This gem of a National Park has garnered a number of important distinctions. in 2008, it was voted the ‘best game reserve in Africa’ by the prestigious African Travel and Tourism Association at South Africa’s premier tourism fair, Indaba. It is the first reserve in Africa that was established by local residents. Concerned about the rapid depletion of wildlife in their ancestral lands – due to uncontrolled hunting and cattle encroachment – the Batawana people of Ngamiland, under the leadership of the deceased Chief Moremi III’s wife, Mrs. Moremi, took the bold initiative to proclaim Moremi a game reserve in 1963. It is the only officially protected area of the Okavango Delta, and as such holds tremendous scientific, environmental and conservation importance. And, undoubtedly, Moremi ranks as one of the most beautiful reserves in Africa, possibly in the world. Moremi Game Reserve is situated in the central and eastern areas of the Okavango, and includes the Moremi Tongue and chief’s island, boasting one of the richest and most diverse ecosystems on the continent. This makes for spectacular game viewing and bird watching, including all major naturally occurring herbivore and carnivore species in the region, and over 400 species of birds, many migratory and some endangered. Both Black and White Rhino have recently been re-introduced, now making the reserve a ‘Big Five’ destination. Contained within an area of approximately 3900 sq kms, here land and Delta meet to create an exceedingly picturesque preserve of floodplains – either seasonally or perennially wet, waterways, lagoons, pools, pans, grasslands and riparian, riverine and mophane forests. This terrain makes driving Moremi’s many loops and trails both delightful and, at times, totally inspiring. Moremi is a very popular destination for the self-drive camper, and is often combined with the Chobe National Park to the northeast. The rustic Third Bridge campsite, situated near the pretty Sekiri River, flanked with thick stands of papyrus, is a favourite, creating lasting memories of resplendent Okavango sunsets.