Currently this is the only one of the Delta’s photography-specific areas (ie: hunting is not allowed) which has no proper safari operation in it. Until about 1999 this was the location for Jedibe Camp, which had long been run by Wilderness Safaris and was one of their earliest camps in the Delta.
I visited Jedibe in about 1996. It was located deep within a maze of deep-water channels and papyrus, and the main activity there was exploring on motorboats. This was superb fun (although motorboats are probably the most expensive activity to run for any camp, given their thirst for fuel!) as the boats could reach some stunning areas of the most beautiful floodplains, as well as exploring the papyrus-lined channels of the main rivers. Mokoro trips, incorporating walks on the islands, were also possible but usually of secondary interest.
However, in 1999 Jedibe’s lease came up for ‘tender’ – which means a re-opening of negotiations between the government, the community (the Okavango Jakotsha Community Trust), and anyone who is interested in taking responsibility for the area’s lease.
Since Jedibe was built, many new mixed land-and-water camps have come into existence in the Delta, and proved very successful. Furthermore their range of game drives and water activities are wider than Jedibe’s options. This left Jedibe looking less commercially attractive, with a very specific, limited niche as a deep-water camp in permanent papyrus running mainly (inherently costly) motorboats. Jedibe’s northerly location, far from Maun, meant expensive transport links and running costs too.
These factors all made Jedibe less commercially attractive, at a time when the local community was expecting to get more for the concession. Eventually no agreement could be made.
This process has now been re-started and as I write (June 30 2002) the deadline for companies to finally deliver their bids is closing. They are asking companies to run a photographic operation in part of the concession for five years. I don’t know if they’ll be able to find a company and make an agreement, or if they’ll hit a stalemate again.
If they succeed, and you do visit this area, then don’t go for the animals. Although there are animals on the islands, this is a deep-water area and you should treat any game sightings as a bonus. Instead come for the bird and water-life. Expect lots of deep, fast-flowing channels and endless banks of papyrus, which periodically open out onto spectacular floodplains.