If you have already been to a traditional land-based Big 5 reserve, try something new in the form of Jao Camp.
I found that the staff at Jao really made the camp. The managers, Rebecca and Clinton, are down to earth, friendly, and truly hospitable, with no pretense about them. Every night there was a big bonfire, where most of the guests would sit around with the staff and chat and enjoy drinks. It was quite nice.
Jao is truly luxury in the delta; unlike a camp near Kruger, there aren't any power or water lines running from a nearby city, so I was astonished at the amenities and structure. We stayed in tent no. 9, the honeymoon suite, which is a bit more removed from the main lodge than the other rooms. We had a wonderful outdoor shower with a view of the delta, a sala with the same view, and a wonderful room. The elevated pathways from room to room and to the lodge are amazing—you feel like you are walking in the trees. Unlike other camps I've been to, there aren't any electric wires or barriers around the perimeter of the camp. We had hippos under our tent every night. On the day we left, we had an elephant walk underneath us. It was a truly unforgettable experience.
Not much has been said about the wildlife at Jao with all the hype about Mombo. I haven't been to Mombo, but there were several couples at Jao who had just come from there, and they said the viewing was comparable, if not better at Jao. One day we took a very long game drive on Hunda Island. We left at about 6am on a boat for a wonderful 45 minutes through reeds and lily pads. We boarded Land Rovers when we got to the island. The drive ended up lasting until 2pm because we kept seeing new things and everyone was keen on staying to check it out rather than going back for lunch. I saw more game on that one drive than I think I had in my last four safari experiences combined! It was incredible! I particularly liked seeing the game in a water environment and watching them drink, run, and wade in the water. We saw lots of lion cubs, which were very hesitant to get in the water at all, and we got to watch a lioness nudge one group into the water. It was amazing. There were huge breeding herds of elephants and the other typical game, but they were in herds larger than I've seen in South Africa. We tracked a couple of leopards but never managed to come across one, although other groups did.
The hippo pools near Jao camp itself were also a delightful experience. We went out on the mokoros, yes, but I truly enjoyed taking the bigger boats out into the deeper water. We had a great time tiger-fishing.
Another aspect I really liked is that Jao's concession is huge, and we never saw anyone else during our activities. This is a major change from the Sabi Sands or Chobe experience, where you are constantly bumping into other Land Rovers. I loved the total isolation and remoteness of the place.
The food was also excellent. We even had sushi one night; they fly the seaweed and fish in from Joberg. I definitely did not expect that in the Delta.
For a special occasion, the staff organized for a night game drive for us alone, and they took us to a private island where they had created a huge bonfire and a private dinner. The whole island had been illuminated with lanterns, and we had our own chef ready and waiting for us. This was all a surprise for me, but apparently they went well above and beyond what had been requested. To have the kind of food we had cooked over a fire was truly amazing.
So in sum, I'd highly recommend Jao. I definitely had an amazing game viewing trip (although that wasn't my goal). Jao is definitely luxury and definitely romantic, and I'd definitely recommend it on any itinerary.