It is situated in a private reserve on a remote large island, to the west of the Moremi Game Reserve in the heart of the Okavango Delta. Across the waterway in front of the camp, guests have access to open floodplains and savannah for a wonderful Okavango experience.
The Jao Reserve (Wildlife Management Area NG25) is 60 000 hectares in extent and is in the north-western area of the Okavango Delta below the panhandle. The Moremi Game Reserve forms the eastern boundary of the reserve.
A raised walkway connects the rooms to the dining room and lounge area. There is a plunge pool and an outdoor ‘boma’ for dining under the stars, as well as an excellent wine cellar. Jao also offers a Salon with a full-time therapist, offering a wide range of massage treatments.
Guests are accommodated in nine large and spacious rooms. Each of the unique and beautiful twin-bedded canvas and thatched rooms has been individually handcrafted under the direction of renowned architects Sylvio Rech and Leslie Carstens. The rooms are built under a canopy of shady trees, with en-suite bathroom, hot and cold running water, a large bath and double vanity.
There is an additional outside shower under the stars for those more adventurous guests who want to shower closer to nature. There is an outdoor “sala” for guests to enjoy midday siestas with a view and a breeze. The rooms are raised off the ground and offer wonderful views of the surrounding floodplains.
A variety of habitats ensures diverse and interesting game viewing. The wildlife at Jao depends largely on the water levels in the area. The lagoons are home to Hippo and Crocodile and the permanent waterways and floodplains attract large numbers of waterfowl. In the permanent waters, Sitatunga can be tracked silently by mokoro.
From October to March the waters subside and extensive green open plains are the highlights. This is where the game viewing is the most diverse. Lion, Cheetah and Leopard are plentiful, while Tsessebe, Red Lechwe, Zebra, Giraffe, Warthog and Wildebeest dot the flood plains. Large herds of buffalo move in and out of the reserve at will. Night drives are good for spotting creatures not often seen such as Porcupine, Spotted Hyena, Pangolin, Spring Hares, Bushbabies, Civet and Genets.
During our winter months, the water levels at Jao rise and the savannah areas become inundated with water. Huge herds of Lechwe can be found on the floodplains and the Lion prides are adept at hunting and drowning their prey in the water. Leopards are still often seen and Elephants are more prevalent at this time. Plains game such as Impala, Zebra, Wildebeest and Tsessebe stick to the dry islands. During this time the focus at Jao switches more to water activities with limited game drives on the larger islands. A greater choice of activities is also possible at this time of year due to these higher water levels.