Moremi Game Reserve is found on the eastern side of the Okavango Delta in Botswana and covers an area of 5000 square kilometers (1900 square miles) which makes it very surprisingly large and diverse for a Reserve.
This Reserve was named after Chief Moremi of the popular Ba Tawana tribe and now consists of lagoons, salt pans, grasslands, the thick Mopane woodlands, acacia forests, floodplains, and savannahs. This exceptional ecosystem offers habitat to a wide range of wildlife species like never seen in other places in the African continent and it is for this reason that this Reserve was voted the “best game Reserve in Africa” by the Prestigious African Travel and Tourism Association during Indaba, South Africa’s prime tourism fair.
Declared a Game Reserve on the 15th March 1963, Moremi was surprisingly the first Game Reserve to be created by local residents (BaTawana people) but that also meant that the local people-BaSarwa or popularly known as Bushmen that lived within the area lost their original home. These people under the leadership of the deceased Chief Moremi III’s wife-Mrs. Moremi were so concerned about the rise of hunting and cattle encroachment within the Okavango Delta and was initially managed by the Fauna Conservation Society of Ngamiland after creation but after its extension to include the Chief’s Island in 1979, this Reserve was taken over by the Department of Wildlife and National parks.
- Flora and Fauna within Moremi Game Reserve
This Reserve covers much of the eastern side of the Okavango Delta and combines drier and permanent water areas but some of the most interesting attractions within the site are the Chief’s Island and the Moremi Tongue. While here, tourists are guaranteed of experiencing unsurpassed views of the savannah game as well as bird watching within the lagoons.
Also, there are dense woodlands that offer shelter to leopards and Cape Wild dogs while to the north-eastern side of the Reserve lies the famous Chobe National Park that is contiguous to the Moremi Game Reserve. Much as it is only 5000 square kilometers in size, Moremi Game Reserve is surprisingly biologically diverse with its landscape comprising of mainly Acacia forests, Mopane woodlands, lagoons and floodplains but only 30% of the Reserve is mainland with the largest part lying within the Okavango Delta. Although it is not one of the largest Protected Areas in the country, it rewards tourists with fantastic views that cannot be experienced in other places.
It is a haven to almost 500 species of birds including forest, savannah and aquatic species of birds such as Pel’s fishing owls, Arnot’s chat, woodpeckers, African fish eagles, wattled cranes, kingfishers and barbets among others in addition to the wide range of wildlife species such as South African cheetahs, elephants, Angolan giraffes, Zebras, Southwest African lions, large herds of Cape buffaloes, Jackals, Black rhinoceros, impalas, red lechwe, hyenas and Cape wild dogs among others.
- Activities within Moremi Game Reserve
There are several adventures to enjoy within the Reserve and they include nature walks, game drives in 4WD Vehicles with the peaks being from July to October when seasonal pans dry up and the animals concentrate on the permanent water, Dug-out canoe rides, and bird watching.
- Accommodation facilities within the Reserve
There are few Safari lodges within this Reserve and only four places (namely Khwai, South Gate, Xakanaxa Camp, and Third Bridge) set aside for Camping. However, there are several Lodges and Hotels within the outskirts of the Reserve where guests visit on game drives and other fascinating activities.
- How to Access Moremi Game Reserve
This site can either be reached by air (through chartered flights to the airstrips that service the Lodges) or by road transport through Maun. A self-drive through the Game Reserve is recommended for experienced 4X4 drivers and usually in the dry season. The rainy season makes most of the Park’s areas inaccessible and some Lodges even close from December to February.