Jao Camp

Okavango Delta & Moremi, Botswana

On Request

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Jao Camp

In the central region of the Jao concession, vast open floodplains provide some of the most stunning scenery Botswana has to offer. Jao Camp lies in the southern side of the plains, an area with beautiful islands fringed with riverine forests.


We Love
  • All drinks are included in the nightly tariff, with the exception of premium wines, champagne, and premium liqueurs and spirits.
  • Jacana Camp is involved in the Jao Lion Monitoring Project to monitor the movement, social behaviour and condition of individual lions.
  • Jao Concession holder, David Kays, takes an active part to reduce conflict between the community and the Jao Concession - specifically poaching and over-fishing.
Need to Know
  • Children of 6 years and older are accommodated.
  • The minimum age for boating activities is 6 years and for mekoro activities is 13 years.
  • 30% game drives and 70% water activities (very much dependant on flood levels and time of year). Camp has 220v generator-powered electricity but battery power used for lighting and fans.

The Review

Lying as it does in the very heart of the Okavango Delta, the Jao Concession embodies all the magic and mystique of Botswana. Narrow water channels cut their way through the papyrus and reed beds in the permanent delta to the north and east of the Jao Concession, providing the perfect environment for the elusive sitatunga and the rare Pel's Fishing-Owl.

The Jao Concession is set in the most densely populated wetland area. During the flood from April to September, lechwe are plentiful and lion follow them. Elephant numbers peak from August to November. Plains game is evident and there are good leopard sightings. Hunda Island offers a wide variety of different animals and is a must at least once if accessible. Birdlife is excellent – especially during the summer months.

Why Stay
Jao Camp is located on a remote island in the heart of the Okavango Delta. The camp has nine luxurious tents, each individually handcrafted. The open-plan design of each includes a lounge, dressing area and main bedroom, en-suite facilities with old-style fittings and an outdoor shower. A private sala for afternoon siestas has magnificent views of the nearby channel. The main area is an elaborate two-storey building with lounge and dining area, two plunge pools, a small library, curio shop and a boma for dining under the stars, complemented by an excellent wine cellar. Jao’s spa offers a wide range of massage therapies, and a gym.

With habitats that vary from waterways and lagoons to dry Kalahari grasslands, Jao offers both land and water experiences, depending on annual flood levels. Mokoro, boating, seasonal fishing, and night game drives are usually on offer all year round in one of the most picturesque concessions in the Delta.

There are two platform hides in the concession. During an unusually high flood season, game drives begin by boating out to a nearby Hunda Island where the vehicles are waiting, and the drive begins from there. Huge herds of red lechwe can be seen, followed by their primary predator - prides of lion.

Other game typical of Botswana includes elephant, buffalo, leopard, tsessebe, zebra and wildebeest, hippo and crocodile. Many bird species are resident such as Meyer's Parrot, African Harrier Hawk, Black Heron, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Malachite Kingfisher, Hamerkop and Black Crake being some of the avian treasures found at Jao Camp.

Getting There

Jao Camp is located in a private Jao Concession, bordering the Moremi Game Reserve. Maun is the gateway to the Okavango Delta and is accessed by a short 35 min flight on a light aircraft. The flight from Kasane takes one hour and 25 mins. The flight from Kasane to Victoria Falls takes 20 mins but give extra time for customs and immigration. There is a luggage restriction on this flight of 10kg (22lbs) per person, soft sided luggage.


Jao Camp Okavango Delta & Moremi, Botswana

Jao Camp

Rating                     Premier Camp
Type                       Safari Lodge
No of rooms             9
Max Occupants         18 guests plus 1 tour leader
Interests                  Birding, Nature, Wildlife
Location                  Jao Concession


Jao Camp has nine spacious, beautiful tents, each individually handcrafted. These twin-bedded canvas and thatched rooms are situated beneath a canopy of shady trees and have en-suite facilities, as well as an outdoor shower for the more adventurous. Built on raised decks, each has a private sala for afternoon siestas and offers wonderful views of the spectacular surrounding floodplains of Botswana.

In addition to the lounge and dining area, there are two plunge pools and an outdoor boma for dining under the stars, complemented by wines from an excellent wine cellar. Jao Camp also has a spa where a wide range of massage therapies are offered.

Jao Camp - Standard Tents
There are eight tents consisting of six twin bedded tents, two king sized bedded tents. All of the double beds can be pushed together to create double beds. There is one twin guide tent (smaller than guest tent).

Jao Camp - Family Tent
There is one family room that accommodates four guests comfortably but can accommodate five guests on request.

Room details
Luxury canvas cottages with thatch roof and wooden doors are raised off-ground on decks. Cottages have en-suite facilities with bath, his and hers basins, indoor and outdoor showers, slippers and gowns. Soaps, shampoos, hairdryers and insect repellents are supplied. Rooms have ceiling fans, a safe and an outdoor sala under thatch. Each room has a veranda with spectacular vistas over the floodplains.

Camp Description
The camp has a dining room, bar and lounge under thatch, raised on decks, overlooking the floodplains. An open air boma is used for dinner around campfire. There are two plunge pools and spa (“Under the Leaves Safari Retreat”). Gym is equipped with an elliptical cross trainer, rowing machine, stationary bike, work-out mats, exercise ball, rubber bands and free weights. The entertainment room, furnished as a lounge and dining area is suitable for private dining, a children's entertainment area, for playing board games, watching wildlife documentaries or for hosting lectures. There is a small curio shop and library.

Electricity & Water
Camp has 220v generator powered electricity that runs for 7hrs per day when guests are out on activities. When guests return from daily activities, generators are generally switched off (for peace in camp). Inverter system is used for lighting and fans in each guest room 24hrs/day. Plug points are available in each room for charging of batteries and sleep apnoea machines only. Please bring spare battery, charging unit and adaptors. Water is solar-heated and solar-powered hairdryers are provided in rooms.


This camp has 30% Game Drives and 70% Water Activities (but very much dependant on flood levels and time of year). In the summer months, activities tend more towards game drives, whereas in the winter months mainly water-based activities are offered.)

Water game viewing is in 2 x 2-seater glass-bottomed mokoro (dug-out canoe), and 12 x 2 seater mokoro. Boating is in 2 x 12-seater boat used in the waterways to the east of camp.

Game drives via 5 x 10-seater open 4 x 4 Land Rovers each accommodating maximum six guests, allowing all guests an outside seat. All vehicles are equipped with books on trees, birds and mammals along with a pair of binoculars and Peaceful Sleep insect repellent. Full day game drives (with picnic) are undertaken on Hunda Island - a 45min boat ride away from Jao Camp. Night drives are with spotlights.

Fishing is on a catch and release basis (prohibited in January and February for fish breeding purposes). The camp has a small stock of basic rods and reels but if interested bring your own fly fishing equipment.

A raised hide located about 20 minutes from camp (which can be used for sleep-outs - maximum 4 people at a time - and is equipped with a long-drop loo).

Suggested Schedule
Morning wakeup call is between 0500h and 0600h. Morning tea and light continental breakfast before departing for morning activity. Return to campsite by about 1000h for a brunch which has a selection of breakfast and lunch dishes. Afternoons are at leisure or maybe use a spa.

Afternoon tea (at 1600h or earlier in winters) is with a selection of sweet and savoury snacks. This is followed by game viewing activity which generally ends with drinks and snacks for sundowners, returning to the camp around 1900h, depending on the game sightings.

Pre-dinner drinks and snacks are served at the bar around 1930h. These are followed by a three-course dinner. All courses are served at the table except on Mondays (traditional night) when the starter and dessert are served whilst the main course is buffet style. By 2100h the group generally congregates around a campfire where coffee and liqueurs are served.

    Festive Season: 20 December 2013 to 10 January 2014
    Low Season: 11 January 2013 to 31 March 2013
    Shoulder Season: 01 April 2013 to 14 June 2013 & 01 November 2013 to 19 December 2013
    High Season: 15 June 2013 to 31 October 2013


Child Policy
    Children of 6 years and older are accommodated.
    For families travelling with children between 6 and 12 years, private activities need to be booked and paid for.
    Children between 6 and 16 years must share with an adult/s in the same room.
    The minimum age for boating activities is 6 years.
    The minimum age for mekoro activities is 13 years.

Other Policies
    All drinks are included in the nightly tariff, with the exception of premium wines and champagne, and premium liqueurs and spirits.
    Laundry is done on a daily basis and is inclusive in the nightly tariff.
    Curios, massages and/or imported drinks billed to the tent number (and tips/gratuities if requested by the guest) and settled on check out. Payment can be made by cash (US$), travellers’ cheques or the following credit cards: Visa or Master Card.

Taxes and fees
    All taxes and fees imposed by the property, unless otherwise noted, will be added at the time of purchase on AwimAway.
    Guests are responsible for all incidental charges during their stay (e.g., room service, minibar, in-room movies, etc).
    A 10 percent per night service charge will be collected at the AwimAway checkout.

Additional Services
    Rates quoted for additional fees and services are subject to change due to currency conversion.
    Please indicate any requests for additional services to include, airport transfers or city tours in the ‘Tell us more’ field on the contact us page or call AwimAway.com on 0208 350 6199.

Check in & Check out
    Check in:            2:00 PM
    Check out:        12:00 PM
    Minimum stay:       1 night


Jao Concession

Close to the Panhandle in the Delta's north-west, the 6o 000-hectare Jao Concession's vegetation varies from east to west: from the magical Jao Flats — picturesque floodplains with lush palm islands and riparian forest — to the dryer Hunda Island, covered in acacia and mopane woodland and the largest area of dry land locally during the annual floods. Around the Jao Flats spectacular herds of red lechwe are followed by the primary predators — lion and leopard. Other game includes wildebeest, tsessebe, giraffe, elephant, hippo and crocodile. Sitatunga are seen occasionally, and sightings of spotted-necked otter are regular. The drier habitats in the west harbour similar species with greater concentrations of zebra and wildebeest.

Birding is exceptional with large concentrations of endangered Wattled Crane, Slaty Egret, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Pel's Fishing-Owl, and Lesser Jacana on the eastern side; the western drier areas are ideal for Crimson-breasted Shrike, Dickinson's Kestrel and Meyer's Parrots.

Gratuity Schedule
The following is the suggested gratuity schedule only and is subject to service standards:
Guides – £6.00 per person per day
General Camp Staff and Mokor Polers – £3.00 per person per day
Specialist Guides (if applicable) – £6.00 per person per day

When to go

Botswana’s winter is during our British summer, and the weather is hot during the day, but it isn't a stifling heat, and cold at night. The summer months (British winter) can be hot and humid and there is a chance of rain. Botswana has one rainy season which runs between mid-December and runs through to mid-March.

All visitors to Botswana need a valid passport for at least six months, but no visas are required by citizens of most Commonwealth countries, EU countries, USA and other selected countries. A valid return ticket is required. On arrival you’ll get a 30-day entrance stamp.

Visas are also not required by transit passengers, provided they are continuing their journey by the same or first connecting aircraft, and do not leave the airport.

Travellers arriving from or having transited through countries where yellow fever is endemic will be required to show a suitable certificate of vaccination in order to gain entry into the country. This includes endemic countries such Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, as well as of marginal risk countries such as Somalia, Tanzania and Zambia.

Getting There

Jao Camp is located in a private Jao Concession, bordering the Moremi Game Reserve. Maun is the gateway to the Okavango Delta and is accessed by a short 35 min flight on a light aircraft. The flight from Kasane takes one hour and 25 mins. The flight from Kasane to Victoria Falls takes 20 mins but give extra time for customs and immigration. There is a luggage restriction on this flight of 10kg (22lbs) per person, soft sided luggage.

Airstrip Details
Jao airstrip is located 10 minutes’ drive from camp.
Airstrip coordinates: S19.18.59, E022.35.20 and 1100 metres/
Licensed for heavier aircraft up to 5700kg MAUW (maximum all up weight), can take King Airs (all types).
Airstrip services Jao, Kwetsani and Jacana camps.