Words & Images Stephen Cunliffe
While important to locals, the region east of the A1 is perennially bypassed by travellers en route to Botswana’s more renowned wildlife and
wilderness destinations. Yet this area has the World-Heritage-acclaimed Tswapong Hills, the even wilder Lepokole Hills, and one of southern Africa’s most under-rated game reserves in Tuli. Time for a closer look…
Having visited Gonarezhou, we approached from Bulawayo via Plumtree, and the modern infrastructure and relative wealth of Botswana was glaringly apparent as soon as we crossed over from Zimbabwe. Exiting the Ramokgwebana border post onto immaculate roads and light traffic, we made good time to Francistown. After stocking up on food and drink in Botswana’s second largest city, we made our way south, overnighting
at Tachila Nature Reserve – a considerably more attractive alternative for breaking the journey than a city hotel would be.
Tswapong Hills and the Goo-Moremi Gorge
A couple of hours further down the road, the flat expanses that typify Botswana gave way to boulder-strewn slopes and lush canyons. The Tswapong Hills – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – comprise some of the most dramatic landscapes in all of Botswana. I had heard rumours of lush canyons and picturesque waterfalls, but these images jarred badly with my impression of Botswana as largely flat, and (with the exception of the Okavango)
overwhelmingly dry. So, as we approached the Tswapong Hills from the north, anticipation was running high.
The Goo-Moremi Resort dramatically exceeded our expectations. This place is the proverbial hidden gem: an undiscovered paradise for active nature
enthusiasts; despite having five stunning campsites and six newly-built self-catering chalets, we were their only visitors. The friendly BTO project manager, Wendy Phaletshane, greeted us and told us that Botswana Tourism had partnered with the Moremi Village community to empower them.