Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana
Moremi Game Reserve is not only the oldest protected section of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, it also plays testament to the verve and tenacity of the local BaTawana people.
Everything you need to know about Moremi Game Reserve
Moremi Game Reserve is not only the oldest protected section of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, it also plays testament to the verve and tenacity of the local BaTawana people. In the 1960s, the wildlife and environment in this pivotal part of this wetland region were under threat and the tribe spearheaded the drive to deem it a protected area. It was named a game reserve, as opposed to a national park, in 1962 – a designation which allowed the local people to stay on in the reserve.
Today it is one of the foremost adventure and safari destinations in Botswana’s Okavango Delta region.
Where is the reserve located?
The reserve, that was named in honour of BaTawana tribe members Chief Moremi III and his wife, is situated on the eastern side of the Okavango Delta and covers an awe-inspiring 5 000 sq. km. If exact coordinates are your thing, you can pinpoint its location at 19.3669° S, 23.0452° E.
As for getting there, the best course of action is to fly into Maun, the small, bustling capital of the Kalahari located in northern Botswana. From here, you can either book a chartered transfer or make your own way to the reserve via 4×4. If you choose to blaze your own trail, remember to buckle up and check the spare – distances are long and road conditions can be a little hairy, especially in the rainy season when you’re likely to encounter mud (and lots of it!).
What can you expect of the terrain?
Moremi Game Reserve could very well be called a microcosm of the African continent. Talk about juxtaposition! From lily-studded lagoons, to undulating floodplains, vast open grasslands, mopane woodland and acacia forests teeming with birdsong, the region is a study in contrast. As such, its biodiversity is also staggering. The bulk of the reserve consists of the Delta itself, with only about 30% of its area comprised of mainland.
About the reserve
What type of wildlife will we see?
Game and birdlife abound in this pristine environment, living in harmony and following the ancient rhythms of an African landscape, undisturbed by man’s influence. When you visit, be ready for close encounters with everything from leopards and wild dogs, to cheetah, roan and sable antelope and perhaps even rhino (the latter was recently reintroduced in the region).
The reserve is unfenced, which means the big game has free reign to roam to and from the Chobe National Park, situated towards the north. All the major, must-see predators are present and accounted for in robust numbers, and along the banks of the delta crocodiles and hippos abound. Big herds of elephant and buffalo descend in the dry winter season, and the reserve is a bird-lover’s paradise year-round, with 400+ species (including fish eagles, Carmine bee-eaters and Woodland kingfishers) calling it home.
Top experiences to enjoy at Moremi Game Reserve
If the idea of a run-of-the-mill guided safari bores you to tears, we have some great news. At Moremi Game Reserve, you’ll be able to enjoy a variety of thrilling wildlife excursions that should keep you on the edge of your seat. This includes 4×4 night safari drives (all the better to see those nocturnal species), walking safaris (great for really immersing yourself in the feel and smell of the veld), and, of course, mokoro safaris! A mokoro is a dug-out canoe that was designed by the locals to transport themselves through the Okavango Delta. Going on a guided adventure in one of these low-tech vessels will transport you to a simpler time and allow you to get really close to certain animals since it makes very little noise, and your local guide knows the area, its inhabitants and their habits really well.
When to visit
When you should visit Moremi Game Reserve is wholly dependant on what you want to get from your Botswana safari experience. In terms of weather, May to November is a good time to go. These are the mild and dry autumn and winter months, which also happens to be the time when the Delta is in flood and the game heads to Moremi in vast numbers in search of water. However, if you’re in search of the big cats and wild dogs, and want to explore more of the region, the summer months between December and April would be your best bet, since the water is lower and more mainland is exposed.