Weather and Water Level
June started with considerably high daytime temperatures reaching up to 30 degrees Celsius and morning temperatures of 15 to 16 degrees. A few days into the month winter came crashing into the Delta with mornings as low as 11 degrees and days reaching no higher than 27 degrees.
The water level is dropping day by day but Jao is fortunately surrounded by water year-round, making boat excursions to Hunda Island and relaxing mokoro rides everyday activities.
A new king has arrived at Jao Camp – a male and two female lions have been seen in the surrounding areas. On their very first day we could hear the male growling around camp in an attempt to mark his territory. The small pride has been spotted around the airstrip and was also seen with a kill – a good sign that they will stick around. A couple of days later we went in search of the lions and caught them in the act! We hope that this continuous mating will bring some little cubs into our concession and will be the beginning of a new pride at Jao.
On one of our day trips the managers, waiters and chef were putting up the surprise brunch for our guests when an elephant came in to see what they were doing. Clearly an area of great interest, lions Salt and Pepper were also spotted in the same area.
On Hunda Island, many giraffe, zebra, buffalo, elephant, warthog and even sitatunga antelope have been sighted on all of our trips. On one occasion, we went in search of leopard and found a young one climbing a tree. We did however have to pass a herd of nervous elephant to get to it. While one of the bulls was clearly unhappy about us being there, we all managed to eventually get to the leopard who was enjoying a kill in the tree.
One night there were sounds of violence nearby. One of our visiting guides told us that these were from fighting hippos. Male hippos typically fight over territory and this time one of them was the clear winner as the next morning we found a dead hippo in the channels. The lions came in to feed off the carcass, making for a real show for our guests.
Sad news is that Moruti (which means 'Shadow'), our "camp" civet was taken by some spotted hyaenas. The hyaena clan is still around and are becoming cheekier day by day - even visiting us on boma evening.
Mongooses, monkeys and baboons are still at the heart of Jao Camp. We found some of our banded mongoose in the entertainment room, presumably having fun. They ran off, leaving a big mess once they were chased out. Monkeys have also been found in the gym jumping, bouncing and balancing on the Pilates balls – clearly they wanted a workout. The baboons love to be seen as well and make regular visits into camp.
Our beloved fruitbats keep on sleeping day by day in our Curio Shop – some free-tailed bats tried to make this their home but the fruitbats have done a good job of keeping them out!
A Verreaux’s eagle-owl has been seen relaxing in the trees of Jao. As this the biggest African owl with a very particular song it was difficult miss it. Continuing with the biggest birds in Africa, a martial eagle was seen with a young steenbok as prey – what an incredible moment. As some guests were departing Jao a female bateleur flew over our heads. It really is a spectacle seeing this beautiful eagle flying around us. A white-browed coucal has also been hanging around camp. In the Delta you can find hundreds of species of birds, and indeed, relaxing with a book on our deck while listening to their songs has no price.
It has been a very busy month at Jao and we try hard to give the best experience to all our guests. Sundowners, bush brunches in our favourite spot at Hunda Island, high teas with our loving staff teaching basket-weaving techniques and our local Bushman Kupira showing the traditional way that his people used to live in the Delta. On our traditional boma nights our staff choir and dancers wow the guests.
Some of our wine connoisseur managers have also delighted our guests with wine tastings. Do not hesitate to ask for a sample of our wine cellar when you come to visit us. You will be amazed to discover how many wines Africa has to offer.
Our little ones have enjoyed a swim in the floodplains and learning pole the mokoro like real Batswana!
A highly enjoyable time, the staff and the management have been very happy to see a full camp for the whole month and being able to receive guests from around the globe! We hope you all have Africa in your hearts!
Staff in Camp
Managers: William Whiteman, Angie Whiteman, Barend Vorster, Alejandra Pablo Wolf, Cindy Swart, Charl Bergh, Phill Ngisi, Marina Lunga
Guides: Cruise Mollowakgotta, Johny Mowanji, July Mogomotsi and Rasta Taetso