The Moremi Game Reserve was established in 1963, a unique project in being the first wildlife sanctuary created by an African tribe, the BaTawana, alongside the Government and local community. The establishment of the reserve was a forward thinking plan created to preserve and protect the wildlife’s habitat that was being eroded since colonial development.
The original Moremi Game Reserve formed a triangle between the Khwai and Mogogelo Rivers and excluded Chief’s Island, which was the Chief Moremi’s hereditary hunting ground. In later years the tribe elected to include Chief’s Island and eventually extend through to the Jao River to create a protected haven for wildlife of over 4800 square kilometres. The prior inhabitants in the area (the River Bushmen) were moved to the perifphery of the reserve, establishing Khwai village near the North Gate exit of the park.
The vegetation is varied, with the dry land supporting predominantly Mopane in addition to riverine woodland, floodplain grassland and marginal woodland on the edges of the floodplains. The dryland is complemented by permanent and seasonal swamplands with more lush island vegetation, lagoon networks and water channels. The well known areas of Moremi are Xakanaxa, Third Bridge, Bodumatau and Khwai and there is a network of game drive routes through the park as well as access to the permanent delta waterways from Xakanaxa and Mboma where boating can be enjoyed.
As with the rest of the delta, access to the reserve is limited to control the impact of people on the environment. There are several lodges in the Xakanaxa area, namely Camp Moremi a comfortable and well priced lodge; Xakanaxa Camp with it’s truly lovely safari style and the newly rebuilt and great value Okuti ; as well as government run campsites and private mobile operator sites. Camping illegally, driving off road, leaving vehicles (and walking) as well as driving after sunset is not permitted. These regulations are in place to allow access to the park without destroying the natural patterns of the wildlife and are to be respected at all times in order for the area to remain the wildlife haven that it is.
To the north of Moremi is the Khwai area, managed by the community through the Khwai Development Trust. The management of the area has had some teething problems, with some overbooking and lack of maintenance, however the latest management plan currently being implemented is progressive and constructive with limited access to the public, including a bypass that redirects traffic away from the Khwai River on the route up to Savute in order to protect the wildlife of the area. There is currently one luxury lodge in Khwai, Khwai River Lodge, and several private campsites for use by Botswana Tour Operators. Plans are underway for a public campsite from which people will not have access for self drive game drives in the area but instead use the services of the community for game drives, thus encouraging community employment as well as offering visitors an experienced guide to provide a deeper understanding and insight in the area and wildlife.
View the Lodges in the Moremi Game Reserve area>>