After enjoying the hustle and bustle of Botswana’s frontier town Maun, head north for 40km on good tar road to Shorobe. Thereafter the tar gives way to good gravel for another 25km, where you need to turn left towards South Gate, another 30km away. All up it should take you one and a half hours, maybe two, allowing for time to deflate your tires. This last stretch is already in a game area, where you can expect to see just about all the wildlife you will encounter in Moremi itself, because there are no fences around Moremi. We saw plenty of impala and a large herd of elephants.
At South Camp you need to present your permits, and then you have a choice of either staying at the beautifully treed campsite or making your way to Third Bridge or Xakanaka. In the past, South Gate was not considered a wildlife destination, but with the opening of the Black Pools area in 2013 all that changed. It is pristine bush and one can easily spend two or three nights here, exploring the Black Pools and Xini Lagoon circuits. You can even venture further and undertake full day trips to Bodumatau (70km round trip) or Third Bridge (100km round trip), which is advisable if you are not overnighting at Third Bridge.
However, if possible, you should really try to stay at least 2 nights at Third Bridge. It is renowned for its interesting night time activities, especially predators. We crafted a delicious Spaghetti alla Puttanesca on our first night and made the mistake leaving it out overnight. In the morning the hyena’s spoor told the story and led us to a meticulously cleaned pot a short distance from the camp!
Third Bridge is also central to Mboma Boat station, where you can embark on a full-day trip to one of the famous heronries (Gcobega and Gcodikwe), however, the 2-hour mokoro trip is not recommended; it is expensive and boring, especially when compared to the trips on offer from
Xakanaxa is another “must-do” camp, first and foremost because you absolutely must experience a sunset boat trip on Xakanaxa lagoon. Don’t forget to pack a cooler box with a couple of drinks, and a jacket because it can get chilly after the sun sets. There is a good chance you will encounter elephants wading in the shallow lagoon, and if you are a twitcher you may just add a tick or two (we notched Lesser Jakana, Whiskered Tern and White-backed Duck).
Close to camp are gems like Paradise Pools and Jesse’s Pools, and a bit further afield you can explore Nkwe Island and Dead Tree Island, as long as the water levels aren’t too high. Another picturesque spot is the Magwexhlana Pools area, just south of Forth Bridge.
The forth camp in Moremi is Khwai Camp site at the North Gate, located on the Khwai river. Thefirst 30km from Xakanaxa to North Gate are rather uneventful, but then you get to Dombo HippoPools, which is a great place to enjoy lunch and gaze at the game from the hide’s elevated vantage point. The 15km between Dombo Hippo Pools and North Gate is prime game country, where there is always something to see, even in the driest months. When all other water sources have dried up, the Khwai river is sure to flow and attract game aplenty.
Once you go over the Khwai river, you officially exit the Moremi game reserve, but that does not mean there isn’t game. As mentioned previously, there are no fences, so the area adjacent to Moremi, known as the Khwai Floodplain is a great place to spend two or three nights. The Mogotho Camp Site offers spacious sites, many of which are located right next to the river. Elephants and hippos literally walk through your campsite, making this a truly wild experience!
The only gamedrive you need to do in the Khwai Floodplains is up and down along the river, where you will encounter all sorts of game, especially the large predators. Khwai is also a good bet for spotting the elusive roan antelope.
On our first night we had a honey badger stagger into our camp. The poor fellow collapsed right in front of our trailer, and we were heartbroken to witness the demise of such an epic creature. Low and behold, the next morning, the very same badger strutted through our camp, bright eyed and bushy tailed! Turns out badgers feed on venomous snakes, and when they get bitten, they go into a coma for a couple of hours to metabolise the venom, only to return stronger, and with renewed resistance!
Moremi is probably the best wildlife experience you can have in Botswana, so make sure you spend enough time here. Sure, it is not cheap when you include the park fees, but how often do we get the opportunity to be in such a place? Make the most of it; we suggest at least eight to ten nights, spread across the various camps. Moremi is popular, so make sure you book well in advance (12-months, if you can).
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