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Everything You Need to Know about Moremi Game Reserve

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MOREMI GAME RESERVE

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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

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Situated in the central and eastern areas of the world-famous Okavango Delta of Botswana, is Moremi Game Reserve. Moremi covers 40% of the Okavango Delta and includes permanent dry land, such as Chief’s Island and the peninsula known as Mopane Tongue. As a result, areas of dry woodland and savannah lie next to the Delta’s iconic papyrus-fringed waterways, floodplains and lagoons. This makes for spectacular and diverse safaris.

Moremi Game Reserve is the first reserve in Africa to be established by local tribes people. The wildlife of the area was rapidly depleting due to uncontrolled hunting and cattle encroachment. The Batawana people felt they had to protect their land and in a bold move, proclaimed that area as a protected game reserve in 1963. It is the only officially protected area in the Okavango Delta. Because of this, it holds enormous scientific, environmental and conservation importance. Botswana’s eco-tourism policy means the lodges are low-impact – this makes Moremi an authentic and sustainable safari destination.

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Areas of Moremi

Chief’s Island

Chief’s Island is arguable Moremi’s most famous island. Once the royal hunting reserve of Chief Moremi, the chief of the local tribes, he gave it to supplement the Moremi Game Reserve in the 1970s. It is now one of the more game-rich areas. Chief’s Island is private which results in a more personalised, undisputed safari.

  

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Xakanaxa Lagoon 

Xakanaxa Lagoon lies in the heart of Moremi, at the top of Mopane Tongue. Mopane forests meet waterways and floodplains to create a beautiful backdrop to game viewing. The area is packed with game – leopard and cheetah are regularly seen. It is also home to exceptionally diverse birdlife – with herons, egrets and storks to harriers, buzzards and kites.

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Khwai River

A wide floodplain is lined by tall evergreen trees in Moremi’s Khwai River area. Khwai River has a fantastic diversity of predator and prey species. In recent years, it has been home to a pride of lions. Leopard sightings are consistently good. Wattled cranes, saddle-billed storks, and many species of bee-eaters and kingfishers are common.

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Third Bridge 

Third Bridge is just a short drive from Xakanaxa Lagoon. It stands on an island of large, open floodplains and plenty of thickets. It is popular for mobile safaris and lots of wildlife – this combination has made it well-known for up-close animal encounters.

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The Wildlife

The combination of dry land and waterways makes for excellent game viewing year-round. The Okavango Delta’s unique eco-system allows for a diversity of wildlife. This, coupled with effective protective measures, results in large densities of wildlife. Be it from a game drive vehicle, or a mokoro ride, the game viewing is superb.

The iconic Big Five, barring the rare rhino, are easily spotted. The usually elusive leopard is quite relaxed in Moremi. Sightings of the rare African wild dog are some of the best in Africa.

There are abundant sightings of elephants and hippos. You are also highly likely to spot giraffe, zebra, and wildebeest- sightings are common. Highlights include the otherwise rare red lechwe which has adapted to the swamps of the Okavango delta and can be seen wading through the water in big herds.

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The Birdlife  

The Okavango Delta is renowned as one of southern Africa’s top birding destinations. Moremi, as part of the Okavango Delta, falls into this category with over 400 species of bird. The guides tend to be enthusiastic birdwatchers, which helps with spotting unfamiliar birds in an unfamiliar area. The mokoro allows for fantastic birdwatching as the birds tend to let you come closer than usual.

Notable birds to look for include the rare slaty grey egret, the southern carmine bee-eater, the green-winged pytilia, the African skimmer and the African fish eagle.

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Weather 

Dry Season (April to October)

April & May

  • Mostly dry and sunny.
  • Hot days with temperatures up to 29°C/84°F.
  • Vegetation is still green.

July – August

  • Temperatures cool in the afternoons – reaching, on average, 26°C/79°F.
  • Early mornings are cool (8°C/46°F)

September & October 

  • The end of the dry season.
  • October is usually the hottest month – average afternoon temperature of 35°C/95°F.

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Wet Season (November to March)

November & December

  • Hot and mostly sunny with intermittent rainfall.
  • Early mornings are best – the average temperatures are around 19°C/65°F.

January & February

  • The wettest months.
  • Strong storms are frequent, especially in the afternoons.
  • Rainfall only lasts few hours.

March

  • Rain only every few days as the rainy season draws to a close.
  • Rain mostly in the form of thunderstorms.
  • Mornings are cooler – 18°C/64°F.

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Best Time to Visit

Best Time Wildlife Viewing

  • July to October during the dry months.

Best Time Birdwatching

  • Birdwatching is good year round.
  • The best viewing time is during the wet months (November to April) when the summer migrants arrive.
  • The best time to visit is April – many areas become inaccessible January to March, so many lodges are closed.

 

 

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Looking for more travel inspiration?

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