Moremi gorge, known as Goo-Moremi Gorge by locals, houses a series of spectacular gorges, a natural spring and five ascending pools with waterfalls. It is nestled in the middle of Botswana near a town called Palapye. In a country that is occupied largely of desert and often plagued by drought – here you can find a lush green oasis with spring fed waterfalls that flow year round. Understandably, this became a site of great religious significance to the Batswapong tribe who have lived in this area for centuries. They strongly believe the springs are the resting place of their ancestral spirits, known as Badimo. Numerous traditional practices revolve around the springs and it is strictly forbidden to drink/swim/touch the water as not to disturb or disrespect the ancestors.
Moremi gorge is a protected national monument of Botswana so you can only hike with a guide. There is the option of a short 2 hour hike to the first 3 waterfalls and a long 5 hour hike to all 5 waterfalls and the top of the gorge. Campsites and chalets have been established to cater to visitors. We camped for a weekend with our good friends Savarra, Idan and their two little girls. The campsites are excellent – some of the best I have ever stayed at in Africa. There is a kitchen area with a built in sink and counter. A built up fire bit and adjoining counter space. The bathroom is beautifully decorated with a tiled sink and mirror. There is an enclosed toilet and large rain-style shower head. After looking at the chalets, we actually felt that the campsite were a much better deal. As usual we got spoiled by Idan’s cooking. Even in the bush – he seems to be able to whip up complex meals from scratch. He made us shak-shouka which is an Israeli breakfast that has been our new favorite thing since he introduced us to it last year. We try to make it on our own but it is never as good as his!
Another special thing about Moremi Gorge is that the cliffs one of only two breeding grounds in Botswana for the endangered white backed vulture and cape vultures. You can do a longer hike up to the top of the ridge to see the nests. We didn’t have enough time to make it up to the vultures nests, However, we saw numerous vultures and eagles soaring above us on our hike.
The area is beautiful. It is an oasis of lush green forest that literally seems to come out of nowhere in the generally dry, brown, savanna ecosystem that predominates in Botswana. I really felt like I had been transported back to Colorado! It reminded me so much of the Hanging Lake hike. The waterfall pools are a beautiful clear emerald color. The first two are small but the third one is about 30 feet tall and has an impressive tiered appearance.
Moremi is an easy weekend trip that is perfect for couples, families, or even a big group. It is a must do for any long term visitor to Botswana. I can’t believe it took us so long to check off our to-so list!