Moremi Game Reserve
Moremi Game Reserve is situated at the heart of the Okavango Delta, Botswana and was the first wildlife area to be set aside by tribal people rather than colonial powers. In 1963 the Batawana Tribal Administration approved setting up a reserve in the area of Khwai and Mogohelo. The reserve was subsequently named Moremi Wildlife Reserve after Chief Letsholathebe Moremi. Although the delta is a Ramsar site the Moremi is the only statutorily protected part of the Okavango Delta, it is surrounded by a buffer zone which is carefully controlled in terms of wildlife management. The reserve itself is unfenced, allowing free movement of animals within the Delta according to seasonal migrations. Moremi extends east and northwards as far as Chobe National Park, ensuring a continuous area of protected land all the way to Kasane. Chief’s Island is the largest island; 100km long by 15km wide, it was most likely created by tectonic movements.
Moremi Game Reserve supports the most diverse habitat and animal populations in Botswana. Resident species include wild dog, cheetah, leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo, hippo, giraffe, hyena, zebra, kudu, lechwe, sable and roan antelope.
The Okavango Delta is the only inland delta of its kind and a unique oasis of life in the centre of the arid Kalahari Desert in Botswana. The 16,000 km² delta owes its existence to rainfall in the Angolan highlands. The rainy season begins in November, and the floodwater begins its 250 kilometre journey downstream. Because of the gentle slope of the delta basin, the floods take around six months to make their way from Angola.
The Okavango Delta consists of channels, tributaries and lagoons as well as floodplains, islands and mainland areas. There are two distinct areas of the Delta: the vegetation of the permanent swamp includes groves of wild date palm, swathes of papyrus, islands fringed with forest and lagoons covered with floating water lilies while the seasonal swamp consists of open floodplains which support tall and elegant real fan palms, sausage trees, fig trees and a variety of scrub vegetation.
The Linyanti River forms the Northern border of Botswana with Namibia. The entire frontage comprises Wildlife Management Areas, and includes a small portion of the Chobe National Park. The Chobe Park and the Linyanti WMAs are renowned wildlife areas and are home to what is probably the highest density of elephants in Africa. Chobe Park alone is estimated to host over 50,000 of these great pachyderms.
Situated on the eastern reaches of the Linyanti river, the secluded Linyanti reserve comprises a 20 km section of river frontage reminiscent of the Okavango Deltaʼs permanent swamp with reed fringed lagoons, small islands and a fringe of towering riverine trees. This is backed by Mopane and Acacia sandveld that hosts elephant, kudu, impala and bushbuck as well as occasional roan and sable antelope.
Lion, leopard, wild dogs, hyena and all the smaller predators also occur. Herds of buffalo, zebra and sometimes eland migrate into the Reserve in the late winter to spring dry season from the far south of the Chobe National Park, seeking the cool permanent water and lush marsh vegetation of the river.