Old Palapye is an important multicultural historical site containing artifacts from the Middle Stone Age, the Late Stone Age, the Early Iron Age, and in contemporary times, the 19th century capital of the Bangwato (led by Khama III), who occupied the area from 1889-1902.
Though only capital for thirteen years, the population of this settlement at the foot of the Tswapong Hills is estimated to have been approximately 300 000 people, including resident European missionaries and hunters. The wet, well watered micro-climate of Tswapong, and the perennial springs and waterfalls of Photophoto valley are believed to have been the main attractions for settlement.
When water supplies dwindled and proved insufficient, the Bangwato left Phalatswe and established their new capital at Serowe, where it remains today.
The occupation of Old Palapye is significant in the history of Botswana, particularly its role in restricting the Ndebele’s penetration to the then Rhodesia. It was critical as a centre for European encounters with Batswana, and provides evidence for one of the first agro-towns in Botswana.
Stone walls, middens (the stone remains of rondavels), rock paintings, and the remains of a prison, market centre and historic graves (both Europeans’ and Batswana’s) can all be seen at Old Palapye. The most outstanding structure is the remains of the London Missionary Society Church, which was built between 1891 and 1894. The front and back of the burnt-brick structure still stand, giving some idea of the huge effort that would have gone into its construction.
Some wild animals, such as baboons, vervet monkeys, porcupines, rock dassies and leopard, still inhabit the area. There are two Cape Vulture breeding colonies, the largest situated at Gootau, with more than 200 breeding pairs. The village headman must be approached to visit this site, and care should be taken not to disturb the birds.
The nearby Photophoto Gorge is less impressive than Moremi Gorge, but more accessible. It is used to water livestock and for religious rituals.
Situated near the village of Malaka (where there are waterfalls), Old Palapye has been earmarked for further tourism development, through the Malaka community based tourism project, and in conjunction with developments at Tswapong. Old Palapye was gazetted as a National Monument in 1938, and falls under the jurisdiction of the National Museum and Monuments.
Goo‐Moremi Gorge is a highly sensitive area with the Batswapong community associating it with significant cultural and spiritual beliefs. It hosts breeding sites for various bird species, including the endangered Cape Vultures, and forms a unique vegetative habitat, which is spectacular to explore on foot with one of our National Museum Guides.
Accommodation at Goo-Moremi Gorge …
At Goo-Moremi Gorge, we offer both camping facilities and self-catering chalets. Please note our guests may check-in from 13:00 and that our check-out time is 10:00. Should you be arriving after 16:30, kindly make arrangements with our reservations office prior to arrival so that arrangements can be made for your arrival in the evening – thank you.
Goo-Moremi Gorge Campsites
We have 5 fantastic, large campsites, each with their own bathroom facilities (toilet, basin & shower – solar heated), as well as a braai area and washing-up facilities. Please note that electricity is not provided / supplied at our campsites. Each campsite can accommodate a maximum 8 guests per site (e.g. max 4 x 2 man tents / 4 x vehicles with roof top tents). All our campsites are shaded by magnificent trees, with each site well marked and sign posted (Mantsi Campsite, Maifala Campsite, Senwedi Campsite, Moeti Campsite & Kgosi Days Campsite). Our campsites are serviced once a day by our friendly local camp staff.
Goo-Moremi Gorge Chalets
We have 6 beautifully appointed self-catering chalets at Goo-Moremi Gorge. Three of our chalets are two bedroom chalets (Kosipedi Chalet, Dithonamo Chalet and Gorge View Chalet), sleeping 4 guests each (one bedroom with a double bed and the other bedroom with two ¾ beds). Our other three chalets are one bedroom chalets (Mapulane Chalet, Gulo Chalet and Siko Chalet), sleeping 2 guests each (one bedroom with a double bed). All our chalets are thatched, each with self-contained kitchenettes, en suite bathrooms (toilet, basin indoors) and outdoor shower. All chalets have ceiling fans and mosquito nets are provided. The bedrooms and kitchenettes open up onto partially covered outdoor verandas with a table and chairs, as well as gas braai facilities provided. Our chalets all have solar powered lights and each kitchenette hosts a two plate stove and bar fridge. They are serviced once a day by our friendly local chalet staff. All linen, cutlery, crockery etc. is provided, all you need to bring with you is your food and your drinks.
Khama Rhino Sactuary
Whether you camp in one of the well-maintained campgrounds near clean ablution blocks or stay in one of our comfortable well-equipped chalets with en-suite showers and toilets, you are assured of enjoying your stay at Khama Rhino Sanctuary (or as it is also known, the Botswana National Park).
The camping and chalet facilities at Mokongwa Camp are a short drive from the entrance gate and are accessible without a 4x4 (4wd) vehicle. The chalets are very popular, so it is best to book well in advance. They are perfect for those who prefer self-catering (self-contained) accommodation. The rustic chalets can accommodate four people. Each chalet has a toilet and shower en-suite with hot water. Bedding and towels are also provided. Situated by a Mokongwa tree, you will also find a fireplace, braai stand with grid and a tap and birdbath. Basic cooking equipment and crockery are provided, but no stove or refrigerator.
There are 13 campsites, including sites for large groups. The central feature of each site is a large Mokongwa tree, which provides both character and shade. There is also a fireplace, braai stand with grill, and tap with birdbath. The campsites are served by two communal ablution blocks. Staff housing at the Boma Camp has been converted to provide further accommodation facilities. The A-frame is a two-storey chalet for six people, whilst the three square-davels each sleep two people, with braai area and ablutions - ideal for backpackers.
Khama Rhino Sanctuary opens at 08:00 daily and closes at 19:00. Special arrangements for arrival outside these hours must be made in advance. On arrival at the Sanctuary, you will find friendly staff to help answer your questions about the sanctuary and other Botswana national parks. Wood for fires and braais can be bought here, as well as ice, cold drinks and basic provisions. There is also a craft shop selling various local crafts, books, maps, souvenirs and postcards.
ACTIVITIES: The Sanctuary’s roads are well-maintained, compared to other national parks in Botswana. This makes them suitable for self-drive game viewing in four and two-wheel drive vehicles. Guided game drives, rhino trails and nature walks can be booked and are supervised by well-trained and very knowledgeable rangers. Morning drives and night drives are available.