The Safari Camp to Beat the Rest: Jao Needs to Be on Your Bucket List
The term “bucket list” gets thrown around a lot lately and likened to events or places that aren’t really worthy of a bucket list. But today, we’re bringing you a place full of experiences that lives up to the...
by Heather Ash

The term “bucket list” gets thrown around a lot lately and likened to events or places that aren’t really worthy of a bucket list. But today, we’re bringing you a place full of experiences that lives up to the toughest of bucket list standards: Jao, Botswana. Combining a truly magnificent treehouse stay, unparalleled safari experiences, and environmental conservation, Jao has set the precedent for luxury African safaris… and bucket lists

Situated on the Okavango Delta, Jao’s home base offers some of the most beautiful and fascinating natural experiences found in the world. Operated by Wilderness Safaris, a pioneer of ecotourism, the brand includes several properties across six African countries and protects over six million acres of land. Oh, and did we mention that Bono and Richard Branson actively support the brand and properties? 

What better way to make sure you cross every item off your bucket list than by resolving to do one item each year. Preferably, on your birthday – a birthday bucket list. It’s the perfect intersection to embark on an exhilarating experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Join us as we safari through all the reasons Jao is the perfect place to celebrate another trip around the sun. 

Photography: Dana Allen

African Accommodations 

The contemporary camp is in a league of its own in terms of design, luxury, and amenities – and it’s all brand spanking new, re-opening its doors earlier this year after undergoing a rebuild to make the property even more refined. Sitting on an island of sorts formed by the delta, the new and improved camp is comprised of a series of dreamy treehouses, frequented by your favorites like leopards, giraffes, and red lechwe. 

To keep things exclusive, the property only consists of seven “rooms:” choose either a villa, able to accommodate four people, or a “regular” room, able to accommodate two. No matter what you choose, your room comes standard with a plunge pool, lounge and dining area, en-suite bathroom, and an indoor and outdoor shower. 

The main hub of the camp is a massive treehouse in the canopy complete with a bar, fireplace, and comfy nooks – all overlooking the rich delta region. With safari cars ready to whisk you away and butlers ready to attend to your every need, Jao is a paradise among the plains. 

Photography: Dana Allen | Crookes & Jackson

Wildlife Drives

Botswana is home to some of the world’s most abundant wildlife, and thanks to Jao and Wilderness Safaris conservation efforts, animal numbers are flourishing. Go for a wildlife drive to see some of the local species in their natural habitat, free from hunters and most human interaction. It’s common to witness herds of red lechwe (those cute red deer-like animals) roam the delta, often followed by a pride of lions while giraffes graze in the treetops.

Photography: Dana Allen | Crookes & Jackson


Jao’s purpose revolves around conservation from working with local communities to educating visitors. By working with local communities, poaching is minimized or eradicated and overfishing has slowed down. The onsite water purification system has reduced Jao’s plastic use by 75% and each guest receives a reusable water bottle to further reduce plastic use. The camp is 100% solar-powered and treats all waste in an above-ground plant ensuring it never reaches the land. Finally, Jao employs locals, offering them training and education to take them far beyond property lines. 

Photography: Suné de BruynMatt Artz


previous story
next story

We're The Venue Report and we are SERVING
up the latest breaking reports to your email inbox WEEKLY.

Find out where to host dinner parties, birthday bashes,
weddings, social events; you name it.

We report on the coolest venues across the land,
inside tips, exclusive deals in your city & brand
new venues so you can be the first to host a party there.

Where will you celebrate?
Please Check Your Email
*we will not share your info with anyone