Jao Camp is a sophisticated Okavango Island dreamland of impossible luxury, intelligent design and exquisite beauty. The camp is set in a fairyland of verdant vegetation and surrounded by unsullied channels of incredible diversity. The entire camp is raised on wooden decking that makes you feel like you are an active participant in the delta life exploding all around you. The main areas and nine capacious suites allow you to completely disconnect and immerse in this wilderness wonderland while being pampered in every possible way.
The main area at Jao is a delightful split-level affair that affords incredible views out over the diversity of delta life below. The lower level vaunts a library and sumptuous sitting room where you can devour literature on the phenomena of the Okavango or relax into a novel while keeping an eye on the action in the water below. There is also a gift shop stocked with tasteful artefacts from the region and any necessity you may have left at home.
Following the sprawling decks from the lounge will lead you to a luxurious spa where the treatments will infuse you in Okavango peace or the gym will help you work off some of Jao’s endless gastronomic delights. A dip in one of the two beautiful pools is a fantastic way to break the midday heat.
The upper level, reached from an extravagant wooden staircase, boasts a bar, dining area and opulent lounge where the elevation affords panoramas of the distant islands across the flood waters. While you sip on your favourite cocktail, herds of red lechwe might stream through the shallows or a lazy elephant bull might wade through water in search of island sustenance.
The nine suites are simply out of this world – brilliantly blended into the trees, they are airy, spacious and completely private. A double vanity bathroom with indoor and outdoor showers, leads into a king-size bedroom and onto a wide tranquil lounge. All of the three rooms lead seamlessly onto a private deck shaded by the verdant green and fringed with crystal waters.
Out in the water wonderland
Jao is surrounded by water all year round which means the water-based activities are always a highlight. Spend the day out in the wilderness exploring the narrow channels from a glass-bottomed mokoro and chance to see a rare sitatunga antelope in the reeds. Discover the islands on foot and then picnic in the shade of a giant fig tree, while an old elephant feeds quietly in the shaded distance.
Travel the wider channels on a flat-bottomed boat and see buffalo bulls lounging in the shallows while hippos surface in an exuberant spray. You might even like to throw a line out into the water for a ‘catch and release’ experience with an Okavango tiger fish.
While there is a lot of water, the islands provide excellent game drive areas where you can follow the prides of Jao lions as they search for the abundant herds of plains game. When the sun has set, spot lit excursions will allow the chance to see one of Jao’s numerous leopards.
Sleep under the stars
The Jao star beds are an opportunity for complete immersion in the wilderness. Spend the night out away from the lodge, suspended by the Milky Way and floating above the primal Okavango – surrounded by the singing of the frogs, the symphony of crickets and the chorus of nighjars and owls.
Travelling to Jao
Arriving at Jao is an experience in itself. Your launch pad into the Okavango is Maun which is serviced daily from Johannesburg, Kasane and Windhoek. From Maun, the excitement mounts with a low-level light aircraft flight over the patchwork water and island splendour of the Okavango. Your Jao guide will meet you at the airstrip and convey you to the opulence and serenity of the camp.
Jao is but the beginning
Iconic Africa believes that southern Africa has an incredible amount to offer and we recommend that Jao form only part of your itinerary. Why not begin in the far south of Africa – on the Atlantic coast of Hermanus, in the cosmopolitan and natural wonder of Cape Town or in Franschhoek, the world’s most beautiful wine region. From there Jao is an excellent next step. A short hop across to Victoria Falls offers the opportunity to experience the adventure and luxury of the old world. To complete your southern African journey, Iconic Africa recommends a safari in one of the world-famous, luxury lodges of the Kruger National Park.
Jao is the epitome of luxurious living enveloped in a sense of serenity and beauty that only the Okavango can offer. The wildlife is abundant, the hospitality outstanding and the comfort beyond compare.