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Okavango Delta
Destinations | Africa | Botswana | Okavango Delta | Kwetsani Camp

Kwetsani Camp Properties |

Kwetsani Camp
Five Spacious Tree-House Chalets

The large elongated island on which Kwetsani is built is heavily wooded, cool and shady with Palm, Mangosteen and Fig trees and is one of the most remote camps in the entire Okavango Delta. Kwetsani Camp is raised on stilts beneath a shady canopy. Five wonderful, spacious tree-house chalets are built under thatched roofs, with wood, glass and a little canvas. All have en-suite facilities including a shower, flush toilet, twin basins and an additional outdoor shower for those who like showering in the open air. The camp overlooks an enormous floodplain dotted with Lechwe and Wildebeest. Guests can lie in their rooms, or in the pool, and watch the animals in front of the camp. All the Okavango's large predators are found here.
Kwetsani Island - Okavango Delta, Botswana


Year Round

Botswana is an all-year-round wildlife destination. However, there are certain seasonal concerns of which groups with special interests should take note: The best birding months are November - March, when the delta is brimming with migratory birds. The best botanical months are December - May, when the vegetation is lush and green and most plants are in flower. Botswana’s popularity as a destination is such that seasonal differences are not as marked as in other African destinations. Traditionally, however, peak season is from July to October and middle season is from May to June. Note that availability is at a premium during these seasons so you will need to book well in advance. November to April is a less popular time for travel to Botswana. This is the wet season, and due to the abundance of water, it is less certain that one will see wildlife at perennial water holes. Also, the heavy rains can make dirt roads impassable.
Games Drives, Boating, Fishing, Walking Safaris & Night Drives.

Activities include mokoroing, walking on palm-fringed islands and game drives during the day and night. Due to high flood water levels, the night drives are currently restricted to an hour's drive around the camp island. In the height of the Okavango's annual floods, boats are used to get around the area and also to transfer to the islands where the game viewing vehicles are located. Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Wild Dog, Buffalo and Elephant are all found in this area, as well as good concentrations of Zebra, Wildebeest, Giraffe, and all the plains game.
Local Info

The Jao Reserve (Wildlife Management Area NG25) is 60,000 hectares in extent and is in the north-western area of the Okavango Delta below the panhandle. The Moremi Game Reserve forms the eastern boundary of the reserve.

Lying as it does in the very heart of the Delta, the Jao Reserve embodies all the magic and mystique of the Okavango. Narrow water channels cut their way through the papyrus and reed beds in the permanent delta to the north and east of the reserve, providing the perfect environment for the elusive sitatunga and the rare Pel's Fishing Owl. Beautiful lush palm islands dot the water, begging to be explored. In the central region of the reserve, vast open floodplains provide some of the most stunning scenery of the region. This area of the reserve has beautiful islands fringed with riverine forests. Further west the reserve gets progressively dryer and Hunda island which is the tip of a large sand tongue is the largest area of dry land during the flood season. Hunda island has sandveld vegetation supporting many species of nutritious acacia and grewia shrubs which provide excellent browsing.

Jao and Kwetsani Camps are situated on islands with breathtaking scenery and have a great diversity of activities on offer. The largest concentrations of endangered Wattled Crane are found in this area. The birdlife is simply stunning: Slaty Egrets, Pink-throated Longclaws and African Skimmers are some of the specials that can be seen. The lion prides in this area have been studied for the past 5 years by our resident guide, Grant, and a good record has been built up allowing us more intimate knowledge of their behaviour. Jacana is a traditional Delta water camp, built on a small exquisite wooded palm island. Tubu Tree Camp is situated in the area with the most palatable grasses and the largest area of permanently dry land and so usually has the more abundant game viewing experience. There are two platform hides in the Reserve.

Only 48 beds are developed in 4 camps in the entire remote reserve, ensuring an exclusive and personal wilderness experience. The majority of the staff in the camps are locals from the area, either BaYei tribesman or MaXaniqwe (River Bushmen) and know the area like the back of their hands. Many of these people were born on islands nearby and have an intimate knowledge and passion for the area which is hard to beat. They take great joy in imparting their local knowledge and culture to our visitors and love sharing their singing and dancing with guests. Many of our guests rate their interactions with the staff as the most enjoyable element of their stay.

Although this Wildlife Management Area is a hunting concession, a moratorium has been declared on hunting. Every year we reserve our quota, so that those animals cannot be re-allocated to another area and are thus saved from being hunted. We believe that with the same level of protection that the Moremi Game Reserve has enjoyed over the past 40 years, the Jao Reserve has the potential as a wildlife area equal to that of the Moremi.
Owners & Hosts

Cathy and David Kays and their families are the long-term leaseholders of Jao Reserve. The Kays are one of Maun's oldest families. David's great grandfather first came to Ngamiland in 1887. In 1912 the Kays family settled in Tsau, at that time the headquarters of the Batawana tribe (Maun was not yet founded). When the Batawana tribe decided to establish a new village at Maun and move its headquarters there in the mid-twenties, the Kays family moved with them. David's father, Ronnie, was instrumental in advising the Batawana Tribal Authorities on the formation of Moremi Game Reserve and assisted in the demarcation of the reserve's boundaries. Like all families raised in and around the Okavango, wildlife was in their blood, and they spent most of their lives out in the bush. When they won the rights for the Jao Reserve in the recent tender process, they were determined to make this Botswana's finest reserve. They turned their backs on hunting, even though it is allowed in this reserve. They are only the second reserve in Botswana not to hunt, when hunting is allowed. They have decided to focus all their efforts on developing Jao into a superb photographic reserve, but in the process they lose about US 300,000 in hunting revenue every year to ensure great game viewing and a superb wildlife product in the long term. The two camps they have built - Jao and Kwetsani - are two of the top camps in the Okavango.
Kwetsani Camp is a five-roomed luxury tented camp located in a private reserve west of Mombo and to the west of the Moremi Game Reserve.
The large elongated island is heavily wooded with palm, mangosteen and fig trees, and Kwetsani is one of the most remote camps in the entire Okavango Delta. Kwetsani Camp is raised on stilts beneath the shady canopy, overlooking the expansive plains. All the Okavango big game can be found here, and there are excellent chances of spotting the predators. Activities at Kwetsani Camp include mokoro-ing (a mokoro is a dug-out canoe), walking on palm-fringed islands, and game drives during the day and night. Lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, buffalo, and elephant are all found in the Kwetsani area, as well as good concentrations of zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, and all the plains game.

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