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Jao Camp

Jao Camp is situated on a remote private island, to the west of Moremi Game Reserve in the heart of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Across the waterways, guests have access to open flood plains and savannah for an exciting Okavango experience.

Guests are accommodated in nine large and luxurious Tree suites. Each of the unique canvas and thatched suites has been individually handcrafted. The suites are built under a canopy of shady trees, with en suite bath facilities featuring a large claws-foot bathtub and double vanity. There is an outdoor nature shower for an added romantic aspect to your Tree suite, and an outdoor "sala" (sundeck) for guests to enjoy midday siestas with a view. The suites are raised off the ground and offer spectacular views of the surrounding flood plains.

A raised walkway connects the suites to the main dining room and lounge area. There is a main plunge pool at camp and an outdoor 'boma' for dining under the stars, as well as an excellent wine cellar. Jao also offers a Spa Salon with a fulltime spa therapist, offering a wide range of massage treatments.

Jao offers a variety of habitats that ensure diverse and interesting game viewing. The wildlife at Jao depends largely on the water levels in the area. The lagoons are home to Hippo and Crocodile and permanent waterways and floodplains attract large numbers of birds. Lying as it does in the very heart of the Okavango Delta, the Jao Reserve embodies all the magic and mystique of the Okavango. Narrow water channels cut their way through the papyrus and reed beds in the permanent delta to the north and east of the reserve, providing the perfect environment for the elusive sitatunga and the rare Pel's Fishing Owl. Beautiful lush palm islands dot the water, begging to be explored.

" This is what makes Jao Camp so special - that we are able to show our guests that which is rare to see and difficult to find." - Jao Camp, Hosts.

Jao camp suite
Dining at Jao camp

Jao Camp is situated on an island with breathtaking scenery. The largest concentrations of endangered Wattled Crane are found in this area. The birdlife is simply stunning: Slaty Egrets, Pink-throated Longclaws and African Skimmers are some of the specials that can be seen. The lion prides in this area have been studied for the past 5 years by the resident guides and a good record has been built up enriching Jao with more intimate knowledge of Lion behavior.

During the dry winter months, the water levels at Jao rise and the savannah areas become inundated with water. Huge herds of Lechwe can be found on the floodplains, which the Lion prides are adept at hunting in the water. Leopard are often seen and Elephant are also more prevalent. Plains game such as Impala, Zebra and Wildebeest stay on the dry islands. During winter, Jao offers more to water activities with limited game drives on the larger islands. A greater choice of activities is also possible at this time of year due to these higher water levels.

The activities at Jao include mokoro (dug out canoe) excursions, boats, fishing, day and night game drives and guided walks. If the area has a large flood, we usually have to boat to a large island, called Hunda Island, where vehicles would be waiting and the game drives would start. The area is very seasonal and the annual flood transforms the habitat from dry green open plains in summer to shallow flood plains in the winter.

Notes from the Ranger's diary (2005):

"The month of August was a great and fantastically busy month. Most of the guests who visited stayed for three days, which allowed them to really get into the essence of Jao - boating, mokoros and simply relaxing in the sunshine, taking in the beauty of the delta and the cacophony of sounds that the wilderness offers without relent. This place, Jao, is truly one of unspoilt beauty and wonder - never failing to reach deep into our hearts to fill that ancient, long forgotten emptiness of a time when man and wilderness were one."

"(July) On the game viewing side this has been the month of the mating leopard. It has been fantastic; we probably had just five days in the month where we did not see the leopard (called Beauty) our resident female. Half of the time we saw her with a stunner of a male. We also saw buffalo, about 200 of them, very frequently on Hunda Island along with a variety of other game, such as lion - both male and female - ostrich, warthog, kudu, red lechwe, impala, reedbuck, elephant, hippo, crocodile, giraffe in good numbers, and even leopard hunting sitatunga - can you believe the two most sought-after animals in the Delta - in one picture!"

Mekoro at Jao camp
Jao camp safari