The Zambian sun rises across the plains and sets over the water; while casting its golden glow over all living things. It is here in the picturesque African wilderness, on the banks of the Lower Zambezi River that you’ll find Baines’ River Camp, surrounded by an abundance of wildlife, flora, and fauna no matter the time of year.
Fun fact: The Zambezi River is the fourth largest river on the African continent.
For centuries man has journeyed to foreign, wild places to observe, document and experience untouched nature. This has allowed for quiet and focussed viewing without the distractions of the modern-day. We call this a “Safari” and it’s on these adventures that many have witnessed wild animals in their natural habitat.
Today, people travel far and wide to see Africa’s wildlife. The Lower Zambezi boasts one of the most diverse animal and plant kingdoms. One of the main attractions of the Lower Zambezi is that it’s home to “Four” of Africa’s “Big Five.” You’ll be lucky enough to spot any of these creatures along one of your drives – namely the Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, and Leopard. These animals are some of the most magnificent creatures to still walk the Earth.
Here are a few intriguing insights into these amazing animals:
Early morning is the perfect time to catch a snap of a pride of lions lounging, while their cubs play, in Lower Zambezi National Park. As the day starts heating up the “King of the jungle” gets lazier and can be found dozing in the shade. At dusk, you might be able to watch these magnificent creatures transform into hunters. They are a formidable opponent to both predator and prey alike.
Fun fact: Lions are the only cats that live in groups, which are dominated by females.
The elephant’s trunk is its most valuable and interesting feature. It acts as a nose, a hand, an extra foot, a signalling device and a tool for gathering food, drinking or spraying water, dusting, digging and more. The trunk of an elephant can reach up to 23 feet high and perform movements as delicate as picking berries or caressing a companion. Elephants spend 16-18 hours a day grazing and browsing. These gentle giants often pass through Baines’ River Camp and are an absolute treat for our visitors.
Fun fact: Elephants use their trunks to squirt water into their mouths, one squirt equates to seven litres per drink.
The Cape Buffalo
Buffalo do not hear or see very well, but their sense of smell is highly developed. They often fall prey to predators such as lions; however, they are far from defenceless. Buffalo move around in herds which affords them safety in numbers. They are also large and have sharp horns which act as deterrents for smaller less capable predators. The Cape buffalo is native to Zambia and has roamed the Zambian plains for thousands of years.
Fun fact: Buffalo wallow in mud pools as a cleansing technique that rids them of skin parasites and coats them in a layer of mud to prevent further insect attack.
Zambia has the highest concentration of leopards in the world. Not only is the leopard the shrewdest animal in its category but it’s also the best climber. These big powerful felines can haul a catch weighing more than their body weight up a tree. Leopards spend most of their lives sprawled out, comfortably napping in the bushes or in the branches of a tree.
Fun fact: In some areas, the leopard is seen as a symbol of wisdom.
More on the wildlife in this region:
The Zambezi river plays a vital role in sustaining the large variety of wildlife in the Lower Zambezi National Park. Every year, during the rainy season, the river floods and deposits minerals as well as fertile alluvial soils which help the foliage flourish stimulating the eco-system which sustains life on the plains of Zambia.
There are three key animal domains at play in the Lower Zambezi:
Animals roam freely in the unfenced Lower Zambezi National Park, which is home to more than 50 mammals. Visitors can expect to see an abundance of elephant, buffalo, hippopotamus and a variety of antelope. Visitors to the park also report regular sightings of lion, leopard, side-striped jackal, spotted hyena, African wild dog, porcupines, honey badgers and the odd bush baby.
You will see many of the 378 bird species while drifting along the river, on a game drive or walking safari, including season migrants such as the African Skimmers Carmine Bee-eaters, Ethiopian Snipes and perhaps a rare sighting of the elusive Narina Trogon. The lush vegetation, tall trees and bushes around the Zambezi River create a sanctuary for birds, which makes the area ideal for bird watching.
The Lower Zambezi has a variety of fish and aquatic life. Tigerfish, bream, barble, bottle-nose, brown squeaker, chessa, Cornish jack, electric barble, nkupe, vundu and a few lesser-known species are just some of the water-dwellers you may come across. Amphibians and reptiles such as frogs and crocodiles flourish in these waters too.