Our History

The Camp

Originally built in 1996 and known as Kiubo Camp, we acquired the property in 2005 and soon discovered that, if we were ever to offer a world-class safari destination, we would have to re-develop the entire property from the ground up. Commencing in 2005 and spreading the project out over six phases, we finally took our hard hardhats off in 2013.

Phase 1                  New Staff Quarters completed 2005;
Phase 2                  New Kitchen & Laundry, Workshop, Generator Rooms and Storage;
Phase 3                  The demolition of eight safari tents replaced with solid, air-conditioned suites;
Phase 4                  The new Lodge structure which was finally completed in 2011, when we became operational;
Phase 5                  The construction of senior staff quarters in 2012;
Phase 6                  The construction of the Baines’ Cottage in 2013.

Located in such a remote area, it was necessary for us to import all building materials and equipment, together with the furnishings, some of which came from as far afield as India, Myanmar and Thailand

Of the team with whom we started the project in 2005, many remained with us throughout the various phases of construction. Guides, barmen, chefs, waiters, and housekeeping staff alike, they all happily took on the challenges of construction work. After every phase they were pleased to get back into the normal swing of things, only to be told a few months later that we were about to tackle yet another phase of the reconstruction project. We salute them all, they have done us proud. The product you see today is largely thanks to their loyalty and hard work!

Thomas Baines

In keeping with the aesthetic colonial-type transformation of the camp and the more luxurious facilities offered, the name Kiubo Camp was changed to Baines’ River Camp, so named after the famous explorer and artist Thomas Baines’, who first visited the area with David Livingstone in 1858, creating numerous paintings of the Zambezi River on his extensive travels.

Thomas Baines, the famous English born artist, explorer, naturalist and author, spent much of his life in Central and Southern Africa. Love of adventure took him to the Cape Colony in 1842, where he served as an artist with the British Army during the Eighth Frontier War (1850-53). His success as an artist led to his joining an expedition to northern Australia in 1855 and a subsequent invitation to take part in a Zambezi expedition under David Livingstone in 1858, on which expedition he travelled down the Zambezi as far as Tete. In 1861 Baines accompanied the British hunter and explorer James Chapman on his travels from South West Africa (Namibia) to the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River, a journey on which his drawings and his book Explorations in South-West Africa (1864) were based. With his fame established, Baines opened a studio in London in 1865. Returning to Africa in 1868, he led an expedition to explore the goldfields of Matabeleland (Rhodesia/Zimbabwe), where he won mining concessions that were later acquired by Cecil John Rhodes. Baines’ accurate maps, scientific data and illustrations of his travels, the scenery and the people he encountered were published posthumously, The Gold Regions of South-Eastern Africa (1877).

Today the memory of Baines lives on in the numerous illustrations he made on his journeys. The Zambezi River remains largely unchanged and unspoilt since the time he explored the middle and lower sections over the period 1858-1863.

Thomas Baines was an amazing artist, yet I think he would struggle to put the beauty, workmanship and splendour of Baines’ River Camp to canvas. A true gem on the Lower Zambezi!

Andre Tennekoon & Michelle Buratto, Lusaka, Zambia, October 2015