Moremi Game Reserve

Elephants in Moremi Game Reserve
Elephants in Moremi Game Reserve

Moremi is a beautiful, diverse game reserve in northern Botswana that protects part of the Okavango Delta. Read our guide to find all the details map, best camping options and more.

Location

South Gate, the nearest entrance from Maun to Moremi is 92 km away from Maun. The road is tarred from Maun to Shorobe (40 km), which leaves 52 km of dirt road driving on a pretty decent road. It takes about 2 hours to drive from Maun to Moremi South Gate. From Kasane, head through Savuti and Khwai to Moremi North Gate. Khwai Community Concession is just outside Moremi North Gate.

Tips for Moremi Game Reserve

  • Campsites in Moremi Game Reserve are often full – book well in advance.
  • You can rent an equipped 4×4* from nearby Maun or Kasane.
  • Mosquitoes carry malaria in Moremi – take precautions.
  • Pay park conservation fees in advance or have cash.
  • The Tracks4Africa Botswana Map* is very useful.
  • Fuel up and get groceries at Maun or Kasane beforehand, there’s no fuel within or near the park.
  • Check out what else to do in nearby Maun or Khwai
  • Prepare for hot days in summer and cold nights in winter.
  • Occasionally Moremi can be fully closed for ~2 weeks if the rains have been particularly heavy (~Jan-Mar).
  • We stopped at Moremi in the middle of our two-month Botswanan road trip which you can read more about in my book*.
  • Check out other great books to read while in Botswana.
Moremi Game Reserve

Moremi Game Reserve is the most easily visited part of the Okavango Delta for self-drivers. It’s also the only officially protected part of the Delta. Like elsewhere in Botswana, Moremi Game Reserve isn’t fenced so the animals wander freely between the reserve, the southern borders towards Maun, the western borders to the heart of the delta and northeast into Khwai Community Concession.

It’s a lovely park with a diverse landscape and dense wildlife (especially in the dry season). Disadvantages come in the rainy season when some of the tracks are flooded and impassable, however this is the best time for birds and there are fewer other tourists.

Information and Itinerary

There are no facilities within the park apart from a basic shop at Third Bridge Campsite. Fuel up beforehand in Maun 92 km away (or in Kasane) and bring cash to pay for entrance fees if you haven’t paid in advance. Book your campsites well in advance, they can fill up. If they are full, Kaziikini Community Campsite* (map↑) is a nice alternative not far from South Gate. In a day you can drive from there to Third Bridge (map↑) or Xakanaxa (map↑) and back.

Gate Opening Hours

There are only two entrances to the reserve – North and South Gate. South Gate is nearest to Maun, 92 km away, while North Gate has a fun log bridge that brings you to neighbouring Khwai Community. Gate hours of Moremi Game Reserve are 06:00-18:30 Apr-Sep (winter), 05:30-19:00 Oct-Mar (summer). Make sure you’re back in your campsite outside these hours.

Kudu in Moremi Game Reserve

Moremi Game Reserve Itinerary

Our trip within the park was disrupted because of high water levels. We drove from Maun and stayed two nights at South Camp and went on day trips towards Xini Lagoon (map↑) and Xakanaxa (map↑). The following two nights we spent in Khwai Community Concession.

I think a perfect Moremi itinerary would be this:

Day 1: Leave early from Maun and head towards Third Bridge. On the way, check out Black Pools and Xini Lagoon. Camp at Third Bridge (map↑).

Day 2: Early morning drive around Mboma Loop on Mboma Island, close to the campsite. In the afternoon take a sunset cruise by motorboat from Third Bridge Boat Station (map↑) or Mboma Boat Station (map↑). Camp again at Third Bridge.

Day 3: Set off early to drive the scenic, direct route from Third Bridge to Xakanaxa (map↑). In the afternoon drive to nearby paradise pools (map↑). Camp at Xakanaxa.

Day 4: Head to North Gate (map↑) along the edge of the delta and out of the park into Khwai Concession to camp a few nights here.

Less time: If you’re pressed for time, on day 3 you can drive from Third Bridge to Khwai Concession via Xakanaxa all in one day.

More time: Camp for more nights at Third Bridge or Xakanaxa!

Owls in Moremi Game Reserve
Sunset in Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

Best Time to visit Moremi Game Reserve

Dry Season in Moremi

The dry season (April-October) is the best time to visit Moremi Game Reserve to see the most animals. The dry season starts around April/May with hot and dry days. Animals start moving from hundreds of kilometres around towards the delta.

Going into June/July temperatures drop and the nights can be very cold. The Okavango Delta flood starts in earnest and reaches its peak in July/August. The surrounding bush is now very dry and animals crowd into the delta region.

In September and October temperatures rise and the heat becomes intense during the day, the evenings cool and pleasant. Concentrations of game in the delta region are very high. Another advantage is that the bush is low and dry making it easier to see the animals. November brings the first thundershowers of the season and the game soon disperses back into the bush, following the rain.

Wet Season in Moremi

The wet, or ‘green season’ (Nov-Mar) is a great time for birdwatching as many migratory birds are now here. Moremi Game Reserve is also less busy with tourists during the wet season with the campsites less crowded.

A disadvantage of wet season in Moremi is the lower density of animals and the waterlogged tracks. Some parts of Moremi can be closed after particularly heavy rains and the bridges in particular, leading to Third Bridge campsite, can be washed away. It takes a while for these to be repaired and during this time the campsite can’t be reached. The park can also occasionally be fully closed for a couple of weeks at a time during wet season.

An Elephant in Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

How to get to Moremi Game Reserve

On the way to Moremi South Gate
On the way to Moremi South Gate

There are two entrances to Moremi: North Gate and South Gate. Most people come from Maun and use the South Gate, while the North Gate is on the border with Khwai Concession and Kasane is the next major town, many many kilometres of sandy track away.

It’s very simple to get from Maun to Moremi: take the tarred road northeast from Maun to Shorobe, 40 km away. Pass through the veterinary fence and it’s another 52 km of driving on a nice dirt road to Moremi South Gate. After the vet fence there are many animals – probably more than just inside the park – so you might be slowed down by these. The drive from Maun to Moremi takes at least 2 hours. You can take meat and eggs north from Maun to Moremi, but you can’t bring them back south to Maun.

Road Conditions in Moremi Game Reserve

Sometimes Moremi Game Reserve is closed entirely because of heavy rains, making the roads almost impassable. This normally happens in the rainy season (Dec-Mar) and the park might be closed for a week or two. The route to Xakanaxa, which is often fine but sandy, even gets large pools in it, and the campsites are barely reachable. It takes a while for the rains to stop and the land to dry out, and more time for the bridges to be prepared and undergrowth cleared from the tracks.

The road conditions in Moremi Game Reserve change significantly with the seasons and with the years. Away from the water the tracks are sandy, but not too sandy, and generally nice driving apart from the occasional muddy hole to drive around. Sometimes these holes are large and new short tracks form in the neighbouring bush to detour around them.

By the water, if it’s dry the tracks can be great with hard mud providing a solid base. You will still sometimes come across areas that are heavily rutted from people driving in wetter times. In high water tracks become waterlogged and very muddy.

Third Bridge and South Gate

Ask when you enter the park, or in Maun, about the road conditions, especially the state of Third Bridge bridge if you are going that way (it is sometimes damaged and you may have to alter your driving route). Vehicles must be less than 5 tonnes to cross the bridges.

From South Gate there are three routes that you can take: 1) the straight cutline 30 km (45 – 60 mins) to North Gate through mopane bush, 2) the track northwest out to Xakanaxa Campsite through mopane forest and plains to the delta’s edge (42 km), or 3) the track west to Third Bridge (58 km).

Driving South Gate to Xakanaxa

The route from South Gate to Xakanaxa is 42 km and takes about 2.5 hours. It’s on a main track and fairly simple. There can be a bit of water here but there are small detours around the worst pools and it never really gets flooded.

You may find more water near Xakanaxa campsite, especially in the middle of the rainy season, though it’s rare that you can’t fairly easily reach the campsite. A few simple water crossings may remain in the dry season. This is unlike Third Bridge which can be impossible to reach if it’s rained a lot.

Driving South Gate to Third Bridge

It’s 58 km from South Gate to Third Bridge Campsite and takes about 3-3.5 hours without many stops. If you are going this route, take time off the direct track to explore Xini Lagoon (beautiful around sunset) and the many tracks in this region.

Reaching Third Bridge Campsite involves crossing First and Second Bridge (Third Bridge bridge is between Third Bridge Campsite and Xakanaxa). First and Second Bridge are normally fine (though slightly scary) as long as the water isn’t exceptionally high. Even if these two bridges are broken, there are detours around involving shallow water crossings. Ask at the Gate for current conditions.

Third Bridge bridge often gets damaged during the rains and driving through the water there isn’t an option. It’s not a problem for reaching the campsite but means you can’t take the direct route to Xakanaxa.

Third Bridge has been broken since early 2021 and still not fixed in mid 2022. Plans are afoot to build a better bridge, similar to the one between North Gate and Khwai, but obviously this will take a while.

A slightly wet track near Xini Lagoon
A slightly wet track near Xini Lagoon

Driving Third Bridge to Xakanaxa

There are three options for driving between Third Bridge and Xakanaxa Campsites, though you won’t have a choice if water levels are high.

Option 1: the direct route, ~1 hour without stops. The best, most scenic and direct route but only an option if Third Bridge is not damaged. There are some exciting water crossings but the track is decent and fairly well-used. It is however quite sandy, if possible leave your trailer behind rather than dragging it this route.

Option 2: ~4 hours with barely visible tracks, not recommended if wet and not recommended unless you’re quite hardcore. Head back towards South Gate, past Second and First Bridges, then turn north halfway between First Bridge and Xini Lagoon. The tracks can be hard to find, hard to stay on and extremely wet and unpassable.

Option 3: via South Gate, ~5.5-6 hours without stops. If Third Bridge is out and water levels are moderate, this is basically your only option. You must drive back from Third Bridge to South Gate, and then from there take the main track to Xakanaxa.

Driving Xakanaxa to Khwai North Gate

Option 1: 45 km, the scenic most direct route along the edge of the delta. This lovely track passes through mopane bush before reaching forests of huge leadwood trees. Sidetracks lead to scenic outlooks over lagoons, with a nice hide from which you can see hippos.

Occasionally this route is impassible due to heavy rains. Even when the route is open, there can be many deep pools on the track and vehicles often get stuck on this route in the rainy season. From April onwards it begins to be a fine route.

Option 2: If option 1 isn’t an option, you must return to South Gate (2.5 hours) and then head 30 km (45-60 mins) north along the cutline to North Gate and Khwai.

Mboma Loop – NW of Third Bridge Camp

This is a lovely loop, about 30 km, starting from Third Bridge Camp. It can be slightly sandy and overgrown. Look out for large herds of antelope, especially red lechwe and buffalo, in the huge stretches of marshy reeds.

Our Experience in Moremi in April

We drove 350 km in total in the park on our way between Maun and Kasane via Khwai, Savuti and Chobe Parks. When we were in Moremi (April) First, Second and Third Bridge were all damaged and water levels too high to reach the campsite and our booking for Third Bridge got switched to South Gate. The route along the edge of the delta between Xakanaxa and Khwai was also closed, though Xakanaxa Campsite was still very easy to reach.

Botswana Overlanding Book

I captured our many adventures in a travel book, check it out on Amazon*.

South Africa was kicking us out so we had to make a plan. ‘What about Botswana?’ A few days before we overstayed our visas, we hit the road in our trusty Defender and sped north from Cape Town.

Understand Moremi Game Reserve

Bridge across the River Khwai
Bridge across the River Khwai

See our post on Maun for more information on the Okavango Delta in general including the Panhandle and Inner Delta. Here we focus on the Outer Delta region which includes Moremi Game Reserve.

The Moremi Game Reserve is the only area of the Okavango Delta with official protection and the Botswanan people declared it a game reserve in 1963. Moremi covers about 20% of the Delta region.

Moremi can be divided into three areas: the water, Chief’s Island, and Moremi Tongue. To spend time on the water you can go on a motorboat trip from the boat stations near Xakanaxa, Third Bridge or Mboma Island. You can also go on a guided mokoro trip from Mboma Island. To reach Chief’s Island you have to take a boat or fly in and the only accommodation on the island is luxury lodges. You can’t self-drive to reach Chief’s Island. Therefore the area that most self-drivers visit is Moremi Tongue.

Areas of Moremi Tongue

Moremi Tongue itself can be divided into four areas, named after and surrounding each of the four campsites in the reserve.

Xakanaxa: On the edge of the water and named after Xakanaxa Lagoon. Here there is a mix of perennial rivers and seasonally flooded plains with some permanent higher land. Big cats are often seen here, together with large herds of antelope. It’s a great spot for bird watching and a boat trip from here can take you to the heronry nearby. Paradise Pools is a lovely area nearby.

Paradise Pools in Moremi
Paradise Pools

Third Bridge: Open plains and bushy areas surrounded by water, another great area for wildlife and birds. A loop around Mboma Island close by can be very rewarding with all kinds of exciting animals.

Khwai North Gate: A diverse mix of mopane bush, leadwood forest and riverside views. The Khwai River is a great place to spot hippos, elephants and predators shadowing the thirsty antelope.

South Gate: Mopane forest area full of elephants, though just outside the reserve are grassy plains and waterholes that attract many other animals. Black Pools and Xini Lagoon are lovely watery areas to visit near South Gate.

Inside versus Outside Moremi Game Reserve

Moremi Game Reserve is surrounded by privately managed concessions, and game is free to roam at will between the areas. Bushwalks and night drives are not allowed within the park, while outside they are. Another advantage of outside the park is that accommodation (both camping and lodges) can be cheaper.

Disadvantages of staying outside the park include the long drives necessary to reach the most interesting parts of the reserve and in places outside the park the wilderness feeling can be lost. This is not true of Khwai Concession, which is a great wild area.

Animals of Moremi

A visit to Moremi almost guarantees you sightings of elephant, zebra, giraffe and other antelope. With a bit of luck you’ll also see hippos and buffalo. Lions and leopards are also often spotted (no pun intended) in Moremi, with a fairly good chance of wild dogs and hyena. You have to be very lucky to see a cheetah.

If you’re coming from the South, Moremi is the first place you’re likely to see Red Lechwe – a handsome little antelope often grazing in the marshlands.

Impala in Moremi Game Reserve

In the more wooded areas watch out for wild dogs, leopards and herds of buffalo between the trees, and the elephants trampling about between water holes. The marshlands are home to elephants, huge herds of buffalo and the red lechwe.

In the lagoons spot crocodiles, hippos and a wide variety of birdlife. Antelopes grazing at the edges are another common sight. At drier times there are large savannah areas, a favourite haunt of lions and zebras.

Additionally, Moremi Game Reserve is one of the only places in Botswana you might come across a rhino outside of Khama Rhino Sanctuary though you have to be very lucky to see one.

Red Leche near Paradise Pools in Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
Red Leche near Paradise Pools

Safety in Moremi Game Reserve

None of these campsites are surrounded by fences so game is free to wander through, and often does. Don’t walk around after dark, and if you do have to, first check the area with a powerful flashlight and be extra careful near water where hippos and crocodiles lurk. Hippos can go quite a distance from the water – never get between them and the water, which is their place of safety.

Make sure to fully zip up your tent at night – incidents have occurred in the past of hyenas wandering into open tents. Additionally, don’t leave apples or citrus in your tent – in fact, don’t take them into Moremi. Elephants go crazy for them and will destroy anything between them and the fruit.

Crocodile near Black Pools in Moremi Game Reserve
Crocodile near Black Pools

Tell someone where you’re going (we emailed our itinerary to our parents noting when we’d have phone signal, and told them if they didn’t hear from us two days after we were meant to return to signal, they would do something). Always have a paper map, Tracks4Africa maps* are the best ones, as well as an online map such as Maps.Me.

Additional Safety Measures

Additional safety measures we did not take include travelling in a convoy and having a satellite phone (these can also be rented). The main tracks in Moremi are fairly regularly driven by other tourists, so if you have vehicle problems you shouldn’t have to wait too long for help. However, some of the more obscure smaller tracks are driven less regularly and you should only take them if you have taken additional safety measures such as a satellite phone or driving in a convoy.

Self-Drive Safaris in Moremi Game Reserve

Self-drive safaris are the main activity in Moremi, though you can also go on boat rides (see below). The areas of Moremi away from the water contain quite a lot of Mopane, making it hard to see animals (apart from elephants). Wildlife viewing is better around the edges of the delta and the lagoons.

Antelope and Birds near Xini Lagoon in Moremi Game Reserve
Antelope and Birds near Xini Lagoon

Lagoons and Waterholes in Moremi Game Reserve

Waterholes

Many of the waterholes in Moremi are within the Mopane bush. We mainly saw elephants at these.

Black Pools and Xini Lagoons

Birdlife and antelopes are abundant in these wet regions near South Gate. There are also crocodiles and sometimes hippos. If you’re lucky buffalo and leopards may be sighted here.

Mboma Island

This island, northwest of Third Bridge, is mainly grassland and large sections of reeds. Buffaloes, red lechwe and predators are common here.

Xaxanaxa Lagoon

The Xaxanaxa Lagoon and surrounding dry land is great for all kinds of animals and birdlife, including most predators, hippos, red lechwe and more.

Paradise Pools

A great area, not far from Xaxanaxa, with abundant birdlife, antelope and predators if you’re lucky.

Khwai River

Elephants, hippos, antelopes and predators all concentrate in and around Khwai River making it a great place for wildlife.

Water-based activities in Moremi

There are boat stations by Third Bridge, at Mboma (NW of Third Bridge) and at Xakanaxa Campsites. The Xakanaxa boat trip tours start further away from the main delta channels so it takes a while to get there. Sometimes you might not see many animals on the boat ride, but this depends on the season, the time of day, and luck. However, you can easily reach the heronry at Gcodikwe, with many many herons and other birds.

On the Okavango Delta in Moremi Game Reserve
On the Okavango Delta

Mboma Boat Station ([email protected], +267 73 727 929) offer morning, afternoon or full-day boat excursions (when enough water) and mokoro trips. Visit their website, or facebook page for more information. It’s often cheaper to share a boat ride with other people, so ask around at camp. On mokoro trips, expect to see fewer animals – your vantage point is low and you don’t go very fast. Motorboats are faster and you will probably see more game.

Moremi Game Reserve as a Day or Multiday Organized Trip from Maun

If you don’t have your own 4×4, you can rent a 4×4 from Maun*, or it’s possible to book a tour to Moremi. Day trips* are by far the cheapest because it doesn’t involve staying inside the reserve. However, it is about 2 hours drive to reach the entrance gate and further still to reach the best game areas. This means you will never be there in the early mornings or evenings when sightings can be the most exciting. You also miss being in the bush at nighttime.

Multiday trips are more pricey, with the cheapest being some sort of mobile tented safari*, staying in a moveable tent rather than a lodge. This can be a great experience as the camping is unfenced and you really feel like you’re sleeping out in the bush. You also get to go on game drives at the best times of day – early and late. Renting a fully equipped 4×4 is quite expensive, so these kinds of organized trips can be good value.

If you’re in Maun in low season you can probably just book a trip from Maun at one of the many safari operators there, though in high season (June-Sep) you should book in advance.

If you really want to push the boat out, a luxury Okavango Delta safari* would be a trip of a lifetime, with your every need catered for.

Moremi Game Reserve Camping Rates and Park Fees

Three groups manage the main campsites within Moremi: South Gate and Xakanaxa are run by Kwalate Safaris, Third Bridge Campsite is run by Xomae Group and Khwai North Gate is run by SKL Camps. Kwalate Safaris in particular often receives negative reviews for taking money and then not being responsive. In addition to camping, Third Bridge Campsite also has a tented camp with lovely ensuite tents. Additionally, Xomae runs three wilderness sites, contact them for details, and Mboma Island Explorers runs a mobile camp near Mboma Island.

CampsiteCompanyCitizenResidentSADCInternational
Third BridgeXomae GroupP80P190$30$50
Third Bridge Tented Camp Xomae Group P500P650$120$120
XakanaxaKwalate SafarisP100P125P175$40
South GateKwalate Safaris P100 P125 P175 $40
Khwai North GateSKL CampsP100P150P215$50
In general children under 8 years are free and 8-16 years are half price. In addition to campsite fees are park fees, see below.

We ended up booking all our campsites in Moremi via Botswana Footprints who were very professional and their booking fee was surprisingly low. It saved us a lot of hassle.

Contact Details for Moremi Campsites

Park fees: Significantly increased in 2022. Now P30/205/270 for citizens/residents & SADC/ international per person per day + vehicle fees per day of P20/75 and trailer fees of 15/60 for local/international. Children 8-15 half price and under 8 free.

Contact Details: Contact Xomae Group, Kwalate Safaris of SKL Camps to book campsites in the reserve. Contact the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) to pay conservation fees in advance and receive a voucher, or pay in cash at the park gates.

Department of Wildlife and National Parks: Botswana Parks and Reserves Reservation Office, +267 397 1405 or +267 318 0774, [email protected] Office hours 07:30-16:3, closed weekends.

Xomae Group: +267 686 2221, [email protected] There’s a form on their website to book but don’t rely on this working.

Kwalate Safaris: +267 686 5551, +267 686 1448, +267 71 308 283, +267 71 307 435, [email protected] Their location in Maun: Above FNB, New Mall, Maun. Their office hours are 8:00am- 4:30pm Mon-Fri and 8:00am – 2:00pm Sat. Visit their rather basic website.

SKL Camps: +267 686 53 65/6, [email protected], [email protected] Try contacting them on Facebook or their website.

Campsites in Moremi Game Reserve

There are four main campsites within Moremi Game Reserve. They all have ablutions blocks with hot water and showers, and all are unfenced. Third Bridge and Xakanaxa campsites are well into the reserve, at the end of Moremi Tongue. South Gate is naturally by the South Gate and Khwai North Gate campsite is just inside Moremi, on the borders of Khwai Community Concession. Reservations are mandatory, don’t just turn up and expect to be able to camp, and only camp in your allocated spot!

South Gate is closest in Maun (~2 hours away) but probably the worst place in terms of game sighting and wilderness feel. The other three camps all have plenty of animals wandering through and great nearby game drives. I would recommend staying in either Third Bridge or Xakanaxa for a couple of nights to spend time on the edge of the delta. I’d also recommend at least two nights in either Khwai North Gate or the campsites on the other side of the river in Khwai Community Concession. The Community Campsites have a wilder feel, with elephants constantly wandering through, though both are great spots.

Within Moremi you may also see signs for HATAB campsites – these are for private tour operators only. There are also several campsites outside yet near the reserve (see below), some of which are in the surrounding concessions where animals also wander freely. For those in Khwai Concession to the northeast, read our Khwai Article.

In times of high flood (Jan-Mar) Third Bridge can be inaccessible. South Gate and Khwai North Gate are always fine unless the entire park is closed, and Xakanaxa is also almost always reachable.

Scenery near Xakanaxa Campsite
Scenery near Xakanaxa Campsite
Scenery near Khwai North Gate Campsite
Scenery near Khwai North Gate Campsite

Xakanaxa Campsite

Xakanaxa Campsite in Moremi
Xakanaxa Campsite
Red Lewche near Xakanaxa
Red Lewche near Xakanaxa

There are 10 sites at Xakanaxa Campsite (map↑). Don’t confuse this with Camp Xakanaxa (map↑) which is a luxury lodge nearby. Each campsite has a fireplace, braai stand and shade. The ablutions have hot water (solar-powered) and are clean.

The sites are fairly close to each other, on a narrow strip of higher ground surrounded by water or marsh. They are slightly incorrectly marked on Tracks4Africa. Site 1 is the most private, on its own at the southeast end of the row. Site 10 is at the opposite end, by the boat station next to the track but quite far from any other site. Sites 8 and 9 are also on the main track to the boat station so have less privacy. Site 7 is slightly higher than the others with a view over the marshes which is nice, while Site 4 is nearest the ablutions.

Xakanaxa is a fantastic campsite for bird watching and hippos, with lots of other game including big cats often found nearby. There are lovely lagoons, loops and tracks to drive nearby. The nearby Xakanaxa Gate is often manned and the rangers can give useful advice about road conditions and sightings.

Xakanaxa boat station is just next to the campsite, they offer motorboat cruises to the heronry and elsewhere. The delta proper is a little far so it’s best to book at least a two-hour trip. Ask around at camp if you want to share the trip and costs with others.

Safety in Xakanaxa Campsite

Don’t walk about after dark – take a powerful flashlight and drive to the ablutions if they are far (we always set up our rooftop tent last minute). Hippos often come out of the water as the sun sets/rises, they are very dangerous, don’t get between them and the water. If in a ground tent keep it fully shut at nighttime – hyenas have caused incidents at Xakanaxa in the past.

Third Bridge Campsite

As its name suggests, Third Bridge campsite (map↑) is by the Third Bridge 58 km from Moremi South Gate, about 5 hours from Maun. It’s on the NW side of the bridge, which you don’t actually have to cross to reach the campsite. This is lucky because Third Bridge is often broken. You do have to cross First and Second Bridges to get here, but they are normally fine and often it’s possible to drive around them. Third Bridge is one of the sandiest places in the reserve.

Third Bridge is a lovely spot with beautiful scenery, 9 spacious campsites with large shade trees and braai, well-maintained ablution blocks with hot water and a small store that sells braai wood and snacks. You can even sometimes get WiFi if you want that. It’s 8 people and 3 cars per site maximum.

In terms of campsites, Site 3 is nice as it has lots of shade and is near the ablutions. Sites 7 and 8 are also recommended since they are near the ablutions, large, quiet, and with some views. Sites 1 and 4 are also nice. Site 5 is right next to the tuckshop and office so has less of a wild feel.

Tented Camp, Boat Trips and Safety

Unlike the other campsites, Third Bridge also has a tented camp with 4 ensuite safari tents on raised platforms. These have real beds and could be a great treat after weeks of proper camping. They’re the cheapest non-camping option in the reserve by far, though they’re on a self-catering basis so only accommodation is included. The tents have electricity with a plug and USB charging points. The last tent (furthest away from the campsite and everything) is the best. The others are slightly close to each other.

There is a boat station near Third Bridge campsite that offers motorboat trips, while Mboma Island Boat Station (15 km away) offers both day/half-day motorboat and mokoro trips.

Safety: Animals commonly wander through the campsite after dark, including elephants, hippos, hyenas and lions. Have a powerful spotlight and don’t walk to the ablutions in the dark.

South Gate Campsite

The campsite at South Gate (Makwee Gate) is the least ‘wild’ of the four Moremi campsites but is nearest to Maun only 2 hours drive away. South Gate is also close to the Black Pools area and Xini Lagoon, both lovely places to visit. The campsite has two well-kept ablution blocks and lots of shade. The water sometimes goes off in the evenings – ask the rangers if this might occur.

There are 10 sites at South Gate campground, and it’s next to the gate and ranger station. Sometimes you can hear music from this staff camp just next door. There isn’t really any privacy between each campsite, they are all beneath some gorgeous trees without any undergrowth vegetation.

Even though it doesn’t feel very wild, elephants sometimes visit the campsite, along with baboons and even wild dogs, honey badgers and more. Sites 8-10 are the most secluded and furthest from the ranger camp, while sites 4 and 6 are next to the entrance track.

Khwai North Gate Campsite

Khwai North Gate Campsite is at North Gate, on the banks of the River Khwai and opposite the Khwai Community Concession area. It has a much wilder feel than South Gate campsite because the sites are spread out and hidden amongst trees and bushes so quite secluded. The river attracts animals and hippos, hyenas, wild dogs and others are often seen in camp.

The ablutions are clean and have hot water, while the campsites all have shade. The nearby tracks, especially to the east, can be very wet in the rainy season.

There is mobile phone reception at North Gate campsite and unfortunately you can see the tower from some areas of camp – Sites 1 and 2. These two sites are probably the worst sites since they are nearest to the gate and least private, as well as seeing the phone tower.

Sites 8, 9 and 10 are the best because they are on their own with lovely views. However, they are very far from the ablutions, which you shouldn’t walk to when it’s dark. Sites 4, 5, 6 and 7 are in the centre of camp and surrounded by lots of vegetation. Site 3 has a river view.

Accommodation Bordering Moremi

Kaziikini Community Camp (Website, TripAdvisor Reviews*) is only 28 km (about 45mins) from Moremi South Gate and 64 km from Maun (40 km of which is tar). 2x4s can reach Kaziikini. Good value with great ablutions, hot showers, bar and restaurant (call ahead if you want food). They have 5 campsites as well as twin-bedded huts and pre-setup tents. Kaziikini is on the Moremi-side of the vet fence so wild animals wander freely and there’s a waterhole here. There are many elephants, giraffes, zebras and more in the area. The camp can organize game drives, night drives, boat trips plus a visit to nearby Shandereka Cultural Village. Contact: +267 77 707 081, +267 680 0664, +267 75 662 865, [email protected]

Maako Restcamp: Basic campsite near Sankuyo Village, 85 km from Maun (40 km of which tar) in a concession surrounding Moremi. When the nearby Thamalakane River is flowing there can be many animals around, though when it’s dry game concentrations are very low. Contact: +267 686 2353/+267 73 564 952, [email protected] / [email protected]

Camp Dizhana (Tripadvisor Reviews*): When Dijara and Tshaa campsites closed, camp Dizhana was set up instead. A lovely location with large sites overlooking the river, all with their own private ablutions. +675 7312 9016.

Accommodation near Shorobe (south of Vet Fence)

Camp Shorobe Resort (Website): Near Shorobe Village, on the wrong side of the vet fence for many wild animals. Nice campsites with river views, though often the river is dry. Pre-setup tents are also available. Contact: +267 7312 9016, +267 72 913 201, [email protected]

Nal’ibali bush camp (Website): Campsite in the bush on the edge of a lagoon with 5 spacious sites with private ablutions and hot water. Specialize in kayak trips on the delta. Contact: +267 715 72527, +267 774 69592.

Mochaba Crossing Lodge (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*): A lodge 30 km north of Maun near Moremi, with ensuite rooms, pre-setup tents and camping. Can organize many activities.

Luxury Lodges in Moremi

This is not an exhaustive list of luxury lodges in Moremi, only those on Moremi Tongue that you can self-drive to (or fly) and which are near Xaxanaxa campsite. The lodges can help you if you get into trouble. These lodges are all gorgeous and prices start from around $500 per person per night in the offseason.

Camp Moremi (Website, TripAdvisor Reviews*): Tented rooms on raised decks. Closed for one month a year around Jan-March. No children under 6 years.

Camp Xakanaxa (Website, TripAdvisor Reviews*): Meru-style classic safari tents each with a viewing deck over the lagoon. Closed for one week normally in Feb. No children under 6 years.

Okuti Camp (Website, TripAdvisor Reviews*): Beautiful wooden/tented huts each with a balcony overlooking the water. Open year-round. No children under 6 years.

Elephants in Botswana

I hope you enjoyed our guide to Moremi Game Reserve! Let us know in the comments if you have any updates or useful information to add. Check out our other articles on nearby Maun or Khwai Community Concession.

Moremi Game Reserve was a stop in Botswana on our two-month road trip which you can find out more about by reading the travel adventure book I wrote, No Footprints in the Night: On Safari in Botswana*.

FAQS

What is the speed limit in Moremi Game Reserve?

The speed limit in Moremi is 40 km/h.

What does Moremi mean?

The park is named after Chief Moremi, leader of the BaTawana from 1937 to 1946.

How big is Moremi?

Moremi Game Reserve covers an area of about 5,000 square kilometres. This means Moremi is about twice the size of Luxembourg.

Where is Moremi Game Reserve?

Moremi is in northwestern Botswana covering part of the Okavango Delta. The South Gate entrance to Moremi is 92 km north of Maun, with 40 km on tar and 52 km on a good dirt road.

When is the best time to visit Moremi Game Reserve?

During rainy season (Nov-Apr) you’ll see the most game, but the tracks might be muddy and difficult. In dry season (May-Oct/Nov) the tracks are easy but the game may be sparse.

How do you pronounce Xakanaxa?

You pronounce Xakanaxa as Ka-ka-na-ka.

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