Moremi Game Reserve
Protecting most of the central and eastern parts of the Okavango Delta is the Moremi Wildlife Reserve, a 3,000km2 wildlife paradise. Proclaimed a reserve by the BaTawana people in 1962, Moremi is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful of botwana’s national parks and game reserves.
The foresight of the local community has ensured that nature’s web has flourished undisturbed. A veritable Garden of Eden, Moremi is a montage of lily-covered wetlands, floodplains, open grassland and forests. Even at the busiest time of year you’re likely to be the only spectators at some of the most dramatic animal sightings.
The reserve consists of a network of waterways surrounding two large land masses: Chiefs Island in the centre of the Delta and forested Mopane Tongue in the east. The area’s diverse ecosystems, riverine woodland, floodplains, wetlands and reed beds, mopane woodland and dry savannah woodland, broken only by the occasional jeep track, are all packed with game.
Why the amazing diversity and large numbers of animals? Not only does this range of habitats provide rich pickings for an impressive variety of wildlife, but the floodwaters that arrive to swell the Delta’s waterways as the rest of Botswana dries up in the dry season are a magnet for tens of thousands of animals. Indeed, game viewing is impressive throughout the year but the cool, dry winter months from to March to September are an ideal time to visit. Expect to see elephant and buffalo, all manner of antelope and plains game as well as great predators. On the sandy riverbanks and wetlands, sightings of hippos and crocodiles are commonplace.
There are three rudimentary campsites in the reserve, all of which are unfenced, and as the animals frequently prowl for scraps in the dead of night you’ll feel that you are in the heart of wildest Africa. For the less adventurous, Moremi is best seen by 4X4 and boat trips from the excellent luxury lodges within the reserve.
Moremi is accessed either by air (light aircraft fly to the airstrips that service the lodges) or by road via Maun, Botswana’s tourism capital, or from the north by way of the equally rewarding Chobe National Park. However, the maze of sandy roads that takes you from Maun to Moremi South Gate deteriorate once inside the reserve and vary from deep sand tracks to potholed detours. A self-drive through Moremi is advisable only for experienced 4×4 drivers and only in the dry months. The summer rains can make parts of the Moremi inaccessible and some lodges close over the December- February period.