Jacana: Two Decades of Changing Children’s Lives

Cathy Kays, co-owner of The Jao Reserve in Botswana’s wild and beautiful Okavango Delta, shared an impressive fact with us… did you know, the Kays’ magical Jacana Camp has hosted Children in the Wilderness camps every year since 2002! That’s some two decades of changing children’s lives through inspiring positive action, hosting a total of 728 children over 3 254 bednights to date (December 2019).

Our 2019 Eco-Stars cover girl, Thato Mogotsi, on camp at Jacana

Says the vivacious and energetic, multi-talented Cathy, who is an accomplished bush pilot, “We value little people as they will grow up to be the future conservers of our environment. We know that given the right exposure in life, it is possible to open their eyes and make them think about the impacts we as humans have on the environment.

“We have a wonderful opportunity to expose them to tourism and conservation in a positive, fun-filled and educational manner through the help of the CITW programme, and it is a privilege for us to be able to participate through making a camp available to the children every year.

“Our own experience as parents and grandparents has shown us that only good can come of introducing children to the wonders of the natural life at a very young age. Children that have been through the programme often go home and educate their families about protecting wild animals and looking after the environment.

“In addition, the children on the programme come from the villages on the western side of the Delta, and this has had the benefit of creating goodwill between us and the communities. “People cannot conserve what they don’t know”. Wise words indeed, Cathy!


Read the latest edition of ECO-STARS online, or look for it in Wilderness Safaris camps from January 2020.