Mare aux hippopotames

The Mare aux Hippopotames Biosphere Reserve is located about 60 km north of Bobo-Dioulasso in south-west Burkina Faso. It is known for its freshwater lake (‘mare’) with associated pools and marshes in the floodplain of the Volta Noire River as well as for its gallery forests.

Declaration Date : 1987
Surface Area : 19 200 ha
Administrative Division : Région des Hauts Bassins, Provincedu Houet, Communes Rurales de Satiri et de Padéma

Ecological Characteristics

  • Ferruginous tropical soils two thirds leached.
  • Sudanese type climate with two distinct seasons (a dry season lasting 8 months and a rainy season lasting 4 months). Rainfall ranges from 800 to 1100 mm peryear.
  • Five types of vegetation: forests, wooded savannahs, vegetation on cuirasse formations and vegetation in aquatic and flood areas.

The forests are well represented by four types of galleries along the River Mouhoun and the lake that extends over 660 ha, there serve’s main attraction.

The flora includes 191 species with 136 genus and 52 families. Thirty-three species have been registered for the river galleries, some twenty in the flood and aquatic vegetation areas. The flora of the savannahs and open forests includes some hundred species, while the vegetation on the cuirasse comes close to 70 species and about 40 species in the fallow land.

Fungus is also represented, with some edible species, and there are algae and lichen.

  • Wild mammals include a population of 60 hippopotamus divided into three families, some fifty elephants, somelarge antelopes such as the sable antelope, numerous primates (Patas) and warthogs.

Birdlife is represented by 160 species of water fowl, mainly kingfishers, Dondrocygne and the golden breasted Jacana.

  • The lake itself hosts 34 types of fish, represented mainly by Tilapia, Clarias and Gymnarchus.

Human Activities

  • Strong pressure of agriculture around the Reserve (market crops and domestic plantations) mainly based on cotton and corn;
  • Artisanal fishing on the lake and along the River Mouhoun;
  • Traditional animal husbandry with cattle, sheep and goats around the reserve;
  • Traditional and modern bee-keeping inside and around the Reserve.

Protection Classification

Classified forest, Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar Site On a national level: Classified forest by ordinance n° 836 of 26 March 1937 with right of use by the riverside population, for fishing, gathering fruit and flowers, leaves and resins, etc... Cutting grass for forage and dead wood.


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                                                                                            Last updated: August 2011

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