The Moremi Game Reserve is often called one of the most beautiful game reserves in Africa. It is dominated by green and gold floodplains. The drier eastern areas of the reserve have tall Mopane trees which have pretty butterfly shaped leaves. Most of these trees are very established and have tall arching branches which give rise to the name cathedral Mopane.
The Moremi Game Reserve is found inside the Okavango region. Moremi Game Reserve takes up about 20% of the total area of the eastern section of the Delta, slightly smaller than Delaware in the United States. The park is mostly wetland with only about 30% being dry land. It is dominated by two areas called the Mopane Tongue and Chief's Island.
Moremi was the traditional land and hunting ground of the Batawana people. They grew concerned about the decimation of the wildlife population due to hunting and the encroachment of cattle on their traditional land. The tribe was led by the widow Moremi, who petitioned that the area be set aside for conservation. In 1962 Chief Moremi's wife declared that the area would become a reserve where no hunting was allowed. This was made official in 1965 when Moremi was officially declared a reserve.
Moremi protects the heart of the Okavango Delta and it has some the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. Game viewing here is excellent. Tourism is limited and self-drives can only be done on a limited area called the Mopane Tongue. Moremi is made up of beautiful floodplain wetlands, water lily covered lagoons and vast stretches of mature Mopane forests.
The Reserve is home to Africa's Big Five, since Rhino have been reintroduced on Chief's Island. Africa's other Big Five - Lion, Leopard, Elephant and Buffalo are common, as are Impala and Lechwe. The best time to visit the park for game viewing is in the dry winter months (November to March), when the animals move towards the areas of permanent water in the Delta.
Moremi is best known for its thriving population of African Wild Dogs. These are beautiful animals with their coats a patchwork of different colours. They are also called Painted Hunting Dogs, but most people just say Wild Dogs. The Wild Dogs of Moremi have been the subjects of study since 1989 and their numbers are thriving as they dwindle in other parts of Africa.
Moremi Game Reserve is one of the few areas where self driving is really possible. Most of the Delta is inaccessible except by plane. You will need a 4x4 and driving in Botswana in the bush is not a doddle! If you are planning a self-driving trip you need to be well prepared. Your accommodation needs to be pre-booked and you will need your documentation.