Nestled deep in the Tswapong Hills in the central part of Botswana, Moremi Gorge is one of the great wonders of the world that many are yet to discover. With its ever flowing water which springs from underground, snaking through a mountain range and forming awesome waterfalls and waterholes along the way, the Gorge is one of the hidden gems found in Botswana. The green thick vegetation, thanks to the recent rains, makes the view even extraordinary. The scintillating gorge is situated about 60 km East of Palapye Township, just a few kilometres from Goo-Moremi village. Arriving at the gate of Moremi Gorge just after 0800 hours on a cool Saturday morning, our tour guide informed us that we will be taking a five-hour walk up the hills and it never occurred to me that we will be spending the whole day trekking these streams. The ultimate mission was to get to where this water was coming from, which according to our tour guide, who identified himself as Tico, never, goes dry. But before we embarked on our adrenaline rushing walk up the Tswapong Hills, we passed where the guide said used to be the location of Goo-Moremi before being moved just under 5 km further east. Here we are shown where it used to be the Kgotla before arriving at a site which we were told used to be used as Go-Moremi School. Though there are no structures to suggest that this could have been a school before, there is as stone wall which serves as a boundary to the school yard. We were then briefed about our journey and shown the route that we would be undertaking from the map.
The brief that we got was that we would be taking the route to see the waterfalls which count to five and then go to the source before the vulture gorge, a breeding place for vultures. Thereafter we were each given a walking stick. I reluctantly took mine after our guide insisted it would come in handy. And so off we went. Before we could reach the first waterfall, we arrived at a site with a big stone, just beside our trek. There is a board written ‘Sir Seretse Khama Alarm Stone’ and was named after the Goo- Moremi villagers are said to have, on the morning of the 13th of July 1980 between 2am and 5am, heard a loud bang as the stone fell from the gorge above. Its fall is believed to have signaled the passing on of the founding President, Sir Seretse Khama as the news of his demise were received that morning. We proceeded, trekking along the bushy and rocky trailing and arrived at a bridge where we were told to ditch our walking sticks. We now had to walk supporting ourselves with rocks. We arrived at the first waterfall, which formed a big waterhole surrounded by beautiful vegetation and birdlife. Though there are five waterfalls within this conservation area, I found the third one to be the most scintillating one and this was the same sentiment shared by the entourage. After hours of going up and down the rocks, we arrived at resting place. This we were told was half way through to our destination. Demotivated as we were already tired, the thought that we would be taking the same rough terrain back did not do most of us any good, but nonetheless we managed to reach the water source just around 1300 hours.
It was a tough journey to get there. While some vowed never to return to this place, personally I felt coming to the place in winter will be worthwhile. The water source itself is not really spectacular - it is just stagnant water supposedly coming underneath the ground before setting off train-like along the mountains. Its journey ends in the reverse manner it started – by going underneath the ground, the guide revealed. We then proceeded to the vulture gorge, though we could not arrive at the plateau. We sat at a site between two big hills where we enjoyed the view of these phenomenal birds wheeling over us. The guide shared interesting facts about vultures including that they are capable of travelling more than 800 km single journey to look for food and come back to feed their brood. In times of hunger, the vultures could take a bone of a carcass and fly very high and let go of it a higher altitude to shatter the bone and turn it into a meal.
The journey back was somehow short as we took the shorter route. Even though the whole journey was exhausting, at the end it was all worth it finding the hidden germ in Tswapong Hills.