|Baines’ River Camp is situated in the Lower Zambezi Valley in Zambia’s Southern Province. Located within the Eastern part of the Chiawa Game Management Area, on the northern bank of the Zambezi River, the camp boasts magnificent views across the broad expanse of this river, almost a kilometer wide at times, to the Unesco World Heritage site of Mana Pools in neighbouring Zimbabwe.
For more information on how best to travel to Baines’ River Camp go to Getting There
Most of Zambia’s 19 National Parks are bordered by a number of Game Management Areas (GMA’s). It is notable that the National Parks in Zambia are not fenced. Instead, the GMA’s create a buffer zone with the National Parks. A Game Management Area is in itself a protected wildlife area which, where suitable, provides for limited use in terms of human settlement and agriculture, along with photographic safaris and hunting concessions.
The Lower Zambezi National Park measures 4,092 square kilometers and is surrounded by three GMAs: Luano in the North, Rufunsa to the East and the Chiawa GMA to the West. These GMAs together add 14,453 square kilometers of protected wildlife area to the Lower Zambezi National Park. All in all, a total of 1.85-million hectares.
The Chiawa Game Management Area accounts for 2,344 square kilometers and is divided into 2 sections. The Chiawa communities live in its western part, which makes up 94% of this GMA. Economically, the local community depend mostly on agricultural activities and you will find a number of safari lodges in this area. The eastern part of the Chiawa GMA measures some 140 square kilometers and is dedicated exclusively to non-consumptive tourism and conservation. Although the eastern Chiawa GMA is a safari destination in itself, its limited number of permanent tourism establishments further provide tourists the opportunity to visit the Lower Zambezi National Park, so minimising the need for permanent development within the Lower Zambezi National Park.
Although the Lower Zambezi Valley is not home to “the Big Five”, with over 50 mammal species, the Lower Zambezi Valley offers elephant, buffalo, hippopotamus and a variety of antelope in abundance with regular sightings of lion, leopard, side striped jackal, spotted hyena, and on the odd ocassion even African Wild Dog. You will find many of the 370 bird species whilst drifting on the river, including African Skimmers, Carmine Bee-eaters and Ethiopian Snipes. Although the combined wildlife areas of the Lower Zambezi National Park and Eastern Chiawa Game Management Area measure over 4,200 square kilometers, the majority of its wildlife concentrates on the valley floor around the Zambezi River and its tributaries, which makes for very successful game viewing, both by vehicle and by boat. The Valley has an enormous scenic attraction with pockets of different vegetation, thick bush and open plains against the backdrop of the Zambezi Escarpment.
In a program sponsored by the Zambian Government, in association with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), a public/private partnership has been formed between the Chiawa community and the stakeholders in the Eastern portion of the Chiawa GMA, in a trust registered as the Lower Zambezi Conservation Trust. The ultimate objectives of the Trust being the reclassification of the area, to be proclaimed as the Chiawa Partnership Park, through which the local communities will enjoy tangible benefits from wildlife tourism in the form of various community projects such as protected farming areas, fish-farms, skills development and craft projects etc., all of which will be funded by tourism in the immediate area, along with a number of generous donors who are committed to the concept.