Moremi Game Reserve
Moremi Game Reserve is a very special reserve situated in the central and eastern areas of the Okavango Delta and was the first to be established by local residents. It was declared a game reserve in 1963 after uncontrolled hunting and cattle encroachment led to the rapid decline of wildlife in the area.
The Batawaana people of local Ngamiland led the formation under the guidance of the local chief, Chief Moremi's widowed wife. The location and environmental conditions have made it one of the most scenic and diverse in the continent. There are both public campsites and luxury lodges to fulfil the accommodation requirements and enjoy the views of the reserve. Most of the reserve is accessible only by flying in and boat and road journeys can be undertaken only to the fringes of the reserve or to the Chief's Island and some parts of the Mopane Tongue.
The reserve is just under 5000 sq km but is exceedingly beautiful with a combination of floodplains, lagoons, pools, riparian and riverine forests, pans, grasslands and mopane forests. It covers around 20% of the Delta's wetland and the dry peninsula called Mopane Tongue that cuts through the delta. A vast variety of wildlife makes game viewing and bird watching a delight for the visitor. It is a 'Big Five' destination with the recent reintroduction of the White and Black Rhino. Wild dogs, one of the most endangered species, are collared by researchers for conservation purposes that has led to an increase in their numbers.
The wildlife is prolific and quite used to the human presence which allows visitors to observe them closely. It is one of the few places where you can spot the rare Pel's fishing owl.
Elephants are usually numerous especially in the dry season as are other species like giraffe, buffalo, cheetah, lion, leopard, hyena and jackal. This is one of the best areas to spot the red lechwe and other antelope species are present all over the reserve according to the suitable habitat.
A good number of camps have been established inside the reserve, Chief's Island being prime property. Some patches on the Mopane tongue are accessible by a mobile safari on the confluence of land and water. These include Khwai River Area
, Xakanaxa Lagoon
and Third Bridge. Self-drivers usually combine Moremi with the Chobe National Park
both different landscapes with amazing potential for game viewing.
Chief's Island is a dry piece of land towering at a height above the water filled delta, is huge and most likely Okavango's most famous island. It was once the royal hunting ground of Chief Moremi who contributed it to the Moremi Game Reserve making it the region's best game viewing areas. The camps here offer a personal and exclusive experience whilst abiding by the National Park rules. It is accessible by meokoro trips from the inner delta lodges.
Khwai River Area
is another pristine area to the northeastern side of the reserve where the current headquarters of the reserve are located. There is a good density of prey and predator while birdlife is consistently excellent. The Khwai river forms the northern boundary of the reserve and the North Gate offers good photo ops and scenic views of the river from the large public campsite. Also present is the Khwai River Lodge which has stunning views of the reserve. It is accessible from Kasane and the east by a link through the Chobe National Park
The South Gate of the reserve (Maqwee) is accessible at around 99 km from Maun. It also houses a campsite with two ablution sites in a woody area. Several species of game are found wandering around stands of acacia and in the open areas.
Another rustic camping ground is located at Third Bridge which can be accessed from the South Gate on a scenic road across the First and Second Bridges. This is an area with open plains and several thick foresty areas. Animals are plenty and mobile safaris might provide boat trips to the islands from the water-land boundary here.
On the way through the mopane forests, from the South to the North Gate, one more public camping ground can be reached at Xakanaxa lagoon. It is at the tip of the Mopane Tongue and at the heart of the reserve. This is an area with waterways and flooded areas that attract quite a lot of game and hunters like the shy cheetah are hence commonly seen. So are many waders as well as raptors.
Around 30 km from here is an area known as the Hippo pool, the residents of which can be viewed from an observation platform above the pool. Some roads are closed in the rainy season, like the one from Xakanaxa to Khwai.
Fuel and supplies are available in Kasane and Maun and a limited goods supply in Khwai.