Jao Camp has been crafted to high standards of comfort and luxury. It is a secluded wonderland, with very few other people around. It has high densities of game, great cuisine, great service, and a world-class wine cellar. Jao Camp is the perfect place to get away from a busy schedule.
What makes Jao Camp special?
Jao Camp is nestled on a large island that borders the permanent delta, and overlooks the seasonal floodplain. It is an ideal base for a water based Okavango safari, with activities focusing on boat and makoro trips. It is a true wetland paradise, surrounded by deep channels and lush vegetation, and offers a wildlife experience from a completely different perspective.
Jao Camp is nestled on a large island in the heart of the private Jao concession, bordering the permanent delta. The Okavango Delta differs from most wildlife areas in southern Africa because of the extremes of its wet and dry seasons. The water from the Angolan highlands takes about 4 months to make its 1 200 km journey to the Okavango, and by the time it reaches the delta, it is already deep into the dry winter season. As the floodwaters of the Okavango rise, one of the largest inland deltas in the world appears.
Animals and birds migrate here in their thousands from the arid Kalahari regions that surrounds it as 1 500 square kilometres of land transform into a network of waterways, forested islands and open grassy plains.
Jao Camp overlooks the seasonal floodplain, where the wide variety of animals that occur here have had to adapt to the waterlogged conditions and have come up with ingenious ways to survive and thrive. Leopards have learnt to hunt the semi-aquatic letchwe in waist deep water, and lions swim to islands in order to ambush the large herds of buffalo. It is a fantastically exciting place to see animals behaving in ways seldom seen anywhere else in the world.
Jao Camp has 9 luxurious tented suites, including one specially designed family unit, and one romantic honeymoon suite. Each of the 9 rooms have an inside and an outside shower for guests that want to experience the thrill of getting closer to nature, air conditioning for the warmer summer nights, and even yoga mats. Each suite is under a permanent thatched roof in case of rain in the summer months, and has a private sala lounge set in the shade of ancient trees, a perfect place for a midday nap, quiet time with a good book or just to enjoy the adorable sight of the family of mongooses that have decided to make the wooden walk ways surrounding the camp their home.
The main areas of the camp are inviting, well situated and connected to the suites via a series of wooden platforms. The thatched main deck, bar and indoor dining areas look out over the marsh, where herds of animals wade around in the shallow waters, and elephants and buffalo make the most of a midday mud bath. The deck is equipped with spotting scopes, and hours can be spent searching the trees for a glimpse of a rare bird or well-camouflaged predator hiding in the distant tree line.
Jao Camp has a well-furnished gym, and a comfortable library. However, nothing is more relaxing than a massage in the private spa room after a hard day being bumped around on a game drive. The camp shop is good place to buy beautiful locally crafted presents for envious friends and relatives.
With all the fantastic game and bird viewing opportunities, it is not surprising that the day revolves around the many possibilities there are on offer. In the summer months when the floodwaters are low, game drives are offered in the mornings and evenings. As the waters begin to rise, 4x4 vehicles are often replaced by game viewing boats or makoros. Early mornings see bleary eyed guests meeting for a quick cup of coffee before heading out for a morning activity of game viewing, fishing, or day trips and picnics to the nearby Hunda Island – a must see during the wet season. After a busy morning, followed by a well-deserved brunch, the middle of the day is left entirely up to guests.
Afternoon high tea is the cue to head out on another adventure. Evening cocktails and dinner are either served in the ‘boma’ or in the cosy indoor dining areas around roaring fires, and after a fascinating star gazing presentation given by the knowledgeable guides, one last cup of coffee is in order before dozing off, surrounded by the sounds of nature at its most pristine. One of the special treats at Jao is a sleep-out on a raised game viewing hide, where you can completely immerse yourself in the sounds and smells of the African night.