A guide to the Okavango Delta concessionsRead More
The vast Jao Concession consists of 60 000 hectares (150 000 acres) and lies in the north-western area of the Okavango Delta, situated just below the Okavango Panhandle. The Moremi Game Reserve forms the eastern boundary of the Concession.
The Jao Concession is found in the heart of the wetlands of the Okavango Delta. Here vegetation changes from permanent swamps to dry land and you will be immersed in the full variety of the mystery and magic of Botswana’s landscape.
The Jao Flats are situated in the east of the Jao Concession and boast water channels that navigate the attractive, untouched papyrus and reed beds: these provide the perfect environment for wildlife. You will also see many delightful lush palm islands which scatter the water.
As you travel west, the Jao Flats becomes dryer. Hunda Island is the tip of a large ‘sand tongue’ and during the inundation of July to September it forms the largest area of dry land in the Jao Concession. Hunda Island has sandveld vegetation supporting many species of nutritious acacia and grewia shrubs; wildlife is attracted to this excellent browsing.
Around the Jao Flats, spectacular herds of red lechwe are followed by their predators – lion and leopard. Hippo and Nile crocodile are regularly sighted. Other game includes blue wildebeest, impala, tsessebe, southern giraffe, elephant, hippo and crocodile, spotted-necked otter and even the occasional sitatunga. The drier west is home to similar species, but visitors are likely to view greater concentrations of Burchell’s zebra and blue wildebeest.
Birding is exceptional in the Jao Concession: vulnerable wattled crane, slaty egret, rosy-throated longclaw, Pel’s fishing-owl, and lesser jacana are found on the eastern side, with the western drier areas hosting crimson-breasted shrike, Dickinson’s kestrel and Meyer’s parrot. Other exciting species in Jao include swamp nightjar and brown firefinch.
Reeds and acquatic grasses give the Jao concession its watery, paradisiacal palm island character that many people think of as classic Okavango Delta. Bulrushes stand tall above the water with their brown velvet seedpods and spike an iconic sight. Of course there are thick stands of papyrus with their fan shaped heads. Hippo grass covers the plains. Water lettuce waves in the currents below the crystal clear waters. There are plenty of islands of wild date palms (phoenix reclinate). Magic gwarri is a small bush whose wood has magical powers according to local beliefs. Some drier areas have Kalahari appleleaf and also the ‘toothbrush bush’ or Kalahari star apple and also various vachellia (previously known as acacia).
By light aircraft only.
Dry season game viewing is best here as densities of game increase. Elephants and buffalo will be seen as the dry season progresses. This is an area of permanent water so there are no seasonal restrictions on those experiences. However, rates are significantly lower in the summer months and there is still an excellent game experience in those months.
Pelo Camp, meaning ‘heart’, takes its name from the distinct heart-shaped island located within the Jao Concession on which it is built. Pelo is a rustic camp offering a remote, genuine and adventurous safari experience. Situated deep in the Okavango Delta and lying in a true wetland area, Pelo Camp is operational between 01 March and November every year. Discreet game viewing and being at one with nature is what makes Pelo special.
Small, relaxed and characterful, Jacana is a lovely little camp and newly stylish since a rebuild in 2019. Hidden on a tropical palm island, the camp is utterly private. Jacana is, for most of the year, completely surrounded by water and is a lovely contrast to camps whose focus is big-game and open plains. Water activities are the mainstay here; enjoy the superb birdlife and aquatic splendour of a true Delta experience.
Jao Camp is a flagship Wilderness Premier Camp and is one of the Delta’s most luxurious camps. Set on the Jao concession in the north western Okavango, the camp is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery to be found anywhere in this pristine wilderness. Completely rebuilt in 2019, Jao returns as one of the most opulent camps in the Okavango with five suites and two villas. Each villas comes with its own private vehicle, guide, chef and butler.
Small, exclusive and luxurious, Kwetsani Camp is suspended high in the tree line of a palm-fringed island on the pretty Jao concession. The beautiful surroundings here offer a complete immersion in a classic Delta landscape. Water and land activities are conducted, though vary with the transformation of the flats with the arrival of the annual flood. Kwetsani Camp is sophisticated and yet understated with smart rooms which make the most of the fabulous views of the floodplains.
A small luxurious camp on game-rich Hunda island with only three tents: experiencing the Delta doesn’t get more intimate than Little Tubu. Set deep within the large 600kms private concession, Little Tubu offers varied landscapes and activities. Winding, wooden platforms create a treehouse atmosphere while the sleep-out deck offers the chance of an adventurous night beneath the stars.
Built into the trees, Tubu Tree Camp has a charming tree-house atmosphere with a series of high wooden walkways connecting the rooms and main areas, with fabulous views of the floodplains. Tube Tree is situated on the famous Jao Reserve, along the western edge of Hundu Island which offers the best game viewing on the reserve. Its excellent location allows access to both wet and dry habitats showcasing full splendour of the Okavango Delta.
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