Jao Camp

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Jao Camp

Jao Camp sits high in a canopy of mangosteen, leadwood and ebony trees, overlooking the Jao Flats. It is one of the Okavango Delta's most extravagant safari camps.

Jao Camp is one of the Delta’s original luxury camps. It is located in the private Jao Concession, 150,000 acres of prime game-viewing territory just west of Moremi Game Reserve, along with its sister camp Jacana.

Jao Camp commands a premium over other luxury camps in the Delta (which aren’t exactly known for their moderate prices to begin with!), and it’s easy to see why. This is a stunning safari camp, with a unique aesthetic—a curious mix of Balinese and traditional safari décor—and gorgeous tented suites. The location, too, is superb, with the camp situated on a remote island in the middle of a network of waterways. The main public areas and rooms are set within the tree canopy, raised on high wooden platforms that provide marvellous views of the surrounding wilderness.

Among Jao Camp’s facilities are a fully-equipped spa offering a range of treatments (a novelty among Okavango Delta safari camps), two plunge pools, and even a small gym, which is quite possibly the last thing we want to see on safari! The main area is a huge, open-air structure split across two levels, and houses a bar, lounge and dining room. The tented suites are equally impressive, each with its own private viewing deck, sala, and indoor and outdoor bathroom facilities. A short distance from the camp is a raised hide and platform where you can sleep-out under the stars.

The location of Jao Camp—amid floodplains and narrow waterways but also close to the dry plains of Hunda Island— allows for a range of activities, with water and land-based game viewing a possibility throughout the year. That said, the water activities are the main attraction here. This is one of the prettiest regions of the Delta, and exploring its narrow channels and lagoons by mokoro boat is a joy. It isn’t big game viewing territory, and the 4x4 safaris are rather limited in scope.

Jao Camp is impressive. However the prohibitive price means that we send very few clients here. It’s worth bearing in mind that the camp was created at a time when there were fewer camps of this quality in the Delta. With increased competition it is questionable whether Jao should still command such a substantial price tag. It is undoubtedly a spectacular camp, both in terms of its design and location. Sadly the rates are equally extravagant.


Jao Camp offers just nine luxury suites, all located high in the trees with private decks that look out over the surrounding floodplains. Constructed of thatch and canvas, the rooms are huge, and even feature their own private salas, extensive bathrooms with standalone bathtubs and indoor and outdoor showers, and large, beautifully-furnished bedrooms. They are connected to the main guest areas via raised wooden walkways.


Meals are typically served around a shared table in the elevated dining area, though you may prefer to dine privately on your deck. A light breakfast of cereals, fruit, yoghurt is followed by a buffet brunch on return from the morning’s game viewing. Dinner is a three-course set menu, usually with two choices of main dish. The menu changes daily and is always creative. Dietary requirements can be catered for but do give advance notice.


Two plunge pools
Bar and lounge
Raised dining area
Curio shop


Mokoro and motorboat safaris
4x4 game drives
Walking safaris (limited in scope)

Child Policy

Jao Camp accommodates children over the age of 12 only. Sister camp Jacana has a rather more liberal child policy, occasionally accepting younger children (at the manager’s discretion).