has a valuable wildlife resource which has long been recognized by the
In 1956, at a time when the country's cattle industry began expanding
and the first veterinary cordon fences were being erected, a government
department was formed to administer wildlife conservation. At the same
time, uncontrolled hunting had depleted the region's wildlife resources
and the need for a formally protected area within the Delta was beginning
to be recognized.
In 1963 the
wife of the late Batawana chief, Moremi III, declared the Moremi Game
Reserve in his honor; it was the first wildlife sanctuary in southern
Africa to be set aside, voluntarily, by an African community on their
own land. Initially a much smaller size than today, it was later enlarged
by the addition of Chief's Island in the 1970's, and then again with a
further area to the northwest of the island in 1991. Today the reserve
covers nearly 5,000 square kilometres and effectively protects large tracts
of each landscape component of the Delta's ecosystem.
the reserve has supported little human habitation because of the widespread
presence of the tsetse fly in and around the Delta. Although people and
their cattle moved into the area when the rinderpest epidemic of 1894
caused a decline in tsetse fly numbers, they were soon driven out again
when the fly began to re-establish itself. Within 50 years, this tiny
but devastating creature had reclaimed most of its original territory.
in 2001 the Department of National Parks and Wildlife began a program
of aerial spraying to control the numbers of tsetse flies in Moremi
the central Okavango Delta. This program has proved successful and the
flies have all but disappeared from most of the safari destinations
Studies are also being carried out to determine what effects this spraying
has had on other plants and animals in the region.
is not fenced; rather it is surrounded by a buffer zone of wildlife management
areas and private concessions that offer photographic safaris. Wildlife
is free to move between these areas and the Moremi as well as up and into
the Chobe National Park to the northeast. However, the distant presence
of veterinary fences (also called buffalo fences - to prevent intermingling
of domestic cattle and wild animals) everywhere except in the east prevents
large-scale migrations from the southern Kalahari regions.
flanked by the Boro and Santantadibe rivers, is separated from dryland
Moremi by permanent floodplains. Roughly 1,000 square kilometers in size,
it is the largest expanse of solid ground within the Okavango Delta,
it is thought to have bee formed by tectonic uplift. The island was originally
the principal hunting ground of Chief Moremi, but it is now part of the
game reserve that bears his name.
Return to Map
of Okavango Delta
/ Land Activity Table for Botswana camps: Water/Land
Times between Botswana camps: Fly
For further information about Botswana, click More
For further information about the Okavango Delta, click More