lake Magadi. The Swahili word for 'magadi' means soda and hence the name translates to Soda Lake. These lakes are very shallow and may be completely dry at the end of the dry season. Such soda lakes are formed in natural depressions from which there are very limited outlets and minerals like sodium build up quickly. When these lakes do dry up through evaporation, the dry earth they leave behind glitters with a white encrustation of salts. Both Lake Magadi and Lake Ndutu attract greater and lesser flamingos, which feed on the algae and brine shrimps that flourish in the alkaline waters. Flamingos obtain their food by sifting mud and retaining very small organisms by means of a comb like filter on the edges of their bills. Bat eared foxes, almost comical looking with their enormous radar ears, have been seen digging for insects in the sunshine where the water from the lake has receded. Lake Magadi is also a great place to witness predation as lions use the bordering swamp grasses to hide and ambush unsuspecting animals as they come to drink.
The Moru Kopjes (elevation of 5,368 feet) are located in the southern area of the Central Serengeti. The Moru Kopjes area can be thought of as a plains-woodland transition zone. The vast Serengeti plains stretch to the south and east horizons from Moru. To the north and west, these golden plains give way to shady woodlands . The soil composition is unique in this area allowing for characteristics of both plains and woodlands habitat (long grass and scattered trees). Moru is a critical water catchment area for the Mbalageti River, which flows northwest from the plains to the woodlands. The Moru campsites are remotely located which means you will see few other visitors around this pristine area of the Serengeti.
Moru Kopjes, positioned in the southern area of the Central Serengeti, allows for an abundance of game viewing options. The Gol Kopjes, which boast the highest concentrations of cheetahs in Africa during the green season, is about 1.5 hours directly east. An hour drive north takes you to the game rich Seronera Valley, which supports high densities of wildlife in the dry season. Just an hour drive south brings you to the famous Serengeti Plains home to an abundance of wildlife during the green season. Moru Kopjes Private Campsite 7 is located 20.2 miles or about 1-hour south and southwest of the Seronera Airstrip. Moru Kopjes Private Campsite 8 is located 22.2 from the Seronera Airstrip. The Seronera Airstrip is roughly located in the center of the Seronera River Valley at the heart of the Central Serengeti.
Private Luxury Camp Summary
Do you crave seclusion, adventure, and the unspoiled beauty of nature? Do you appreciate comfort, exceptional food and first rate service? Do you want to have the ultimate "once in a lifetime" safari experience? If you said YES to any of these questions - PRIVATE LUXURY CAMPING IS FOR YOU! Private Luxury Camping is the most unique and rewarding way to experience that intangible "something" that makes the Serengeti so special. Imagine total privacy in the middle of the remote African savanna, where you can embrace the peace of this pristine wilderness completely uninterrupted by other tourists or the lights and sounds of a commercial lodge.
Think you'll miss the service or comforts of a commercial lodge? Think again! The beautiful irony of the experience is that you sacrifice little comfort by choosing to camp in this way - let's just say you won't be "roughing it!" In fact, at the Private Luxury Camp, you'll have a dedicated staff of courteous attendants catering to YOU and YOU ALONE with the same level of service you would expect at a high-class luxury resort! Immediately upon your arrival, you'll be graciously welcomed by the staff with warm Swahili greetings, a hot towel and a chilled beverage. From that moment on, the only distance between any wish and reality is simply a request to make it so. Even laundry service is included - one of the many little perks you'll find integrated into your stay.
And did we mention the front row seats to spectacular wildlife viewing? You are, after all, spending the best parts of the day in the middle of the remote wilderness! Look for elephants and giraffe drifting among the Acacia trees, or if the migration is thundering through be prepared for an even more dramatic show! Okay, so you've got the spell-binding ambience of the Serengeti savanna, you've got the personalized service of a 5-star luxury resort, NOW throw in all those familiar creature comforts (only better!) like hot showers (by starlight!), un-limited beer or wine (by a bonfire!) and gourmet meals served on fine china (cooked to order- just for you !) The result of this combination is an overall experience that's almost too good to be true!
Let's face it, no commercial lodge can compete with the raw, authentic ambience that accompanies camping underneath the exposed African sky. In complete solitude you will be able to just soak in the peace and beauty of your surroundings, unrushed by the schedules of others. Watch an ocean of sun-drenched grasses ripple in the breeze as far as the eye can see (with no walls to block the view!) and piles of shifting clouds roll through brilliant blue skies (in lieu of hotel ceilings!) Smooth islands of granite kopjes rise from this vast sea of grass just as they have for millions of years, adorned by ornate candelabra trees that stretch their lofty arms to the heavens. Primitive, wild and beautiful, THIS is where you will really GET the Serengeti. The buildings, traffic and crowds of civilization are but distant memories of the past.
Don't feel like leaving yet? Good! You don't have to! As evening descends over the camp, sit outside your tent and watch the dying light of sunset shimmer through the long, frayed grasses of golden savanna. Indulge in a traditional bush dinner by candlelight or campfire, featuring 4 course gourmet meals that are cooked to order (just for you) and graciously served by the dedicated staff (just to you.) Don't be surprised if the cooks and waiters burst into a spontaneous performance of traditional song and dance as they serve dessert! Choose your favorite beverage from the fully stocked bar (soda, beer, wine and spirits are all included with your stay!) and huddle by the dancing lights of the roaring bonfire as night cloaks the rest of the camp. Gaze at the sparkling blanket of stars that beam overhead, larger and lower and more brilliant than you've ever remembered seeing them before - there are no commercial lights around for miles to dilute this magical view!
When you are ready for a good night's sleep, retreat to your private tent and stretch out in a real, comfortable bed draped in a cozy duvet and fine linens. A hot water bottle, already placed snugly under the covers by one of the staff, nips any rogue chill that tries to sneak in. Since you are miles from civilization, expect the night to be full of life and nocturnal voices. Warm, comfortable and safe under your canvas shelter, you are coaxed to dreams by the symphony of the Serengeti - the soft throbbing of crickets, the distant whoops of hyenas and maybe even the roar of a lion!
Awake before sunrise to prepare for your early morning game drive and drench your body with steaming hot water from the open-air shower - you look up to the sky and all you see are stars! Toast the Serengeti with a delicious champagne breakfast by bonfire as you watch the sun rise and cast its ethereal glow over the surrounding land and cloudscapes. Inhale the smell of earth and dew and grass. Embrace the raw power of a wilderness still completely untouched by man. Each glorious moment is a celebration of the senses, and an incredible way to start the next day's adventure!
So if you really want the opportunity to connect with the nature of the Serengeti in a very intimate way, without sacrificing comfort, this is your chance to do it. Private Luxury Camping allows you to invest quality time in the Serengeti, especially during those magical hours like sunrise and sunset where the sights and sounds of your surroundings naturally intensify. Bask in the golden light of the setting sun, gaze up at a brilliant canopy of stars, listen for lions roaring in the night and then roll out of bed to a champagne toast at sunrise without ever climbing into the land rover. You are continually immersed in the magic of nature without interruption.
As mentioned above, the gracious staff at your Private Luxury Camp are there to serve YOU and YOU ONLY! So expect to be pampered like royalty. Expect gourmet meals and fine linens. Expect to be inspired. But don't just let us just talk about it come experience it for yourself!
'The Private Luxury Camp in the Serengeti was the showstopper! A private Tent (as big as our Family
Room) so clean you could eat off the floor. A separate Dining Tent. Superb food (including the popcorn at the Fire Pit and
Trout for lunch). A staff of five, to take care of the two of us, headed by Anthony. Anthony could make anyone feel welcome,
he is a sophisticated, caring professional who sees to the smallest detail. It was hard to believe we were in the
- Bill & Maryann K.
experience at the private luxury camp was great. The service was akin to a 5-star hotel, the bed was very comfortable.'
- Paula and Ray M.
Next we were off to the
Central Serengeti region where we stayed at a 'mobile' Private Luxury Camp site, right out on the open plains among the
animals, an absolutely incredible experience. Here you really get the feeling you are on an African Safari versus staying
just at hotel like lodges.'
- Tom and Peg W.
'You don't offer the same canned tours as everyone else. We saw Tanzania the way we wanted to. We opted to camp almost
every night. It was so exciting. The private camping was exhilarating.'
- Barry T. Family
roaring all night and the African dinner the last night at the Private Luxury Camp were particularly memorable.'
- Carl S.
'You may recall that we were somewhat
reluctant, to say the least, about the private luxury camp. You will probably not be surprised to hear that it stands out as
one of our most memorable safari experiences. The thrill of camping at the very site of the migration, the magnificent starry
African night sky, being awakened by the sounds of roaring lions and hysterical zebras, and the extraordinary, warm personal
care we received from the staff made our time spent there sensational. We thank you for insisting on it.'
- Martha and Monty D.
'We actually heard a pride of lions right outside our campsite in the middle of the night!! That was
why we did it and it was worth it! Plus, it put us right in the thick of the animals. The food at the camp was great and the
cake and song at the end was the perfect end to our camping experience.'
- Susie and Phillip C.
The Private Luxury Camp is a completely mobile camp and will be set up at the campsite of your choice (subject to availability) for the dates of your choice. The completely private camp is set up exclusively for just your group and can accommodate from 1 to 16 people. The camp consists of one dining tent and one or more sleeping tents depending upon the number of people in your group. Each sleeping tent is spacious and comfortable, and can be arranged as a single, double, twin or triple. The single will sleep one person in a queen size bed. Similarly, the double can be set up to accommodate a couple or two people with one queen size bed. Twin tents have two smaller beds and can accommodate two people in separate beds. A triple can also be arranged for a family with a small child. In the triple tents there is a queen size bed and a single bed suitable for two adults and 1 child.
A blend of comfort and practicality, each canvas sleeping tent is spacious, secure and well appointed with the fundamental necessities. In each roomy tent, there is a comfortable hardwood bed with a cozy duvet, comfy pillows, smooth sheets and plenty of blankets. Hot water bottles are thoughtfully embedded in your sheets each night although this is usually completely unnecessary. Next to each bed is a handy nightstand with bottled water, solar powered lamp and flashlight for your convenience. Towards the back of each tent is a table with a hand basin with soap and water to wash your hands.
Each sleeping tent is conveniently equipped with an en-suite toilet and bladder shower in two separate compartments. These compartments are accessed from inside you own tent and are separated with a zipper from the main tent (you do not need to walk outside your tent to use the facilities). The toilet is a simple and clean chemical, manual flush toilet. The toilet is cleaned and sterilized every day while you are out on game drives. The bladder shower is quite charming, with a ceiling open to the sky, and is filled with plenty of hot water upon demand. At the front of each tent are traditional safari chairs to relax in while enjoying the setting and additional wash basins and towels so you may freshen up for those early morning game drives.
Although electricity is not supplied to each separate sleeping tent (the space is lit by solar powered lanterns as required), there is a generator at each camp used to run the refrigerator and can be used to charge any camera or camcorder batteries. If you need any batteries charged, just leave them with the staff during the day and they will charge them by the time you get back from your game drive. Please do make sure you have the proper 3-pin UK plug adapter - see our useful information section for the specifics.
Food and Drink
Overall, the food and beverages offered at the Private Luxury Camp are among the finest in all of Tanzania. Dinners are especially delicious and the roaring campfires, full bar and attentive service makes for especially memorable bush evenings. A stay at the Private Luxury Camp is inclusive of 3 mouth-watering meals a day and all drinks (soft drinks, beer, wine, spirits, champagne, etc.) You won't have to compete with other tourists for attention because the dedicated staff caters to YOU, and you alone!
Wake up call times are taken the night before and then steaming hot coffee or tea is delivered to your tent at a predetermined time. A full breakfast can be enjoyed in the main dining tent at the time of your choosing, or you may have the cooks prepare a delightful breakfast box (to go) if you wish to have an early morning game drive. Just let your guide know the night before of your choice but we strongly advise to try the early morning game drive with breakfast box at least once during your stay. If you choose to dine in for breakfast, a large spread will be prepared in the dining tent including cereal, fruit, breads and juices. Orders are taken for eggs, omelets, pancakes, bacon, sausage, hot potatoes, etc. On the last morning of your stay, you may choose to sit outside by the warmth of a bonfire and watch the sun rise over the golden plains with a delicious champagne breakfast served al fresco.
Similarly to breakfast, you have the choice of either having a scrumptious lunch at camp in the main dining tent or rather a box lunch, packed with care, so you may enjoy a bush picnic. As with breakfast, we recommend a lunch box in the bush at least once during your stay.
The evenings at the Private Luxury Camp are simply heaven! Upon arrival from your afternoon game drive you are greeted with warm towels and escorted back to your tent for a hot shower to prepare for the evening's festivities. You will then be escorted back to the main dining area where a roaring campfire awaits with a full bar of soda, beer, wine, champagne and spirits (all included in your stay.) Popcorn, roasted cashews and drinks are served by a blazing campfire under a mesmerizing blanket of stars. At your convenience, dinner is served in the main dining tent by the light of flickering candles. Dinner is quite a serious production and consists of 4 amazing courses including tasty appetizers, hearty soup, flavorful salad, delectable entrees of beef or chicken, potatoes, rice, several selections of freshly prepared vegetables and luscious dessert (vegetarian meals are available on request). On your last night at the Private Luxury Camp, a traditional African dinner is served under the stars with a bottle of sparkling champagne. The thrill of the Serengeti night and all its wild wonder surrounds you.
Activities and Highlights
- Private game drives
- Walk next to the hippos at Retina Hippo Pool
- Balloon safaris
- Picnic breakfasts and lunches if desired
- Bush dinners and evening campfires
- Early morning (before sunrise) game drives to witness the predators in action
- Full day game drives to the GOL Kopjes
- Private safari bush camp set up special for just you and your group accommodating from 1 to 16 guests
- Location selected for seclusion and prime game viewing in the Seronera River Valley, Turner's Springs, Makoma Hill, Moru Kopjes or Naabi Hill depending upon the season
- Camp consists of guest sleeping tent(s) and dining tent
- Spacious sleeping tent(s) furnished with a comfortable hardwood bed, linens, washbasin, deck chairs, etc.
- Each tent contains an ensuite chemical toilet and bladder shower filled with hot water on demand - these facilities are in every tent towards the back in separate compartments
- Portable solar lanterns to carry with you at night and to light the interior of your sleeping tent
- Separate dining tent with refrigerator and full bar (all drinks are included)
- Approximately 6 camp staff including cooks, camp crew and waiters accompany each Private Luxury Camp
- Inclusive of 3 superb meals a day including 4 course dinners with appetizers, soup, salad, beef or chicken, potatoes, rice, several selections of vegetables and dessert (vegetarian meals available on request)
- Champagne dinner under the stars with traditional African food on your last night
- All drinks (soft drinks, beer, wine, spirits, champagne, etc.) are included
- Laundry service is included
- Roaring campfire, popcorn and drinks under the African sky each evening
- Breakfast boxes can be prepared for early morning game drives and lunch boxes can be prepared for full day adventure game drives
- Generator at each camp - you may charge your camera or camcorder batteries during the day
- Hot towel greetings upon arrival
- Hot water bottles embedded in your sheets each night
- Unparalleled Service!!
Some Additional Thoughts on Private Luxury Camping
There are several ingredients that if met always create a truly incredible property and ultimately the most rewarding safari experience. These components include location with regards to wildlife viewing, lodge/camp size, authenticity, closeness with nature, comfort, service and food. We think the Private Luxury Camp meets and exceeds each of these items and will undoubtedly prove to be one of your safari highlights. This is a tall order to fill but it really is this good. There is no where else in Tanzania where one could have complete privacy under traditional canvas with roaring campfires, lively nocturnal sounds, great food, friendly service plus the most intimate bush setting and the all the creature comforts (massive tent with en suite toilet and shower and all proper bedroom furnishings). Of course, there is always a downside and unfortunately the very high price tag for a private and luxurious bush property can be a deal breaker for many. However, for some it may be worth it to pull off a few nights at the Private Luxury Camp by downgrading the rest of your accommodations if what you're looking for is the ultimate bush adventure without compromising any comfort.
The Private Luxury Camp is commonly used in the Seronera River Valley of the Central Serengeti. The Central Serengeti is a must see on every safari (regardless of your month of travel) due its abundance of resident wildlife. The only problem with the Central Serengeti is the lack of small bush lodges and tented lodges that are found throughout the other areas of the park. There are three lodges in the Central Serengeti including the Serengeti Serena Lodge, Serengeti Sopa Lodge and Seronera Wildlife Lodge but all of these are large hotel style lodges with hordes of tourists. The main idea behind the private luxury camp is to provide a superb alternative to these large lodges for those of us looking for something a little more special then a large buffet line.
We highly recommend adding two nights at the Private Luxury Camp to every well-balanced safari itinerary as budget allows. The immediate area around the camp offers superb year round game viewing so this is a good fit regardless of your month of travel. However, the Private Luxury Camp is best combined with traditional lodges and tented lodges throughout the parks and conservation areas of Northern Tanzania. When used in conjunction with other lodges and tented lodges, a diversified and truly rewarding experience is obtained.