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Jao Area of the Okavango

NG25 - The Jao Consession







The Jao Concession 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 concession.

The Okavango rests between shallow fault lines at the end of the Great African Rift Valley. Deserts are low on annual rainfall and the Okavango Delta is no exception. However, each year floodwater flows into the Okavango from its source in the moist African highlands over 1000 km away. These floodwaters flow from their catchment southwards and into the Kalahari Desert to create a unique wetland that supports and sustains a huge diversity of wildlife.

Lying as it does in the very heart of the Delta, the Jao Concession 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 Concession, 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; Jacana Camp is built on one such lush and thickly forested island.

In the central region of the concession, vast open floodplains provide some of the most stunning scenery of the region, with beautiful islands fringed with riverine forests. Further west the area gets progressively dryer and Hunda Island, which is the tip of a large 'sand tongue,' is the largest area of dry land in the vicinity during the flood season. Hunda Island has sandveld vegetation supporting many species of nutritious acacia and grewia shrubs which provide excellent browsing.

It is perhaps the birds for which the true wetland areas of the Okavango are best known however. The largest concentrations of endangered Wattled Crane are found in this area and Slaty Egrets, Rosy-throated Longclaws and African Skimmer are some of the specials that can be seen. Hallowed species such as Pel's Fishing-Owl and Slaty Egret are found alongside more conspicuous and commonly seen Coppery-tailed Coucal, Pygmy Goose, while the specialised African Skimmer (from which Wilderness Safaris takes its logo) may be seen on the larger lagoons and channels.

The concession is set in the most densely populated wetland area for sitatunga antelope and red lechwe, and of course hippo and crocodile are regularly sighted. In the dry season lechwe, tsessebe, elephant, wildebeest and zebra occur here, and lion, cheetah and leopard are often sighted on the floodplains. The lion prides in this area have been extensively studied in recent years, thereby building up a more intimate knowledge of their behaviour.





  

 

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