Expert Reviews – Moremi GR
Anthony is a photographer and writer for travel magazines and Lonely Planet, including the guides to Kenya and Botswana & Namibia.
12 people found this review helpful.
The Okavango’s Park
Moremi Game Reserve is the delta’s most accessible corner and one of the most rewarding wildlife areas in Africa. It’s possible to see the Big Five here, although the recently reintroduced rhino is present only in small numbers and very rarely sighted. Lion, leopard, buffalo and elephant sightings are common, especially in the dry season from May to October. Much of the reserve fronts onto the lagoons of the southern Okavango, making for fabulous birdwatching and good sightings of hippos and crocodiles. Elsewhere you’ll find giraffe and some unusual antelope species such as the red lechwe. African wild dog is also a possibility. The heart of the park – Mboma Island (I find this one of the delta’s best spots for seeing cheetah), Third Bridge and Xakanaxa – is where the savannah meets the delta and the scenery has the best of both. More exclusive, Chief’s Island ranks among the elite of African wildlife-watching destinations with secluded upmarket lodges to match.
Mike is an award winning wildlife writer, editor of Travel Zambia magazine and author of the Bradt Guide to Southern African Wildlife.
8 people found this review helpful.
Moremi is the heart of the Okavango, encompassing Chief’s Island, Khwai riverfront and other legendary wildlife hotspots an merging seamlessly with Chobe to the north. Its tapestry of ecosystems – from flooded wetlands to fan palm islands and mopane woodland – means outstanding game viewing, including large game herds, abundant predators and local specialities such as red lechwe. On my two visits, both done on a budget basis, I enjoyed superb encounters with wild dogs – including one pack of more than 30 – and encountered such unusual species as roan antelope and cape clawless otter, in addition to most of the usual big game. Indeed the reintroduction of both rhino species to western regions means that Moremi can now call itself a ‘Big Five destination’.
The choice of places to stay spans exclusive fly-in lodges, such as the world-famous Mombo, and government campsites that comprise little more than a clearing beneath a sign nailed to a tree. As with anywhere in Botswana, however, high park entry fees mean that there is no truly cheap option, even if you’re roughing it. You can view wildlife on game drives or (from some lodges) on foot, but don’t pass up the chance of a dugout mokoro trip – an Okavango speciality – which allows an intimate exploration of the reed-fringed labyrinth of waterways. Game of all kinds passes through public campsites, making for exciting evenings around the fire. The wildlife is highly seasonal, so take good advice when booking your trip. Birding is exceptional, in terms of both number and variety, and especially during the rainy season.
Brian is an award winning travel writer, author of safari books and regular contributor to magazines such as BBC Wildlife and Travel Africa.
8 people found this review helpful.
Where the Lion Roars
In the heart of the Moremi is a campsite called Bodumatau – “Where the Lion Roars”. With its whispering reed beds, its glittering waters and sandy forest floors, it sums up the essence of the Okavango, a miraculous oasis of woodlands, floodplains and winding channels crying out to be explored, either on game drives in open 4WD vehicles or drifting soundlessly through the water lilies in a mokoro – the traditional Okavango dugout canoe.
It was the local BaTawana people that created the reserve in 1962 to protect its teeming wildlife, and at the heart of the area they chose lies Chief’s Island, formerly the royal hunting grounds of Chief Moremi. Much of the island is bone dry, covered with beautiful glades of mopane woodland; but on all sides lie a labyrinth of rivers, lagoons and floodplains heaving with big game, and it is here that you’ll find some of Botswana’s most famous safari camps: Mombo, Vumbura, Duba Plains and Eagle Island to name but a few. Perhaps the best time to come is in the middle of the year – in the dry season months of the African winter. Paradoxically, this is the time when the Okavango floodwaters peak and game viewing is at its best.
Emma is an award-winning travel writer for Rough Guides, National Geographic Traveller, Travel Africa magazine and The Independent.
7 people found this review helpful.
Quintessential safaris on the edge of the Delta
Lying along the northeastern edge of the Okavango Delta, this reserve offers visitors a taste of Botswana’s magical floodlands during July and August, and the chance to take part in superb land-based activities at other times. I love that fact that it feels thoroughly exclusive, especially in the quiet months of April, May, October and November, and there’s loads to do, from game drives and horseback rides to close encounters with elephants. There’s a great deal of wildlife to be seen before, during and after the flood season, and exceptional birding during the rainy season (December to April). All the Big Five are here, including the elusive leopard; if you’re lucky, you may also see wild dogs.
Moremi has as wide a choice of places to stay as the Delta itself, from delightful boutique lodges to rustic tented camps. Prices vary widely according to the degree of luxury on offer, but the quality of the wildlife-watching is always superb, however humble or lavish your accommodation.
James is a travel writer and author of many Lonely Planet guides, including senior author of the guide to South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.
6 people found this review helpful.
Unbeatable Wildlife Watching
I may be biased, because I visited Moremi on honeymoon (on an expedition with Bush Ways Safaris), but this reserve is my favourite safari destination. Everything about it screams Africa: the stellar cast of wildlife, from stars such as leopards in trees, to character actors like warthogs and giraffes; the classic bush landscape, dotted with swamps, savanna and rickety log bridges over the waters of the Okavango Delta; and the wilderness camping, with glinting eyes in the velvety darkness and lions' roars in the dead of night. (We soon realised that it was sage advice to not drink too many beers around the campfire, thus avoiding risky nocturnal toilet visits.) A few days in Moremi promise a breathtaking experience of the Big Five and a whole lot more, in an environment that couldn’t be wilder.
Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.
6 people found this review helpful.
The Predator Capital of Southern Africa
Moremi encompasses much of the eastern side of the Okavango Delta with the protected area safeguarding both permanent swamp and seasonal floodplains. It is an incredibly picturesque reserve of wooded islands, palm trees, wide-open grasslands, fresh-water lagoons and huge shallow – and often seasonal – watery expanses.
World-renowned Chief’s Island lies at the centre of this prolific wildlife wonderland with some of the best predator-viewing in all of Africa. On one memorable visit to Chief’s Camp, I spotted three leopards just on the short walk from the dining area to my luxurious safari tent! With lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and clans of hyena all in residence, this place is quite literally crawling with wildlife – especially carnivores.
The safari lodges here are not cheap, but you get what you pay for: a chance to explore an unspoilt and wildlife-rich watery wilderness where tourism impact is strictly controlled and crowds do not exist. Moremi deserves to feature near the top of every safari goers ‘must see’ bucket list of African safari destinations.
Sue is an award-winning writer who specializes in African travel and conservation. She writes for national newspapers, magazines, Rough Guides and Lonely Planet.
3 people found this review helpful.
A hard act to follow…
Justifiably Botswana’s premier attraction, the Okavango Delta is a safari experience like no other. In the wet season, the delta stretches out into swampy corridors spreading between small islands and edged by tall reeds and papyrus, and a trip along these tranquil waters in a traditional mokoro (a wooden dug-out canoe) is a must. You won’t see much wildlife from this perspective other than hippos and crocs, but you will see myriad birdlife from giant African fish-eagles to brilliantly colourful lilac-breasted rollers.
There is plenty of wildlife here, including the Big 5, but it’s difficult to spot in the wet season unless you go to Moremi, where I saw my first lion, lying on a mound yawning and posing for the camera, waiting lazily for his lioness to bring back the supper. We then spotted her nearby, with two cubs, happily devouring what was once a warthog. This was our first safari in Africa, everything we saw fascinated us and it became the benchmark for all subsequent safaris - a hard act to follow. Xakanaxa Lediba, in particular, is a beautiful setting for sundowners, with almost neon green grasses, bright blue lagoons and skies that look like they’re on fire as the sun sets.
Christopher is a British travel writer and has contributed to various Fodor's guidebooks and a range of travel magazines.
2 people found this review helpful.
Where the Delta thins and the big game thickens
When I think back to my experiences of Moremi, I think of beautiful lush wetlands, enormous buffalo herds, wild dogs galore and stellar African sunsets. But this is only a small fraction of what’s on offer at this vibrant and unspoilt reserve on the northeast edge of the Okavango Delta.
The Big 5 are all here, with a number of both black and white rhinos having been successfully rehabilitated to complete the full set. On my only visit to the reserve, we had relative difficulty spotting the big cats, though by the end of our stay we’d still managed to tick off leopard and lion.
The rich array ecosystems make this reserve an absolute winner for scenic beauty, with islands of papyrus reeds, wetlands and floodplains, tall palms and dense woodlands that can be explored either on game drives (you can self-drive here) or, even better, from a traditional mokoro dugout canoe.
Many of the lodges and accommodations are on the edge of the water and I’ll always love falling asleep to the strangely soothing sounds of hippos.
Mark is a travel writer who grew up in Africa and has written over 700 titles for CNN Traveller, Travel Africa, BBC Wildlife and others.
2 people found this review helpful.
Best access point to Botswana's great wetland wilderness
Moremi Game Reserve is famous as the most accessible spot from which to experience the Okavango Delta. It is also known for its local lions, which apparently, are regular visitors around the campsites. Night driving here is possible and - as long as you are not too intrusive with your high-powered spotlights - you can get some unusual sightings that are rarely seen in other places. In hundreds of safaris in more than 80 African reserves Moremi remains the only place where I have ever seen serval and genet. The most famous spot in Moremi is probably Chief's Island but since I was driving in from Selinda (amazing cat country in itself - and the place where I watched a leopard prowl around my car for more than 40 minutes!) I only made it to Moremi Camp. Hope to get back sometime soon!
Alan is a travel writer and author of over 20 Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Southern Africa and Zambia & Malawi.
A chance to see wild dogs
This beautiful park can be quite busy with self-drivers, campers, mobile safaris and a large number of lodges. But it feels like there is room for everyone, and the Big Five can often be seen. My absolute highlight was a wonderful sighting of a pack of wild dogs. About 35 or 40 dogs with their pups. Adorable! They melted into the bush as quickly as they appeared; wild dogs have made a real comeback in this area of the delta. The other memorable moment was two male lions wandering into camp, one up onto the decking where most people were sitting around a fire after dinner. Panic sent people scrambling but the guides handled it very professionally, ‘shooing’ these big, curious cats away! Antelope sightings included red lechwe, waterbuck, kudu, and there were also plenty of wilderbeest, zebra and some beautiful birds including carmine bee-eaters and lilac breasted rollers. And secretary birds could be seen scouring the landscape for snacks. Elephants were common, and leopard sightings not unusual. I stayed at Okuti Lodge with its raised boardwalks. It was very friendly, and had experienced and enthusiastic guides.
Harriet is a zoologist with more than 20 years’ experience. She has the privilege of working with the world’s top wildlife photographers and photo-guides.
Moremi Game Reserve occupies the eastern side of the Okavango Delta. It is a stunningly beautiful mix of seasonal floodplains, swamps, palm trees, grasslands and open water. Moremi is home to the Big 5 – although you’d be very lucky indeed to see a rhino. However, it is “predator central” – renowned for its lion, leopard and wild dog sightings. I will never forget seeing three male lions walking through the long grass at dawn, their breath condensing in the mist as they roared, rattling my ribs. Moremi is also a great place to see the lechwe antelope, often seen leaping through the marshes – a photographer’s delight.
There are a variety of up market lodges, with great reputations for top notch guides. I also love visiting Moremi on a mobile safari. Here you camp on your own, just with your guide. No fences, no electricity – Botswana at its wildest.
Kim is a travel writer who authored and updated over 15 guidebooks, including Lonely Planet's South Africa and Bradt's Tanzania guides.
Small in size, big on heart
What it lacks in size, Moremi more than makes up for with its spectacular density and diversity of wildlife. Covering just under 5,000 square kilometres, the park hosts lion, cheetah, rhino, buffalo, elephant, wild dog and all manner of antelope as well as more than 500 bird species. We’d barely begun our first game drive when we were greeted by one of the iconic safari wish-list sights – a leopard lazing languidly in the crook of a tree. Tick. Then after we begrudgingly allowed our driver to draw the vehicle away, we just as quickly stumbled across a pride of lions feasting on a fresh kill. Tick. Tick! Game viewing here is renowned for being excellent year-round, though is at its best in the drier months between June and September. But be warned, the roads in and around the park are sandy and dotted with large potholes, so be prepared for a long, bumpy and dusty ride.