Jao Camp – Wilderness Safaris in Botswana, Africa
Okavango Delta, Botswana
All images courtesy of Wilderness Safaris
Botswana is a landlocked country located just north of South Africa and south of both Namibia to the northwest and Zimbabwe to the northeast. Botswana’s terrain is flat, 70% of which is covered by the Kalahari Desert located in the center of the county. Botswana is widely regarded for its wildlife and safari tours that are offered throughout the county in protected region. One such area is the Okavango Delta, situated in the northern part of Botswana. This enormous area of winding waterways, swamps, and islands form the largest inland delta on earth. Unlike most deltas, the waters flow inland, emptying into a vast wetland that touches the Kalahari Desert, comprising a variety of wildlife habitats ranging from permanent waterways and lagoons on the one extreme to thick Kalahari soils on the other. In the center lie vast open floodplains that provide some of the most stunning scenery Botswana has to offer.
Dear friends returned from safari in Botswana raving about Jao Camp—describing the experience with one word: stunning. Situated in the Okavango Delta on an island and beneath a canopy of shady trees, Jao Camp is comprised of nine elegant and spacious tents, each individually handcrafted. The canvas and thatched en-suite rooms are built on raised decks with spectacular views of the surrounding floodplains. Jao Camp offers plunge pools, dining under the stars, bar & lounge, a well-stocked wine cellar, and spa treatments—luxurious safari at its best.
While at Jao Camp, day and night game drives at feeding times are a must-do in order to witness the abundance of wildlife in Botswana. During high flood season, game drives begin by boating to a nearby island where vehicles are waiting. Each drive is unique, but the Okavango Delta supports a rich and distinctive ecosystem that includes large herds of elephants, an abundant quantity of birds and aquatic creatures—one has the opportunity to happen across a wide assortment of indigenous species such as lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, hippo, and crocodile. When in the company of some of the friendlier exotica, what a perfect setting for bubbles and a picnic … don’t you think?
My aforementioned friends described their experience at Jao Camp: “The entire camp was like Africa meets Indonesia—beautifully styled. They warned us that we wouldn’t want to leave once we’d checked in and they were right. The word ‘tent’ doesn’t really do the room justice. We were awed by the views of the floodplains from our room, waiting for the first light of the new dawn to see the view. We went in the wet season so had to get about everywhere by boat, so it really was a water safari experience for us. Flying between camps and being waved off by rangers in the small planes and seeing the animals underneath is something I will never forget. A bit scarey, as you have to be very respectful of the hippos, especially whilst in a dugout canoe. The rangers always radioed ahead when we were returning to the camp and the managers were always there to welcome us back from every expedition. Rangers were accommodating, very knowledgeable and they served ‘sundowners’ to us early evening in the jeep in a beautiful spot. One evening after dinner, the whole staff came out of the kitchen and sang a song called Beautiful Africa—another special moment followed by a captivating dinner round the camp fire.”
Wilderness Safaris is a responsible luxury ecotourism company that operates tours at Jao Camp and many others in Africa. The goal of Wilderness Safaris is “to share these wild areas with guests from all over the world, while at the same time helping to ensure the future protection of Africa’s spectacular wildlife heritage and sharing the benefits of tourism with local communities.” To book a tour with Wilderness Safaris, we suggest that you contact Classic Africa, a leading provider of travel services to southern Africa.
To experience safari in a remote hideaway, Jao Camp is only accessible by light aircraft so other than your fellow guests and lodge staff, you will not encounter another human—just raw nature in classic style.
Have you experienced an African safari? Are there any favorites that you would like to share? We invite you to share your safari travels with our readers in the comment section below.