Jao Camp: Information from the owner
- Safari Lodge
- No. of rooms
About this information
All the information on this page is supplied to us directly from the lodge owner and reflects their view, not ours.
For Expert Africa's view, see our own full report on Jao Camp, which contains our own observations and views.
- Last updated by Owner
- 24 Jan 2023
Facilities at Jao Camp
- Property facilities
- Bar, Gym, Internet Access (Complimentary), Library, Pool, Private Vehicle Available, Spa
- Room facilities
- Air Conditioning, Bath, Electrical Outlets, En-Suite, Fan, Fireplace, Hair Dryer, Internet Access (Complimentary), Laundry Service (Complimentary), Lounge Area, Mini Bar, Mosquito Nets, Outside Shower, Plunge Pool, Sala, Tea / Coffee, Verandah
- Activities on site
- Bird Watching, Boating, Catch-and-release Fishing, Game Drives, Mokoro Excursion, Night Drives, Sleep Outs, Walks (Guided)
- Nearby activities
- Cultural Tours, Helicopter Scenic Flights
Room types at Jao Camp
Standard Twin/Double Suites
"Jao" comes from the maXanekwe name "Xao", and in this dialect means "to try something that is good tasting". In baYei it means ‘metsi a tsela a Mashaa’, which translates into" water channel that brings new water".
The camp is multiple award winner and truly a place of immense wonder. Wilderness Jao is a sculptural marvel, a beautiful blend of natural and recycled materials, of steel, wood and glass, with towering spacious interiors that embrace the natural light and resplendent bush surrounds.
Two ultra-luxurious villas with each comprising two identical tents (four beds in total), each with own en-suite facilities, sharing a lounge and dining area, private butler, kitchenette with private chef, fire deck and private plunge pool, plus private vehicle and guide.
Wilderness Jao is a place that is dedicated to the preservation of the pristine Okavango Delta and its unique ecosystem, and the Wilderness Jao Villas make for a perfectly sublime sanctuary from which to experience this.
Activities at Jao Camp
Wilderness Jao – Boating *
A boating excursion allows us to reach and explore the more distant waterways and clear, deep channels. Explore the iconic Delta floodplains at Wilderness Jao.
* Water levels permitting.
Wilderness Jao – Fishing *
Fishing with a limited supply of basic equipment (spinner rods and a small range of lures) is on offer seasonally on a catch and release basis.
* Note that fishing is seasonal as it is prohibited by Botswana law in January and February due to breeding purposes.
Wilderness Jao – Full-Day Game Drives & Picnics
Wilderness Jao rests under a fantastic tree canopy on its own remote island, surrounded by a watery garden of channels, reeds, and lilies. A 45 minute boat ride from Wilderness Jao, you can enjoy a full-day game drive, along with a picnic, on wildlife-rich Hunda Island.
Wilderness Jao – Game Drives
Morning and afternoon game drives are offered in open 4x4 vehicles, and reveal the spectacular wildlife diversity of the vast floodplains. Traverse the iconic Jao Reserve in search of game ranging from the elusive Pel’s fishing-owl, to the infamous ‘Jao Mafia’ mongoose gang, to a myriad of big cats, to co-habiting crocodiles and hippos, to a multitude of antelope species, buffalo, and elephant herds.
Wilderness Jao – Gym
For the energetic, there is a gym equipped with a treadmill, elliptical trainer, punch bag for boxing, stationary exercise bicycle, exercise mats, medicine ball, skipping ropes and a range of free weights.
Wilderness Jao – Mokoro Excursion *
There is no better way of viewing the Delta and its wildlife than adventuring by traditional mokoro (dugout canoe). Drift across Botswana's Okavango floodplains, the world's largest freshwater, inland delta. The riverine forest surrounding Wilderness Jao are ideal for spotting smaller creatures amongst the papyrus reeds.
* Water levels permitting.
Wilderness Jao – Night Drives
Night drives with spotlights allow you to find those nocturnal animals you wouldn’t see during the day. Please note that during high water levels, night drives are not possible.
Wilderness Jao – Unwind in the Wilderness at the Jao Spa
Tucked away in amongst palms for privacy, overlooking lush waterways, the Wilderness Jao Spa is an exquisite setting from where you can rest, relax and feel utterly restored. A full menu of therapies from facials to manicures, and a range of signature massage options, may be experienced. A treatment is bound to further inspire guests to fully appreciate Wilderness Jao's extraordinary holistic offering.
Wilderness Jao – Visit Wilderness Jao's Museum & Gallery
A fascinating feature at Wilderness Jao is the museum and gallery, with its emphasis on learning and knowledge sharing of the area and its denizens, from a metres high giraffe skeleton, to geographical maps. In addition, a series of botanical pressings by EE Galpin, known as the 'Prince of Collectors' and one of the pre-eminent botanists of his time, is beautifully showcased here. In fact, he was the great-grandfather of Cathy Kays, co-owner of Wilderness Jao. Included is a fascinating history of the Kays family, who have been rooted in Botswana since the 19th century and today based in Maun, operating Ngamiland Adventure Safaris (NAS) and other ventures.
Other lodges in Okavango Delta Safari Reserves
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
Kwara Camp's private reserve boasts land and water activities year round, with excellent game-viewing opportunities and access to permanent channels of the north-east Okavango Delta.
Little Kwara is an intimate camp offering enthusiastic guiding on both land- and water-based safaris in an area known for good densities of big game.
On a secluded island within a private reserve, Little Vumbura combines superb game viewing with a broad diversity of habitats in a truly picturesque setting.
With experienced staff and a wealth of activities, Shinde offers a traditional safari in an exceptionally varied and wildlife-rich environment.
Chitabe Lediba, in Botswana's southern Okavango Delta, is a small family friendly safari camp; it offers great dry-land safaris and in our experience consistently delivers good game sightings.
Sandibe Safari Lodge
The luxurious Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge lies in a private concession in the heart of the Okavango Delta, beside Moremi Game Reserve, with superb big-game viewing.
In a beautiful part of the Delta, Kanana focuses on fantastic water activities and birding – including exclusive access to an impressive heronry.
In the southern Okavango Delta, the excellent Chitabe Camp concentrates on dry-land safaris in an area that we've found particularly good for wild dog sightings.
Set in the Kwara Reserve, offering superb wildlife viewing year-round, Splash offers both land and water activities led by guides with a particular knack for tracking big game.
Footsteps across the Delta
Small and very rustic, Footsteps across the Delta focuses on walking safaris; it also runs a special children’s programme so is particularly suitable for families.
Tubu Tree Camp
A traditional tented camp with a distinctive tree-house feel, Tubu Tree offers some of the best game viewing in the Jao Reserve.
Nxabega Tented Camp
Nxabega offers a selection of both land- and water-based activities, plus very good guiding, food and service, but game viewing can be somewhat erratic.
Indulgently stylish and luxurious, Vumbura Plains offers superb game viewing and birding on an exceptionally varied private reserve.
Gomoti Plains Camp
Overlooking a tributary of the Gomoti River, Gomoti Plains Camp is a classically designed camp with very comfortable tents in a good game-viewing area.
Jacana Camp is a small safari camp with an informal island feel; it is ideal for water-based activities in the Delta and offers excellent birdwatching.
Deep in the Delta, overlooking a floodplain, Kwetsani Camp is a small, high-end camp with good access to areas for land and water-based activities.
For an affordable yet varied safari encompassing a range of eco-systems, the traditional Mapula Lodge takes a lot of beating.
Duba Plains Camp
Duba Plains Camp is a traditional safari camp, best known for the thrilling lion and buffalo interaction that is often found here in broad daylight.
Baines' Camp is a well-run, intimate camp in a pretty part of the Okavango, offering a range of activities and the option to spend a morning walking with elephants.
In a private concession south of Moremi Game Reserve, Stanley's Camp offers 4WD game drives, seasonal water activities and a superb elephant interaction.
Little Tubu is a new, traditional camp with just three tented chalets and a distinctive tree-house feel. The areas around it can be explored by water and land-based activities year round.
Pom Pom Camp
Pom Pom Camp lies amidst stunning Okavango Delta scenery. Come for idyllic mokoro trips and great birdwatching, and accept that big-game sightings here are a bonus.
Duba Explorers Camp
Intimate and elegant, Duba Explorers Camp promises a firm safari focus in a remote corner of the Okavango, led by a team who value the highest guiding and hosting standards.
In a pristine wilderness environment deep in the Okavango Delta, the seasonal Pelo Camp is tented yet comfortable, with activities focusing on excursions by mokoro.
Xaranna is a plush tented camp amongst the idyllic waterways and islands of the Delta. Each air-conditioned tent has a plunge pool. Water activities and pampering are the focus here.
Seba Camp is a luxury camp in a lovely location that offers the full range of water and land safari activities, depending on the time of year. This camp is particularly suitable for families.
Beautifully located in a private concession overlooking the Gomoti River, the traditional Mma Dinare is very well-priced for the Okavango.
Abu Camp is an exclusive safari camp on the western side of the Botswana's Okavango Delta - offering superb elephant-back safaris and opportunities to walk with them too.
Setari Camp stands on an island dotted with palm trees, close to the base of the Okavango’s ‘Panhandle"
Okavango Walking Safari
The Okavango Delta Walking Safari camps in a secluded Okavango Delta Reserve where there are few roads; the ideal location for a walking trail led by an expert guide.
Xudum Delta Lodge
Xudum is a beautifully crafted lodge well situated to explore the Delta waterways. Each air-conditioned suite has a private plunge pool and a lofty viewing deck with a sala that doubles as a 'star bed'.
Sitatunga Island Camp
Sitatunga Private Island: in this pristine corner of the Okavango Delta, even the name is evocative.
Deep in quintessentially 'Okavango' territory, between deep-water and dry-land habitats, promises to be a great combination from a team who know all about the best in the Okavango.
Eagle Island Lodge
Eagle Island Lodge is a luxurious camp with international-style facilities including air conditioning and intercom in each room; offering water based activities in the Okavango Delta.
Luxurious and contemporary, the relatively new Qorokwe Camp is a gem in the Okavango Delta, offering land- and occasionally water-based activities in a prime wildlife area.