Jao Camp, Okavango Delta: The Lowdown


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Jao’s one of the more luxurious safari camps in the Okavango Delta, so this is a fantastic option for those who are new to safari and don’t want to rough it too much, or simply prefer a bit of polish to come home to at the end of an exciting day in the bush.

What’s Jao Camp really like? 

Jao has just nine luxurious suites, which include one two-roomed unit for family safaris. The suites themselves are huge, technically tented as they have canvas walls, but easily large enough to form a one bedroomed flat in London or New York. These have their own sitting room, bathroom with tub and outdoor shower, an outdoor sala providing a shady spot for an afternoon snooze, and views over the floodplains. Décor is castaway-luxe with wood polished to a gleaming hue, thatched roofs, plenty of khaki and the odd flash of glorious colour.
Fitting Jao’s reputation as one of the Okavango Delta’s more luxurious camps, there are a few extras here that you don’t find often elsewhere- two plunge pools for an afternoon wallow, a gym, and a spa that does a good selection of treatments- a massage to the backdrop of birdsong can be rather delightful. There is also a small entertainment room, which works well for children on a family safari. Jao has a good wine cellar and meals are generally excellent, often eaten around one communal table so you can meet your fellow guests and share tales of your daily adventures.

What can I do at Jao? We particularly love the water based game viewing on the Jao concession. There are both gentle, pottery mokoro trips and faster-paced boat safaris in flat-bottomed motor boats. As part of these you can also do catch and release fishing. Please note that all water activities are entirely dependent on water levels in the Okavango Delta, however if the water levels are low, that’s what makes it possible to do a star bed sleep-out as part of your stay at Jao, so each season has its own delights. Please let us know if you want to do this as we need to pre-book it. There are, of course, game drives from Jao too- we were very impressed with the Wilderness Safaris guides. While we particularly loved the landscape on the Jao Concession, and saw a pair of mating lions, the volume as game wasn’t quite as prolific as elsewhere in the Okavango Delta, so we’d suggest spending your time here focused on the water and glorious birding which is really what makes Jao so wonderful.

Giving back at Jao: Remarkably for such a luxurious camp, your accommodation here is entirely solar powered (including the hot water in your tub) and the camp treats all water and waste to avoid polluting this fragile environment. The Jao Concession as a whole is also working hard to reduce conflict between the community and the concession, ensuring that the local community benefits from tourism and poaching and over-fishing are reduced.

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