The Moremi Game Reserve is the oldest and first protected area of the Okavango Delta, and has some of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. 30 % of the reserve is mainland, with the bulk being within the Okavango Delta itself. Moremi protects the heart of the delta, one of the most diverse habitat and animal populations within Botswana. It covers much of the eastern side of the delta and combines permanent water with drier areas, which create some startling and unexpected visual contrasts, as well as diversity of species.
The reserve was created by the local Batawana people in 1963, it’s namesake after Chief Moremi III, a sign of respect and gratitude. Moremi is made up of floodplains, lagoons, acacia forests, mopane woodland and islands. The biodiversity of these areas deems Moremi a safari seekers’ dreamscape, each terrain holding its own ecological wonders. This diversity of habitat and landscape also ensures year round game viewing. Resident species include elephant, zebra, red lechwe, lion, cheetah and a thriving population of African wild dog. This, as well as the reintroduction of rhino on Chief’s island is why Moremi is a gem in Botswana’s large wildlife treasure chest.
Mogotlho, Khwai River supports, promotes and celebrates Moremi Game Reserve, offering a full day tour of its terrain. The expedition is outlined below by manager and guide, Brendon Newton, giving us a taste of how delicious Botswana safaris are!
- Rise and shine around 6, to meet for an early breakfast at 7.
- A 7.30 departure, heading to Khwai for Northgate entrance to Moremi. +- 1 ½ hr drive to the reserve is a game drive in itself with wildlife (particularly wild dogs) often seen en-route.
- Pass through Khwai village – perhaps stop for a local ‘Magwinya’- similar to vetkoek (doughnut without the ring)
- Sign in to the park, and a small coffee break with magwinya, biscuits and rusks. Drinking coffee in the bush gives you a sense of freedom – the taste and aroma of the wild infuses with the flavour.
- Head over the rickety gum pole bridge at Northgate to enter the park. Nerve racking when one is used to concrete bypasses!
- Traverse the diverse northern section of Moremi with its amazing open grasslands with plains game. Here we often spot the lesser seen and fastest antelope in Africa – up to 80km/hr – the Tsessebe, Wildebeest, Zebra – and prides of lions that follow in the footsteps of prey. Observe its pristine floodplains with the rare lechwe. Admire the vast stretches of giant Cathedral Mopane forests, as well as camel-thorn acacias. These are sometimes known as the ‘acacia’s of the giraffes’ – being their favourite tree to snack on. The forests offer the chance to see the elusive leopard, branches within the cool shade of trees their preferred resting spot. Northern Moremi is a stronghold for elephants – the giant and generally gentle pachyderms scattered throughout the landscape.
- Stop for a scrumptious packed lunch at Dombo Hippo Pool. Here we get up close with pods of hippos. Relax for a while on the viewing deck, spotting various birds and wildlife as they come to quench their thirst at the waterhole.
- A bit more exploring after lunch, possibly stopping by the famous ‘3rd bridge’, for another nail biting crossing!
- Slowly make our way back to Mogotlho, meandering a bit along the river Khwai for a last few photo opportunities before arriving back at camp to enjoy a sundowner on the deck.
Moremi Game Reserve is an enchanting piece of Africa. Wild, scenic and diverse, it will captivate your curiosity and remain in your memory long after the safari ends. A full day exploring with Mogothlo, Khwai River, will certainly satiate your safari appetite.