Moremi falls within the tribal land of the Batswana and is named after the late Chief Moremi III. It was clear to his wife, who reigned after his death, that the game in their traditional hunting grounds was fast disappearing. With encouragement from conservationists, Mrs Moremi proclaimed the Moremi Game Reserve in March 1963 and the tribe agreed to vacate the land.
Chief’s Island is the largest landmass within Moremi and was the Batswana tribe’s richest hunting grounds with a vast array of animals. The dry sandy interior of this 100,000 hectare (1,000 square kilometer) island is full of mopane woodland and acacia thornscrub interspersed with clay pans.
The Delta is fed by the Okavango River originating over 800 miles (1,280 km) away in the highlands of Angola. The Angolan highlands have an average rainfall of between 1,200 and 2,000mm per year, compared to around 400-600mm in the Okavango.
The delta therefore fluctuates in size depending on local rains and the Angolan floodwaters.
The spill over from the rising river starts pushing gently into the Okavango in January and reaches a peak at the top of the Okavango in about May.
By June or July each year (depending where you are within the Okavango), the water levels are at their maximum. The lure of the Okavango and its extraordinary range of habitats provide the perfect environment for African animals to thrive and people to watch them.
As Moremi Game Reserve contains large areas of constant water, game viewing during the dry season is particularly good as animals are drawn to the permanent water sources.
There are no fences between Moremi and the private reserves so the entire Okavango merges into a unified animal kingdom of grand proportions.
Each area has its own particular habitats, resident herds and familiar predators, and night drives in the private reserves, (also soon to be permitted in Moremi), often reveal secretive animals like porcupine, pangolin, aardwolf and genet.
Wet Season: November to March is the hot rainy season and the roads can be quite bad. The advantage of this time of year is that most of the animals give birth, providing a wonderful game watching experience. The landscape is lush and green and there is an abundance of wild flowers.
Dry season: April to October is the dry season and the drier it becomes the easier it is to spot animals close to permanent water holes. At this time much of the Okavango dries out, apart from permanent rivers in Moremi Game Reserve and the northern reaches of the Okavango. The heat starts to build in earnest from October onwards.