Proclaimed a reserve by the area’s BaTawana people in 1962, the Moremi Game Reserve is one of Africa’s most beautiful conservation areas. Protecting 3 000 km² of the central and eastern Okavango Delta, Moremi is a stunning montage of lily-covered wetlands, sparkling floodplains, open grassland and dappled forests.
This range of habitats provides rich pickings for an impressive variety of resident wildlife and game viewing in Moremi is rewarding throughout the year. However, floodwaters from distant Angolan highlands arrive in the dry June – September winter months and swell the Okavango Delta’s waterways at a time when the rest of Botswana is rapidly drying up. The result is that Moremi becomes a magnet for tens of thousands of thirsty animals. This is the best time to visit the Moremi Game Reserve as game concentrations are at their highest, the climate is cool and dry and the risk of malaria low.
Visitors on a Moremi safari can expect to see big herds of elephant and buffalo, all manner of antelope and plains game and a huge range of bird species. All the major predators are present in healthy numbers, and the reserve is Africa’s last stronghold for the highly endangered wild dog. Crocodiles are often seen sunning themselves on sandy riverbanks while hippos and fish eagles dominate the deep lagoons. Moreover, Moremi’s size and challenging terrain means that even at the busiest time of year you’re likely to be the only spectators at some of the most dramatic animal sightings.
Moremi is generally accessed by air (light aircraft fly to the airstrips that service the lodges) or less often by road via Maun – the gateway town to the Okavango Delta – or from the north by way of the equally rewarding Chobe National Park. Indeed, many visitors combine a Moremi safari with Chobe or the Kalahari, and fly-in logistics are straightforward.
Private lodges are scattered throughout Moremi with several located on or near Chief’s Island, the Delta’s largest land mass, while others are set either deep in the permanent wetlands of the Okavango Delta or on its drier fringes. You’ll need to choose your accommodation carefully: water-based lodges offer year-round boating, walking and canoe safaris but not always vehicle-based game viewing; land-based lodges offer better game viewing but are not always able to provide water activities due to variable water levels.
Note too that the summer rains can make parts of Moremi inaccessible and some lodges close over the December- February period.