ROMANTIC, LUXURIOUS AND ELEGANT
This stunning, luxury camp is a tranquil base from which to experience the excitement of an Okavango Delta Safari. Jao Camp is located on a large, remote island in a private concession in Botswana, bordering the Moremi Game Reserve, in the very heart of the Okavango Delta. In the central region of Jao Concession, vast open floodplains provide some of the most stunning scenery Botswana has to offer. Jao Camp lies on the southern side of the plains, an area with beautiful islands covered in forests intermingled with rivers.
David and Cathy Kays are the long-term leaseholders of Jao Reserve. Their personal involvement and management of this camp, and care of its guests, along with their commitment to conservation make Jao stand out as a true gem.
Jao is situated in one of the most attractive parts of the Okavango and is one of the most romantic places to stay. Water activities out into the floodplains and channels are amazing, so although big game is not plentiful, this camp is a great place to take in the beauty of the Delta while relaxing and revitalizing.
This camp is open 11 months of the year. It is closed during the month of February.
Accommodation is comprised of just nine, beautifully handcrafted tents, each individually designed. These romantic twin-bedded canvas and thatched lodgings are situated beneath a canopy of shady trees and offer en-suite facilities, as well as an outdoor shower. Erected on raised decks, each tent has a private sala, ideal for afternoon siestas. Each sala has a stunning view of the spectacular surrounding floodplains of Botswana. Near the main lounge there are two plunge pools.
In addition to the dining area, there is an outdoor boma for dining under the Stars of Botswana, while enjoying a selection of wines from the excellent wine cellar.
This former hunting area is now strictly photographic safari country. As a camp dedicated to the sustainability of conservation and community, Jao Camp is deeply involved in projects supporting these principles. Jao Concession holders and the University of Botswana, under the auspices of the Biokavango Project, launched a committee to reduce tensions between the community and the Jao Concession, specifically with regard to curbing poaching and over fishing.
With the vast diversity of habitats, ranging from waterways and lagoons to dry Kalahari grasslands and open floodplains, Jao Camp offers both land and water experiences, depending on the fluctuating water levels of the Okavango Delta. Activities are adapted to the changing water levels. During the winter months, the water levels surrounding Jao rise and the savannah areas are generally covered with water.
From October to March, as the floodwaters disappear, the Delta becomes vast open plains and this is when game viewing is at its most spectacular. Lions, cheetahs and leopards are abundant, while tsessebe, red lechwe, zebras and wildebeest dot the drying plains.
The floodwaters generally begin to arrive in May and by late September the floodplains are overflowing with crystal clear water. With the arrival of the floods, the focus at Jao Camp switches more to water activities with game drives restricted to the larger islands. When seasonal floodwaters are particularly high, game drives begin by boating out to nearby Hunda Island to waiting vehicles for the drives.
From October through April, the water levels subside, turning the floodplains into savannah grasslands once more. Nowhere in the Okavango Delta are the contrasts in the seasons more extreme.
Jao Camp has a spa offering a wide range of massage therapies. This beautiful African spa, in the midst of the pristine Botswana wilderness, is an unforgettable treat for the body as well as the soul.
The Jao Concession is home to some impressively large herds of red lechwe antelope and the subsequent lion prides that specialize in preying on them. The lagoons are home to hippo and crocodile, while permanent waters attract large numbers of waterfowl. Other game typical of the area includes elephant, buffalo, leopard, tsessebe, zebra, red lechwe, as well as the uncommon sitatunga and spotted-necked otter. Many bird species are resident such as Meyer’s parrot, African harrier hawk, black heron, coppery-tailed coucal, and black crake.
The Jao Concession is set in amongst a wetland area with some of the most beautiful scenery Botswana has to offer. Vast open floodplains include lush palm islands. An amazing density of birdlife makes for fascinating photographic subjects. Opportunities for great avian photography include large concentrations of endangered wattled cranes to mantling black herons, Meyer’s parrot, African harrier hawk (formerly the gymnogene), coppery-tailed coucal and the black crake. Jao Camp is a great place for those interested in birdlife and photography.