Moremi Game Reserve Ngamiland
Reserve is a National Park in Botswana. It rests on the eastern side of the
Okavango Delta and was named after Chief Moremi of the BaTawana tribe. Moremi
was designated as a Game Reserve, and not a National Park, since when it was
created. The BaSarwa or Bushmen that lived there were allowed to stay in the
However, in the 1960s, the government instead burned the Bushmen village and forced the villagers to move outside the Reserve. They relocated on the other side of the Khwai River and named their new village Khwai. Within the village there is still a strong distrust towards the national government as there have been rumors about the village being moved once again.
The Moremi Game Reserve covers much of the eastern side of the Okavango Delta and combines permanent water with drier areas, which create some startling and unexpected contrasts. Some prominent geographical features of the Reserve are Chiefs Island and the Moremi Tongue. In the Moremi Reserve one can experience excellent views of Savannah game as well as bird-watching on the lagoons. There are also thickly wooded areas, which are home to the rare leopard. To the northeast lies the Chobe National Park which borders the Moremi Game Reserve.
Although just under 5,000 square kilometres (1,900 sq mi) in extent, it is a surprisingly diverse Reserve, combining mopane woodland and acacia forests, floodplains and lagoons. Only about 30% of the Reserve is mainland, with the bulk being within the Okavango Delta itself.
The Moremi Game Reserve, although not one of the largest Parks, presents insights and views even for the most experienced of travelers. Home to nearly 500 species of bird (from water birds to forest dwellers), and a vast array of other species of wildlife, including buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyaena, jackal, impala, and red lechwe. African Wild dog, Lycaon pictus, is resident and has been the subject of a project run in the area since 1989; thus this species is often seen wearing collars emplaced by researchers.
The Reserve offers the opportunity to explore not only in 4x4's but on foot and by mokoro - a dug-out canoe, hewn from either ebony or sausage-tree, and poled by your personal guide. Although, today most of the mekoro (plural of mokoro), are made from fibreglass, thus helping to preserve the magnificent, and old, trees of the delta.
Game viewing is at its peak from July to October, when seasonal pans dry up and the wildlife concentrates on the permanent water. From October until the start of the rains in late November or early December, the weather can be extremely hot.
Malarial mosquitoes are prevalent throughout the Reserve and it is strongly recommended that visitors should take precautions before, during and after a visit.
Botswana has been able to develop its tourism without the urgent need for revenues that face many other African countries. An eco-tourism policy of high yield, but low impact, has resulted in visitors being able to experience an Africa at its most natural, unspoilt and stunningly beautiful. Thus the Reserve itself has very few lodges, and only four areas set-aside for camping (at South Gate, Third Bridge, Xakanaxa, and Khwai). There are a number of lodges on the outskirts of the Reserve, whose guests visit on daily game drives.
Travel between lodges is accomplished by light aircraft transfers, as most lodges have their own airstrips. Therefore, you can easily combine a number of lodges in a variety of areas.
Moremi, hunted by the Bushman as long as 10,000 years ago,
was initiated by the Batawana tribe and covers some 4,871 sq. km, as the
eastern section of the Okavango Delta. Moremi is mostly described as one of
the most beautiful wildlife reserves in Africa. It combines Mopane woodland
and acacia forests, floodplains and lagoons. It is the great diversity of
plant and animal life that makes Moremi so well known.
The idea to create a game reserve first originated in 1961 and was approved by the Batawana at a kgotla in 1963. The area was then officially designated as a game reserve in April 1965 and was initially run by the Fauna Conservation Society of Ngamiland. Moremi was then extended to include Chiefs Island in 1976. In August 1979 the reserve was taken over by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. A further extension was added as recently as 1992 and now the reserve contains within its boundaries approximately twenty percent of the Okavango Delta.
The Reserve has 4 campsites at
Maqwee Gate, Khwai, Xakanaxa and
Third Bridge. All of them have basic ablution
blocks with the occasional braai stand and table. Khwai campsite is situated
on the banks of the Khwai river making it one of the most pleasant campsites
in Botswana. Other sites: Wilderness Camp Sites Gxhobega & Gcudikwa 1& 2.
How to get there
Travelling north-east from Maun, firstly along a fine full width tar road to Shorobe, then on a wide gravel road, a veterinary control fence is encountered - locally known as the buffalo fence, constructed to protect the flourishing cattle industry to the south from any diseases that may be carried by wildlife. Passing through the gate, a first glimpse of the reason that this is described as 4x4 country is obtained, as the deep sandy track ahead is in stark contrast to the previous road. After a short distance, a left hand fork in the track is taken, travelling through wildlife country of Mopane and acacia woodland, interspersed by areas of open grassland. Low speed is essential on this route, due to the soft churning sand and the chance of viewing wildlife.
Eventually, after having travelled 99 kilometres from Maun, the southern entrance gate of the Moremi Game Reserve, Magwee, is reached. Here, nestling amongst a glade of tall Mopane trees, is a shady camping ground with two small ablution blocks. Here it is essential to guard foodstuffs carefully against the unwelcome attentions of baboons and monkeys. From the south gate of Moremi, there is a choice of roads. There is a direct route of thirty kilometres through to the northern entrance gate at Khwai, where the headquarters of the reserve are situated. At Khwai there is a large public camping ground situated in a well-shaded area overlooking the river.
Here at Khwai, a long bridge constructed entirely out of Mopane poles, forms a picturesque entrance to the reserve for visitors arriving from the north. This bridge, which rattles and shakes as vehicles pass over it, must be one of the most photographed structures in the northern areas of Botswana and is so much a part of the character of Moremi. Smaller bridges, of a similar construction, can be seen in other areas of the reserve and, in all, a gang of thirteen men is required for continuous maintenance work.
From the south gate, another route goes for 58 kilometres north-west through some diverse scenery, across First and Second Bridges, to a further camping ground at Third Bridge. This area, which borders on the delta and Mboma Island, enjoys heavy concentrations of wildlife in the dry season and one stands a good chance of seeing elusive cheetahs hunting. The water that flows under the bridge here looks clear, cool and inviting - but beware, crocodiles would welcome anyone foolish enough to swim! Care should be taken if filling buckets (safer to use the standpipe) or undertaking any activity close to the water.
The third optional route from the south gate goes through the heart of the Mopane forest for 42 kilometres to Xakanaxa. Here, once again, there is a public camping ground overlooking the edge of the delta. From Xakanaxa, a route can be taken to the north gate at Khwai, which is some 45 kilometres in distance, passing through a delightful area known as Hippo Pool, which is only 14 kilometres from the north gate. However, this road is currently inaccessible as it has been flooded by the waters of the Khwai river.
Hippo Pool lives up to its name, as there is an abundance of those creatures in residence. They can be viewed in comfort from an observation platform overlooking the pool. It was near here that the Bugakhwe people used to have their village, but, with the creation of the game reserve, they were moved in 1963 to their present location near north gate, which is known as Khwai Village. The village boasts a population of only about three hundred people. There are a few basic supply stores in the Khwai Village, which can be very useful if one runs out of something or would like the luxury of an ice cold drink! A few of these villagers have attractive basketwork for sale to visitors.
Moremi is best visited in the dry season and game viewing is at its peak from July to October, when seasonal pans dry up and the wildlife concentrates on the permanent water. The winter months of May to August can be very cold at night, but pleasantly warm, under clear blue skies, during the day. From October until the rains break in late November or early December, the weather can be extremely hot - both day and night.
Mosquitoes are prevalent throughout the reserve and it is strongly recommended that visitors should take an anti-malarial prophylactic before, during and for four weeks after their visit, especially during the rainy season. Water for drinking should be boiled or chemically treated.
The reserve enjoys a wide diversity of habitat and is well known for the height of the trees in the Mopane tongue, which covers the central area. However, the mainland part forms only about thirty percent of the reserve and is, in many ways untypical - the remaining area being part of the Okavango Delta. Birdlife is prolific and varied, ranging from water birds to shy forest dwellers. Elephants are numerous, particularly during the dry season, as well as a range of other wildlife species from buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, hyena, jackal and the full range of antelope, large and small, including the red lechwe. Rhino, both black and white, were here in the past, but most of the few remaining have been sought out for translocation to the protection of a sanctuary, away from the attentions of illegal hunters. Wild dog, whose numbers are so rapidly dwindling elsewhere, are regularly sighted in the Moremi and have been subject to a project being run in the area since 1989 so these animals are often seen wearing collars placed on them by the researchers. It is claimed that the Moremi area contains about thirty percent of all living wild dog.
Visitors should note that there are no fuel supplies available in Moremi, the nearest fuel and garage facilities being in Maun. Similarly, apart from the limited range of goods on offer in Khwai Village, no food supplies are available in the Reserve.
Rates per person per night, camping only: on request
|All park entry fees per person/vehicle||Payable on arrival|
Contact & reservations:
|Related||Maps||Accommodation in the area||Activities in the area|
|Hotels||Pensions||B&Bs||Lodges||Camping & others|
|The Okavango River||Moremi map||Little Mombo Camp||Xakanaxa Camp||Vumbura Plains||Camp Moremi||Khwai (North Gate)||Airport transfers|
|Camping in national parks||-||Nxabega Safari Camp||Okavango River Lodge||Dijara Camp||Chief's Camp||Maqwee camp site||Mobile Safaris|
|Linyanti Game Reserve||-||Okuti Camp||Audi Camp||-||Chitabe Trails Camp||Sankuyo Bush Camp||Mokoro trips|
|Moremi Game Reserve||-||Sango Safari Camp||Maun Lodge||-||Khwai River Lodge||Xakanaxa camp site||Car rental|
|Maun||-||Santawani Lodge||-||-||Mapula Lodge||Third Bridge camp site||-|
|Gcadikwe Island Camp||Third Bridge Tented Camp|
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