Jao - Pioneering Biodiversity Conservation in the Okavango Delta

Wilderness Safaris Jao Camp continues to make a remarkable impact on the biodiversity conservation of Botswana’s Okavango Delta. The completely rebuilt camp’s new Centre of Knowledge museum, resembling a mini “Smithsonian Institute”, will be a platform from which to educate guests on the area’s botanical history, and a world-class research complex where guests can connect with experts and scientists.

“In addition to a number of conservation initiatives that we have been part of for many years, the museum further showcases our deep commitment to the biodiversity protection of the Jao Concession, as well as the Okavango Delta as a whole.  Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Delta embodies the mystique of Botswana’s diverse vegetation that varies from permanent wetlands to semi-arid desert. It is really gratifying to know that we have played an important part in the protection of this habitat and the conservation of its wildlife for two decades”, commented Cathy Kays, co-owner of the Jao Concession.

The main area’s double-storey structure has a gallery on the upper level displaying botanical art, including a series of prints from the National Herbarium in Pretoria; these consist of botanical pressings made by Cathy’s great-grandfather, EE Galpin, a renowned botanist of his time, who had a number of plants named after him. Other key exhibits on display comprise an imposing skeleton of a giraffe (among others), as well as family history and geographical maps of the region.

Jao is also undertaking a citizen science-based bird atlasing programme, enabling guests and keen birders to provide data and seasonal trends on globally important bird populations on a more consistent basis for the concession.