20-35 years of age
Moremi had it all
We were a group with Naga Safaris and went for a few days to Moremi before hitting up some other places in Northern Botswana. With exception to baby animals, Moremi had it all (all the moms with babies were at Chobe where there was lots of water). We saw all animals we were to continue to see, while at Moremi. Before we even got to our campsite (which was just a clearing) we saw elephants right on the side of the road, springbok and a pride of lions within an arms reach. Our site had passing animals in the night and lots of great insects (entomology student).
Our group (chemist, physicist..) was pretty specific in our interests and we weren't let down at all. None of us were interested in birds upon arrival, but due to our guide's knowledge pointing out birds to us, we left with a new interest in them. Tons of up close encounters with birds on all drives.
Amazing even in winter
We are a family of travelers (as a family we've been to 29 countries on 5 continents together and our daughter is only 8!) and have seen much of the world but Moremi Game Reserve absolutely blew us away. We spent several days in the park during our trip to Africa for the FIFA World Cup and saw everything from bull elephants (one which walked right in front of our tent!), to hippos, to two male lions who put on quite the show for us. We had tracked them for about 45 minutes but when we finally found them we were able to just sit and soak in their presence for over an hour. We saw them two other times that day and discovered that lions are very lazy most of the time :) My daughter fell in love with the wandering flocks of guinea fowl while I was over the moon about getting to see several giraffes. We even had a hyena make a visit to our campsite. The animals were absolutely everywhere and there was always an opportunity to watch nature in action. In the evenings, when all the creatures were sleeping, the space geek in me was mesmerized by the amazing skywatching opportunities as it was crystal clear and, thanks to there being no ambient light for miles, you could see what seemed like a thousand times more stars that what you can see being in the suburbs of America. I felt like I could see whole galaxies at night. We loved the fact that even though the campsite was a game reserve designated one and cleared of brush it still felt like the bush and not like a campsite. Definitely spend the extra money to have a licensed guide take you into the reserve overnight as opposed to staying in the public campgrounds. It is so worth it.
Email gordonsheret60 | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Walking in Moremi Game reserve is one of Africa's most incredible and natural experiences
Getting out of the fabulous Oddballs Camp before the African sun rises is an essential part of any experience in Moremi Game Reserve. It allows you to be in the vast plains as dawn breaks and the colours begin to come to life, to hear the incredible sounds of bird chorus mixed with the lions roar and the hyenas laughter.
My guide (armed with only his bird book as guns are not encouraged in Moremi) took me for 9 days into the reserve on foot. I had no idea the difference between a walking safari and jeep safari. No motor or engine to clash with natures sounds, just your own footprints. We spent hours walking through long grasses, vast plains and dense forests. We came across so much wildlife, birdlife and insect life I came away with a completely different experience to anything I had enjoyed in the Serengeti, Namibia or South Africa. We seemed to spend most of our time watching the wildlife that's trying to move away from you or moving away from the wildlife that's definitely got its eye on you.
Standing still and staring at a growling lioness, running to the termite mound to avoid the water buffalo or mavourering past 3 bull elephants on foot is exhilarating and you never have this on a jeep. I don't know anywhere you see this outside Moremi.
Email Ian | 65+ years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Arriving at the gate we were warned that it was very wet in the reserve and that certain tracks were impassable, one of which was the track into the Khwai reserve that we were due to take a few days later. Undaunted we set off and although we did encounter some very large and deep puddles our initial impression was that the situation wasn't too bad.
The drive was fairly uneventful as far as animals were concerned, apart from a first ever sighting of a Lesser Spotted Eagle and the first Red Lechwe of the trip.
We were entertained for quite a while by a couple of Yellow-billed Storks expertly fishing and also by a Monitor Lizard basking in the late afternoon sun on a termite mound.
Our first full day in Moremi dawned dry and overcast after another night of rain and thunder. Little did we realize how quickly a significant sighting would be made and within 5 minutes of leaving camp we were parked and watching a male Leopard in a tree. We spent almost two hours watching him before he finally came down the tree and moved away.
We headed off to see what else was on offer, but very soon it became apparent that there was even more standing water after the overnight rain. This fact was later born out when we spotted a crocodile actually swimming in the flooded wheel tracks. OK, it was a young one, but even so, it’s not a very common sight. The day was mainly one of spotting and photographing birds, including a couple more to add to our all time list.
Our second full day in Moremi was much the same as our first, although the weather was drier and there was no early surprise Leopard sighting. A couple more new bird species, but perhaps the highlight was our first encounter with a Rock Monitor Lizard. We witnessed a rather serious disagreement in a Baboon troop as an alpha-male chased an interloper round and around a lake at speed until he had been seen off and found another tree.
The remainder of the day was again mainly bird photography, punctuated by Wildebeest, Impala, Giraffe, Red Lechwe, Kudu and Leopard sightings.
Probably the highlight was the Southern Carmine Bee-eaters. We had spotted them the day before, but this time it appeared we were disturbing potential food sources for them as we drove along. We were being accompanied by up to four birds flying alongside us, it really was a beautiful sight.
We finished the day with another visit to the Yellow-billed Storks fishing and then back to camp for dinner. What greeted us when we got there was one of the best sunsets we were to witness during the whole trip.
All that remained in Moremi was the following day’s game drive to the gate and then the transfer into Khwai. Three memorable sightings were in store for us between the camp and the gate, which strangely happened at the same location. We were watching a large group of Red Lechwe, the most we had seen all trip, as overhead was flying a majestic African Marsh Harrier. As we were concentrating on these, there was a commotion behind and to our right hand side and what was probably the largest pod of Hippos we have ever seen were running down a track to a new flooded area. Magical to watch.
Best in Botswana
Amazing sightings - Leopards, Lions, Wild Dogs, Elephants, Hippos, Crocs, Antelope, Birds etc etc etc.
On my trip to Botswana I visited the Okavango Delta, Chobe and Moremi. As much as the other places were great, Moremi was certainly the best for wildlife. Not only was there lots of variety, you could get close to the animals so its great for photography. I'd always wanted to see a leopard in a tree and a leopard with a kill and I got both of these in one day. Another day it was lions swimming across a river, another day was a pack of Wild Dogs running along the river banks. So much to see and so much beauty, I fully recommend visiting Moremi GR.
Lots more wildlife if you get out by sunrise and stay out til sunset...
Botswana Days - With Masson Safaris
It must have been somewhere close to dawn as there were few birds calling. But it was the slight stop and start presence of a wild animal moving slowly towards the tent that caught my attention. We were on single cots inside the tent and it was the unmistakable hesitancy of the step that told me it wasn’t human. Within a fraction of time it was next to my window outside the tent, I was guessing less than three-feet away. I could hear the soft breathing and smell the musty breath of a spotted hyena as it moved away.
No, this wasn’t the first night, but it was one of the many nights of camping in the wilds of Botswana. On the first day our flights arrived a little late, so we loaded up and hurried into Moremi Game Reserve, as rules dictated that we had to be in our camp by 6:30, about sunset time (aka – no driving anywhere in the park after dark).
The camps are in a semi-open area under large, mature trees. The six tents are lined up in a somewhat 17th-century British army-manner. We arrived just after dark and along with our bags I was walked over to number two.
We were warned that animals might wander through camp, as there are never any fences out here like you find at the lodges. And no weapons are allowed anywhere in the preserve. So with those
thoughts, I wondered what would happen if an elephant decided to walk through our tent-scape? That was quickly answered with an admonishment that elephants view tents as one of the large termite mounds and would occasionally use them for a good scratch. And on one of the nights I could hear one of these hefty, gray wrecking balls make its way through camp. Not quite a tea shop, but loud enough…
After a pretty good dinner and a couple of glasses of wine, I was ready for bed. The front flap opened up about thirty feet from one of the hundreds of channels that made up the Okavango River delta. And with that water came hippos. During parts of the night when I laid awake to listen, I could hear them chortle and grunt at one another as challenges and other forms of small talk were exchanged. I was aware that hippos accounted for far more deaths than any of the other large animals in Africa and just figured what will be, will be…
Two other sounds invaded the six nights of camping in Moremi: Lion and hyena talk. My first three nights were filled with lions communicating across the vastness of grass and water. Sounds of the night swept across the African savannah were reassuring (and sometimes wonderment) that the animal world was alive and kicking.
The male lion roars as a challenge and as a communication with the pride, and those roars are usually followed by two or three soft grunts. The lioness’ roar never has those grunts, so for the most part, you knew what gender was calling. And they always seemed to be a distance from camp, very reassuring, that was until night three…
The male stared roaring a little after midnight, mostly to what sounded like a very distant female. The only problem was, he wasn’t very distant, maybe less than two hundred yards away. They went on for a while and it sure made that single cot seem like a very small, vulnerable world. At this point I was definitely aware that given just my hands and my wit, I was not even in the top three of the food chain here…
Three highlights to speak of during my time at Moremi that you will most likely find interesting: Two involving predators and the other with grazers.
We saw a small number of kills out there. And unlike our U.S. obsession with saving every animal, wilderness really is a predator eat prey world. I am sure if everyone left the safety of their home and were put in a more vulnerable situation, it would really shake our anthropogenic compassion. Especially when you see an animal taken down for a meal without feeling a sense of discouragement at what is the process of natural selection.\\\
Probably the most efficient predators are the African wild dogs (African painted dogs). Pack hunters that use pure physical agility and cunning to take down their prey. Lions and leopards will struggle to effectively suffocate their prey by grabbing their throat and holding on until the animal stops breathing. And sometimes this effective, but not necessarily efficient way of killing can take tens of minutes.
We encountered two different packs, and it was the pack on our last evening in Moremi that showed us their skills. We caught up with them along the edge of the Khwai River as the glowing, blood red sun was getting ready to set. They were looking for their final chance to hunt before the sun would set. They were ambling along in a very alert fashion looking at the game that was spread further out in the short grasses of the river. Red lechwe, impala, African buffalo and elephant were feeding, but it was the herds of impala
that were their primary prey...
As they loped along, they half-heartedly chased a flock of helmeted guinea fowl, scattering them to the forest. Finally after twenty minutes, we saw them all melt into the trees. We could see them back there and we could see that they were staring at a herd of impala. The impala had seen/scented them walking along the banks and were alert, but had not left the area they had been grazing. That was a mistake!
Without any visible sense of communication, we watched as one dog slinked out of the forest, crouching low and with its big ears laid flat, it was slowly and deliberately moving towards the impala. You could feel the both the dog’s and the impala’s tension as the distance closed. And then this lead dog broke into a dead run at the impala. All of us commented on the fact that the dog seemed like it could have easily outrun a greyhound given how fast it was moving.
Two dogs went after one impala, and that eventually ended up with the healthy, older impala out-distancing the dogs. But the other dogs made the decision to try and take down a yearling buck in their classic fashion, and they were successful.
The second lead dog took off after the impala and slowly pushed it away from the herd. The impala is an agile and very fast runner, and has a habit of kicking its hind legs out as it jumps. This effectively is a final effort to punish any predator that gets too close. But what the dogs do is hunt as an efficient killing pack. And after the turning the yearling away from the herd, the remaining dogs are spread out in a fan shape in the direction the impala has been chased. The lead dog tires, and then the next dog takes on the chase with a fresh set of legs. This goes on until the last three or four dogs of the pack finish the hunt and make the kill. The impala is tired after being chased by the six or seven dogs of the twelve-member pack, and then the remaining animals effectively do a dog-pile, with each grabbing a flank or leg and all the while pulling the animal down. Even though we did not see the final fifteen seconds of the chase (kill), by the time we got around the bend in the river, the impala was dead and already being eaten.
Feeding dogs are voracious, just ripping chunks of meat and bone off of the impala. Within fifteen minutes there is no meat and very few bones left. But now the dogs have taken an interest in a twelve-foot crocodile that smelled blood and was out of the water and heading in their direction. While most of the dogs were barking and growling at the front end, one of the dogs went around and nipped the croc’s tail. That was enough for the croc and it headed back to the water. And given that it was almost dark, we needed to head back to camp…
Our morning drives always started at 0630, about fifteen minutes before sunrise. And it seemed even with the few lodges in the area we were always the first out wandering the savannah and watching wildlife. Last night, just before dusk, we found a lioness with three year-old cubs – one female and two males. They were feeding on an elephant that had died of old age or some unknown malady on the banks of the Khwai River. It smelled to be three-to-four days dead and was just starting to fill the air.
So here we were parked thirty feet from two of the lions while the other two battled vultures and crocodiles for control of the carcass. Really no battle with the crocs as they were averaging 12-14’ and that meant if you went in the water you would end up in the same condition as the elephant. The lions knew this and fed on the top
and backside of the meal, while the crocs went in from the belly and fed on the front of the elephant from inside.
The back haunches of the elephant had already been consumed by the lions, so from our view, we could see through the back and through the eviscerated rib-cage. This gave us a portal to watch the crocs wrestle chunks of flesh from the carcass, back out and then point their snouts in the air and let gravity force-feed them. Between the lions and the crocs, the carcass was disappearing at an alarming rate! And all the lone spotted hyena on the opposite side of the river could do was watch. Way too many crocs…
The lions didn’t make the kill, but they controlled the land-based portion of it. One of the young maned males really didn’t even want the White-backed Vultures to land on the carcass. But as soon as he turned his back and started walking back to his siblings, the vultures would start feeding. Then the lion would glance over his shoulder, see the vultures and charge the vultures. Everything would scatter, and then the scenario would replay itself. Out of exasperation the lion jumped on top of the carcass and pronounced himself king-of-the-elephant! Not a bad way to let the vultures and everything else to stay away - well except the crocs…
Seeing the immensity of the carcass one day and then almost nothing but bones and semi-dried skin three days later reminded me that life was playing out all over the world in a similar fashion...
Leopards would pay us no mind as they lounged on mostly horizontal branches catching any breeze that just might come their way. African painted dogs ignored us with an indifference that almost made me think of arrogance. But really, they just didn’t seem to care one way or another. Smaller predators like jackals just went about their foraging or scavenging routines with only a quick, sideways at us. In a sense it was like the Galapagos or the Antarctic, just that we were in vehicles and not on foot (that was definitely a good thing…). All of this made for great photo opportunities and outstanding wildlife viewing...
I had expressions and fantasies of what Africa would look like and smell like, essentially make it would make me feel. One of those thoughts was to see huge herds of different grazing ungulates migrating from area to another. I knew Botswana would not be the place to have that experience, but still it was in the forefront on my Africa expectations.
So right after morning tea, we rounded a bend in one of the delta’s tributaries and came upon one of these long, languid pools filled with the periscope eyes and ears of large groups of hippos. Jacanas and other birds picked through the floating vegetation as the hippos would submerge while blowing bubbles and then resurface and twirl their ears to rid them of water.
We watched the hippos, but also noticed up at the head of the pool that some African buffalo were peeking around the corner of the trees. And then it started, just a few animals at the beginning, but then a steady stream. They started walking down the opposite bank about four to five animals wide. Red lechwe and other grazers joined the movement, as the buffalo just kept moving past us. Lots of cows, some with young and various aged males all mixed together. Thirty-five minutes later Mr. Fish estimated that we had probably just seen the largest herd of African buffalo in the entire Okavango Delta. There were ~4500 of them, and that didn’t include the other grazers. Really a treat and something I really didn’t think I would get to experience this…
The Central Kalahari -
No one drinks in the Kalahari winter, well most don’t. Except for man-made water holes and a few natural springs, most of the residents survive on derived moisture from their food.
We encountered bat-eared foxes on the surface of their dens during the late afternoon, when temperatures had cooled to the low eighties. At sunset we watched as one pair marched across the desert floor with their ears flattened and facing down. This Yoda-like appearance is how they forage. Their ears facing the ground listening for the slightest sound from any movement below. Maybe an insect, maybe a barking gecko, any sound is quickly investigated, dug up and consumed. I just thought that they had a lithe, little body under all that fur, especially after seeing at least a half-dozen burrows that were really no bigger than a softball. So it wouldn’t take much to fill that belly, but whatever was consumed was juicy enough to supply the fox with its daily moisture needs.
Grazers such at the springbok and oryx do well by grazing at night and in the early morning when grasses hold about 20-25% more moisture than during the heat of the day. And it is this moisture that sustains them through the dry winter months.
Most desert rodents around the world, and here in the Kalahari, survive on seeds. I am always amazed at the fecundity of the different species even in the most arid environments even though I don’t readily see them. But I do know that really the only sounds at night here in our camp were those of rodents rustling about in the leaves outside the tent, so they (and there are lots of them…) are here. A much quieter and different campsite than the more mesic environments of where we camped in the Moremi Game Reserve and the Okavango Delta...
The one other thing I will always carry as a memory is that so much of the drier landscapes that had some alkali component, always excited my sense of smell. Very reminiscent of those cold mornings in the Carrizo Plains of San Luis Obispo County when the dried grass mixed with the pungency of Soda Lake…
The quietness of the night and the lack of any truly big trees brought me back home to the Central Coast. There we have wide-open skies filled with stars and the Milky Way on most nights. And here in the Kalahari it was my first night to see the southern skies and the Milky Way. It also allowed all of us to see the Southern Cross, that low, kite-shaped constellation that was barely above the horizon for just two hours. When the Cross settled below the skyline, it was almost time for the tent. We had always had those early AM wake –up calls “Morning, morning…” which would give us about forty minutes for dressing, coffee and breakfast. Some mornings it was easy and some not as easy, but the one standard we could count on was there would be some new awe-inspiring animal, bird or interaction we would experience and were the first group out in the wilds So we were always ready as Mr. Fish would say “Let’s rock ‘n roll…”
© Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith
This is Africa!
i've visited Moremi National Park in 2009 and it was one of the most excited trips i've ever done in Africa. Animals all over the place, we saw a group of lions eating a buffalo, many elefants, hippos and more.. But the special thing about Moremi National Park isn't just about animals, but the way you can do your Safari there. There are many small roads, you have to be careful to find the right way, just this is a big adventure. It fells like you are just in wilderness, not really in a park like Kruger National Park. Also Camping in Moremi is amazing, because of animals around you in night. So all in all it is a real park in its real nature and it's definitly one of the nicest parts of southern africa!
Email Chris | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Email Pavel U | 50-65 years of age
Very good accomodation,excelent service,good game viewing. However little of that "Okavango" feeling
Very good landing strip and transport to the camp. The weather in April 2011 was warm to hot (what one would expect), some rain around but not over us. Charming cottages not fenced off from the reserve - one can even "get in touch" with the night-wandering hippos (not advisable though). Very good food and service (almost too attentive – but this over-attentiveness was experienced in all other camps, too). Wildlife viewing good.
However, in my opinion, one cannot experience the serenity of Okavango from a motor boat thundering through the channels of the Okavango Delta or from a 4-wheel drive, which are the only activities this camp offers. This camp does not offer excursions by a makoro (a dugout is for my part the main attraction of Okavango and I consider it a must). One can book a game drive in any game reserve in southern Africa – however the tranquillity of gliding silently low over the water surface through the reed, walks on the islands feeling the bush and peacefulness of this place is a must, which this destination unfortunatelly does not offer to its visitors.
20-35 years of age
amazing wildlife experience and everything I imagined a safari would be like
Accommodations - I went through Desert and Delta and really liked all their accommodations and their staff. Everyone was incredibly knowledgeable and friendly at Moremi, out of all the lodges, their staff were the most welcoming and my friends and I had such a good time with them. The food was amazing and they even made a separate dish for my friend who doesn't eat red meat. The tents are very clean and well-maintained and the bathrooms were really nice too. It was funny having a full bathroom in the middle of the wild but I definitely appreciated it.
Weather - it got really cold at night and was cold when we were out on the safari. Definitely bring layers and ask for a hot water bottle for the morning ride! It made a difference.
Scenery and Wildlife - Moremi was by the far my favorite out of the three preserves we visited. We would rarely come across another truck unless there was some really rare wildlife that was hard to spot (ie. a leopardess hunting, a pride of lions, etc). We were incredibly lucky and got to watch a pack of Wild African Dogs hunt and take down an impala, a leopardess stalk and hunt, and a pride of lions who were lounging around after a kill. We also saw zebras, other antelopes, giraffes, elephants, hippos, ox, warthogs, and a lot of rodent type of creatures, plus a lot of birds.
I would definitely love to go back someday!
Safari Tours to Moremi GR
5-Day The Okavango Delta & Moremi Explorer
$1,725 pp (USD)
Botswana: Private tourBudgetCamping
You Visit: Maun (Start), Okavango Delta, Moremi GR (Okavango Delta), Maun (End)
Moonstroll Vantage Expeditions
4.9/5 – 19 Reviews
7-Day Makgadikgadi Pans & Okavango Delta Safari
$3,625 to $5,915 pp (USD)
Botswana: Private tourLuxuryLodge & Tented Bush Camp
You Visit: Maun (Start), Makgadikgadi Pans NP, Moremi GR (Okavango Delta), Okavango Delta, Maun Airport (End)
5.0/5 – 127 Reviews
7-Day The Best of Botswana
$1,820 to $1,925 pp (USD)
Botswana: Private tourBudgetCamping
You Visit: Maun (Start), Okavango Delta, Moremi GR (Okavango Delta), Khwai (Okavango Delta), Maun (End)
Walking Stick Travel & Tours
5.0/5 – 47 Reviews