Wilderness Jacana is owned and run by Wilderness. This company boasts an impressive portfolio of properties across Safari Africa! We recommend Wilderness Jacana to travellers seeking both land- and water-based activities in the Okavango Delta. However, out of flood season May to September the latter cannot be guaranteed, so we suggest splitting your stay between Wilderness Jacana and a reliably watery camp (Wilderness Little Vumbura, or Kwara) if you’re travelling during this period. The accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, including all meals, all local drinks, twice-daily scheduled camp activities, park fees, and a laundry service. The camp is open all year round.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The camp is usually accessed via brief road transfer from the local airstrip. It’s situated on a private island within the Jao Reserve, in the scenic western region of the Okavango Delta.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT WILDERNESS JACANA:
Guest accommodation consists of five tents. All are made out of canvas and wood, blending pleasantly with their natural surroundings. Wooden walkways lead to a private deck, on which you’ll find a couple of chairs and a small table. This is a great spot for relaxing and enjoying your views over the Jao Reserve’s seasonal floodplains! Wood-framed sliding doors open into the bedroom, which contains a wide double bed with mosquito netting, lighting on the bed’s headboard, an over-bed fan, a writing desk and chair, and a comfy seating area. Behind the headboard, there’s useful storage space, in addition to a tea-and-coffee station, an electronic safe, and various international adaptors. Continuing towards the back of the tent, you’ll arrive in the washroom, which offers flush toilet, twin washbasins, and walk-in shower. The washbasins are colourful, contrasting with the generally neutral tones of the tent interiors. Finally, every tent has an outdoor shower too!
The communal lodge at Wilderness Jacana is a two-storey timber-and-thatch structure, which also merges seamlessly with the scenery of the Jao Reserve. On the ground floor, there’s the camp’s lovely lounge, which features well-cushioned seating around a coffee table. Wilderness Jacana’s well-stocked bar occupies this level too. Upstairs, you’ll find the dining area, where tables-and-chairs are configured according to guests’ wishes. This is the setting for buffet breakfasts and brunches, tantalising teatime treats, and lavish three-course dinners! During daylight hours, you can marvel at views across the floodplains. The camp also has a friendly fire-pit, where guests gather for drinks and swapping of safari stories. And there’s a highly inviting plunge pool, perfect for relaxation in between trips into the Jao Reserve!
ACTIVITIES AT WILDERNESS JACANA:
As mentioned above, Wilderness Jacana offers both land- and water-based activities, but some of these depend on water levels. Additionally, some depend on the availability of suitable staff members during your stay. All activities reliant on season or staff are indicated by an asterisk in our list below.
Expertly guided game drives- The Jao Reserve covers 60 square kilometres of seasonal floodplains, permanent wetlands, and dry islands. Drives from camp take place during the morning and the afternoon, offering exciting opportunities to view a wealth of wildlife! Among the highlights here are four of the Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, and buffalo – and smaller mammals including cheetah, spotted hyena, wild dog, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, and all sorts of antelopes.
Boating*- You can have a lot of fun exploring the reserve’s waterways on a boat trip! There’s so much to see, not least hippo, Nile crocodile, and abundant waterbirds.
Mokoro excursions*- Why not view the wildlife of the waters from aboard a mokoro, a dug-out canoe? As the mokoro doesn’t have a motor, you’ll be able to listen to the mammals, reptiles, and birds all around you.
Guided walks*- Set out on foot from camp, to learn all about the Jao Reserve’s plants, insects, and vibrant birdlife. Sometimes it’s possible to track big game too!
Catch-and-release fishing*- Wilderness Jacana offers hire of basic equipment for guest use. You could spend an entire afternoon fishing the waterways around camp, catching-and-releasing the likes of pike and bream.
Helicopter trips- This activity incurs an extra cost, but we think it’s worth it. The Delta is a place of astonishing beauty and diversity, and soaring over its waters, savanna, woods, and forests is a truly memorable experience.
*This property is unfenced and located in a wildlife area, so large and potentially dangerous animals do pass through. If you opt to stay here, always be alert when walking around the camp and request for a member of staff to escort you if you have any concerns. Any guest is escorted after dark as a matter of course.