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Botswana Safari

Botswana's Moremi Game Reserve - Safari Information

Return to Map of Okavango Delta

Day liliesBotswana has a valuable wildlife resource which has long been recognized by the government. 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 Tsetse Fly
Historically 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.

Beginning in 2001 the Department of National Parks and Wildlife began a program of aerial spraying to control the numbers of tsetse flies in Moremi and the central Okavango Delta. This program has proved successful and the flies have all but disappeared from most of the safari destinations here. Studies are also being carried out to determine what effects this spraying has had on other plants and animals in the region.

The reserve 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.

Chief's Island
Chief's Island, 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, and 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.

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Water / Land Activity Table for Botswana camps:  Water/Land Botswana
Flying Times between Botswana camps:  Fly Times Botswana

For further information about Botswana, click More Botswana
For further information about the Okavango Delta, click More Okavango

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