Jao Camp – Wilderness SafarisOkavango Delta / Botswana
Located in one of Africa’s finest safari destinations, Jao sits on a remote island in the Okavango Delta. The camp was rebuilt in 2019, and the wonderful villas and suites at this intimate resort have an elegant, modern design while closely following its founders’ innovative sustainability ethos. It means visitors can truly experience the exotic sights and sounds of the Okavango Delta while supporting this unique part of the world.
What to love
- Jao features a host of eco-friendly innovation, such as the silent evaporative coolers used to keep rooms a pleasant temperature, reduced plastic use, and solar heating.
- The camp is involved in projects that help support local area, and more than 85 per cent of its staff are employed from nearby communities.
- The resort is family friendly, and the two exclusive villas are suitable for up to four guests.
What to know
- As well as day and night time safari drives, guests can explore this breathtaking region via boat excursions, Mokoro dugout canoe or even helicopter trips.
- Jao’s full wellness menu is provided in a space surrounded by ebony trees while overlooking serene waters.
- The two exclusive villas and five twin suites are a lesson in luxury, with spacious lounge areas, private plunge pool and an indoor and outdoor bathroom.
The Okavango Delta in northern Botswana is a safari destination known for its majestic grassy plains, flooded waterways and captivating wildlife. Wilderness safaris, who operate Jao, has taken responsibility to protect and preserve this diverse area. Located in the heart of Okavango, straddled by life-giving forests, this small luxury camp is a leading example of modern eco-thinking: its power is sourced from solar panels; its wastewater is recycled in an above-ground plant; and it strives to reduce plastic use across its site. Its founders also work with the University of Botswana to encourage local engagement with local communities, while creating initiatives curbing poaching and over-fishing in the area.
This conscious way of thinking can be found throughout your stay. Rebuilt and reopened in the summer of 2019, the resort has two exclusive villas (suitable for four people and with a complementary vehicle) and five twin suites all with plunge pools, spacious communal areas, and indoor and outdoor bathrooms. These private spaces are kept to a pleasant temperature with a silent evaporative cooler, which uses a small percentage of the energy that traditional air-conditioning would use.
The resort’s communal areas have a warm, rustic aesthetic. The outdoor pool is sheltered with an intricate latticed pavilion, while the main lounge and bar area is nestled amongst twisting African ebony trees. A private gym is on-hand for a workout overlooking the island’s pretty waterways, while Jao’s secluded spa has an expansive wellness menu for an unmatchable session of relaxation and restoration. The camp’s museum and gallery also shares the botanical and natural history of the area for curious minds.
Jao is a safari camp with spectacular wilderness on its doorstep, and provides its guests with numerous ways to interact with it all. Game drives can be orchestrated to catch the area’s abundant wildlife during the daytime or at night, while guided boat excursions offer a unique safari experience. The camps’s friendly staff can also organise guided walks, catch-and-release fishing, and even helicopter trips over the plains.
When To Travel
Water levels are at their highest during the dry season (May and October), when waters have had the time to flow to the Okavango and created the waterways and channels that the delta is most famous for. Expect sunny days (22C-35C) with cool nights. The green season (November to April) has the odd shower but this can be refreshing and you will benefit from lower prices. There is no bad time to visit.
Jao Camp is situated in the heart of the Okavango Delta. Access is usually by connecting international flights into Maun via Johannesburg. It is then a short 20 mins hop to the local airstrip followed by a 10 mins game drive or boat transfer to the camp.
The Okavango Delta is a sensational ecosystem in which to view and learn about some of Africa's best wildlife. Joa Camp's staff are incredibly friendly and willing to impart their knowledge to any of the planet's fledgling eco-warriors. Wilderness Safaris strive hard to inspire the children of the local communities to cherish their natural inheritance and sponsor many through education to eventually become the highly trained guides that accompany you on safari. The camp also has a museum and reading gallery on site, ideal to further inspiration and education.
The camp remains an un-fenced wild place and, for that reason, the minimum age for guests is 8 years.
The very spacious and ultra luxurious 2 bedroom Villas provide an ideal base for families. The plunge pools are invaluable during the hottest parts of the day when not exploring the Delta.