Exploring the Okavango with Wilderness Safaris

Last month our Director, Murray Gardiner, swapped the streets of Cape Town for the cool, clear waterways of Botswana’s Okavango Delta. He spent five days in the delta and wetlands of Linyanti, each day at a different camp owned and operated by Wilderness Safaris.

Here is a small taste of his Okavango Delta safari.

Pelo Camp

“Getting to Pelo Camp is an adventure in itself as you touch down in the delta, then take a short road transfer followed by a 30-minute boat trip through reed-lined channels. This water-based camp has just five tents tucked amongst the trees on a heart-shaped island (“pelo” means “heart” in Setswana).

“Water levels were high, so there weren’t a lot of animals about. We did see some elephant and the rare sitatunga antelope, but the focus here isn’t on big game. Rather, this is a true wilderness experience in a remote and beautiful location. The setting is wonderfully peaceful, and along with mokoro (traditional dug-out canoe) safaris you can be taken by boat to larger islands for guided walks.

In short:

  • Remote, water-based camp
  • 5 tents, each with a great outdoor shower
  • Mokoro & walking safaris
  • Fantastic for photography
  • True wilderness experience
Pelo Camp mokoro safari
Setting out from Pelo Camp in a mokoro (traditional dugout canoe).
Mokoro safari in the Okavango
The delta’s smaller creatures: a malachite kingfisher and painted reed frog.

Jao Camp

“Surrounded by seasonal floodplains, Jao Camp has nine tented suites each opening onto a private deck with a sala (daybed) that’s great for those lazy hours between game viewing activities. The suites are really spacious with dark wood interiors giving them a Balinese feel.

“Jao Camp offers both land and water-based game viewing. We went on a mokoro safari and were treated to sightings of beautiful water lilies, smaller creatures such as the painted reed frog and an incredible collection of birds. This is the only Wilderness property in the delta with a spa.

In short:

  • 9 spacious tents with private ‘salas’
  • Game drives & mokoro safaris (depending on water levels)
  • Spa offering a range of massage treatments
  • WiFi connectivity (should you need it)
Jao Camp in the Okavango
Jao Camp has nine beautifully-designed tents shaded by a canopy of trees.
Tents at Jao Camp
Each tent is wonderfully spacious, and has a private deck with a sala.

Vumbura Plains

Vumbura Plains lies in a massive private concession known for excellent game viewing. At the time we visited (in May) the grass was high making wildlife trickier to spot. Still, we had some good sightings including elephant and sable antelope wandering right up to camp.

“In addition to mokoro safaris, game drives and walking safaris, Vumbura Camp offers hot air balloon flights over the delta. During our short stay, we opted to go fishing and were treated to fantastic sundowners out in the Africa bush. As for the food, it was some of the best we’ve had on safari!

In short:

  • Massive private concession
  • Elephant wander right up to camp
  • Food is outstanding
  • Hot air ballooning from April to September
Lounge at Vumbura Plains
Relaxing in Vumbura’s outdoor lounge, watching elephant browse the trees.
Activities at Vumbura Plains
A quiet spot of fishing, and a sundowner stop to remember!


DumaTea is a luxury tented camp in Linyanti Private Reserve. This region is a haven for elephant, but the game viewing, in general, is superb. A highlight of our game drive was seeing a wild dog kill, the pack closely followed by a clan of hyena.

“This stylish camp sits right on a lagoon and has a fantastic deck extending out into the water. In the evening we had sundowners on their luxury barge, relaxing on cushioned couches and snacking on canapés as we cruised down the river past wildlife at the water’s edge.”

In short:

  • Right on the water
  • Beautiful floating deck
  • Good predator sightings: saw wild dog & hyena
  • Barge trip on the river
DumaTau Camp
DumaTau sits right on the water with a deck extending out into the lagoon.
River deck and wild dogs
Highlights of our short stay included the river deck and our wild dog sighting.

Kings Pool Camp

“Also in the Linyanti, the ultra-luxurious Kings Pool Camp has nine tented suites overlooking an oxbow lagoon dotted with hippos. Rooms are massive and include a lounge area opening onto a private deck with a plunge pool and thatched sala.

“Again, being in the Linyanti, this lodge delivers consistently good big game viewing. Elephants can be seen throughout the day, and our game drive included a sighting of a leopard with her cub. The manager at Kings Pool is a keen photographer, and happy to help guests get the most out of their cameras.”

In short:

  • Very luxurious lodge
  • Massive rooms with private plunge pools
  • Lie in bed listening to hippo
  • Good for keen photographers
Kings Pool Camp
Herds of elephant are often seen around Kings Pool Camp.
Highlights at Kings Pool
Our suite with private plunge pool, and an up-close leopard sighting.

Travel File

Browse our selection of Okavango Delta lodges and camps. Or get in touch with a Senior Travel Consultant for help in planning your own bespoke Botswana Delta itinerary.