Getting ready for a trip to Africa? We point you in the right direction, from what to pack and what you can leave at home to medical matters and the benefits of tour operators and travel agents.
The country's official currency is the Zambian Kwacha (ZMW) and you will find ATMS in all cities and airports. The majority of hotels and lodges advertise their rates in US Dollars and this currency is widely accepted.
Please note that banks and foreign exchange tellers usually offer a lower rate of exchange for smaller denomination notes of a foreign currency (US$50 and below).
With 240V the norm, Zambian electrical standards prescribe UK square 3-pin plugs. Most hotels and safari lodges will also provide facilities to fit European 2-pin plugs and South African round 3-pin plugs. You would be best advised to travel with adaptors suitable for the appliances and chargers that you might carry on your travels.
Upon entry into Zambia you are not required to show any tropical disease vaccination cards. However, we recommend that you keep these vaccinations current as regulations might change at short notice.
Please bear in mind that Zambia is a malaria area and we strongly advise that travellers seek advice from their doctor and/or travel clinic on the use of anti-malarial prophylactics.
We recommend that you contact your Foreign Offices, Consular Section or trusted Travel Agent for current travel, health and safety advisories.
Baines' River Camp offers safe drinking water from our Reverse Osmosis plant. To be on the safe side, we suggest that you do not drink tap water whilst in Zambia and only use either Reverse Osmosis or bottled water. Most establishments will provide their guests with safe drinking water on a complimentary basis.
You will find taxis at all airports and within the country’s city limits, at international hotels, tourist attractions and major shopping centres. There are no metered taxis in Zambia but there are set fees for certain routes. Whilst you should not count on an operational air-conditioner in any of them, taxis are generally an affordable, safe, reliable and friendly means of transport with drivers offering free political analyses. Credit cards are generally not accepted in taxis and payment in Kwacha is preferred to US Dollars. Do not mistake taxis with the country’s commuter transport, minibus vehicles that can be recognised by their dual colour: bright blue below the window line and white from the windows up. Commuter transport is not recommended for tourists.
Travel Agents & Tour Operators
Planning your safari is great fun. In today’s age of the internet, you will have most of the information at your fingertips, at times overwhelming and confusing. We recommend that you plan and book your holiday to Africa through a reputable safari specialist. The benefits are multiple:
- Their knowledge is invaluable and they will combine the right destinations to suit your preferences, budget, any time restraints, child friendly destinations etc. while they ensure a varied itinerary in terms of the best attractions each country or region has to offer.
- Before you depart on your adventure, you will receive a full and detailed overview of the trip with specifics in terms of the do’s and don’ts as well as customary information and tips.
- Your agent will look after all the logistics of how to get from A to B.
- If anything goes wrong during your holiday (you lose a passport, you miss a flight, you need to fly home for a family emergency etc.), you only need to contact one person who will look after all the arrangements. Travel agents based outside Africa or in a different time zone, usually work with a local representative to ensure that you are looked after throughout the journey.
- It will not cost you any more than booking direct.
- You only have to make one payment and the agent makes all the international payments to the various lodges, hotels, car rental and transport companies.
Regulations in various African countries dictate that passports need to have a remaining validity of a minimum of 6 months upon entering the country and that at least one entire page of your passport is completely clear of any stamps. If you are travelling to more than one country on the continent, please bear in mind that some countries issue visas that can take up a full page.
All visitors to Zambia require a visa for their stay. For most nationalities, visas are issued at the port of entry into Zambia and no arrangements have to be made prior to your departure to Zambia. To find out whether you need to arrange your Zambian visa in your country of residence prior to travel, please consult the Zambian Embassy or Consulate in your country.
Current visa fees are:
African States passport holders: Free
Other passport holders:
- US$ 50.= (single entry)
- US$ 80.= (double entry)
- US$ 50.= (allows entry into Zambia and Zimbabwe)
Once your visa has been issued, you are advised to check that the immigration officer has entered the correct number of days for your stay as per your request. Leaving the country after your visa has expired attracts large fines.
There are inherent risks in all forms of travel and we recommend that visitors comprehensively insure themselves from the day of confirmation of their booking against all risks including, but not limited to, costs of cancellation, damage, delay, evacuation, hospitalization, illness, inconvenience, injury, loss of luggage, repatriation and theft. All visitors to Baines' River Camp are automatically insured for medical evacuation to Lusaka by air. Please note that Civil Aviation restrictions apply and due to the fact that the Royal Airfield does not operate runway lights, evacuation by air is only possible during daylight hours.
What to pack
“He who would travel happily must travel light” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery 1900-1944).
Typically, the light aircraft that will transfer you to Baines’ River Camp are limited to carrying a maximum of 15-20 kilograms of checked luggage per person, with a hand luggage allowance of 5 kg. Checked luggage should be packed in soft bags. Large, hard shell suitcases are not suitable. We understand that for an extended visit to Africa this can be a challenge and we offer amenities and services to assist accordingly.
For your personal use, you will find the following amenities in your accommodation:
- Bathroom amenities, including hand soaps, shower gel, shampoo, body lotion, a basic vanity kit and shower cap
- Laundry powder for smalls
- Hair dryer
- Insect repellent sprays
- Light cotton bathrobes
Torches are available in the main lodge building for your use. During the morning, the housekeeping team will retrieve the torches from your suite for re-charging purposes, ready for your collection in the evening.
The Camp offers a same day laundry service and any clothing items placed in the laundry basket in your bathroom before 09h00 will be returned to your room that evening.
In order to charge telephones, camera batteries, laptops etc., we have multi-national plug points in the main lodge area that can accommodate UK square 3-pin (standard in Zambia), European 2-pin and South African round 3-pin plugs.
Our library offers a selection of reference books and a large variety of field guides that you are welcome to use on activities during your stay at Baines’ River Camp, including books on birds, mammals, butterflies, insects, reptiles, trees and the stars. The library further offers a range of novels including some real classics like “Jock of the Bushveld”.
If you are travelling with extensive luggage, we will happily arrange for part of your luggage to be safely stored in Lusaka whilst you are on safari. A representative of Tours Africa will meet you on arrival at Lusaka International Airport (Kenneth Kaunda International Airport) and you can hand one or more pieces of luggage in with them for safekeeping at their offices for the duration of your stay with us.
Although we recommend that avid fishermen bring their personal angling tackle, we keep a limited range of basic angling equipment in camp for hire to our guests.
Clothing and Climate
It is wise to always pack a comfortable pair of walking or running shoes and a pair of sandals when travelling to the Zambezi River. With average daily temperatures ranging between 20°C in June and July to 35°C in October and November, shorts and short sleeved shirts can be worn during the day throughout the year and swimwear is useful to bring at any time as well. Fishermen are recommended to bring long sleeve shirts and a buff or bandana. A pair of light long trousers during the warmer month will keep any mosquitoes at bay in the evenings. Dinner at Baines’ River Camp is a casual affair, but you are more than welcome to dress more formal in the evenings.
Particular clothing items are recommended for the different seasons:
End of Summer: March – May
Our operational season starts around the 1st of March annually, once the summer rains have subsided. During March and April, average temperatures are around 27°C, with highs up to 30°C and lows to a minimum of 21°C. Towards the end of May these drop to daily averages of 22°C and minimum temperatures as low as 16°C. We recommend you bring a light sweater or jacket for the cooler parts of the day and a light pair of long trousers for the evenings. You might still get the odd rain shower and we suggest you bring a light rain jacket.
Winter: June – July
Our winters are extremely dry and temperatures can drop to about 12°C at night. With average highs of 25° during the day, the evenings may feel a lot cooler than they really are and although our fire places do a good job of keeping us warm, we recommend that you bring a warm jersey, jacket and long trousers. Especially if you are out on the river early in the morning, it will be cold and a fleece, beanie and scarf work wonders. For activities, it is best to wear a few layers that you can peel off whilst the morning warms up.
Spring: August – September
It’s warming up! Minimum temperatures will not get below 16°C and highs over 30°C are not uncommon towards the end of September. There will be no danger of any rain, so you can leave your wet weather gear behind. August is a windy month and a windproof jacket is recommended for water-based activities during the morning. Bring a light fleece jacket or a track suit top for the evenings.
Summer: October – November
Yes, it is just plain hot… Temperatures can rise above 45°C during these months. Comfortable, light cotton clothing and swimwear are essential. On average, temperatures will not drop below 23°C. You may expect light, warm rains towards the end of November. We close the camp on the 1st of December, before the heavy rain and storms set in.
Pharmacies and retail stores are a good few hours’ drive away from Baines’ River Camp. Regardless of the time of the year that you will be visiting or your special interests, we recommend that you bring the following items:
- Sun cream and after-sun lotion
- Anti-hystamine cream and tablets
- Other travel medication (Immodium, paracetamol, etc.)
- Personal toiletries that are not provided in the Explorer Suites
- A wide brimmed hat and/or cap
- A good pair of sunglasses (essential on the river)
- Camera with sufficient digital memory cards or film and extra batteries or a charger
Now for the fishing! As the pictures will attest to, the fishery was fantastic. The fish were everywhere, aggressive and eager to take flies and bait. Ben provided excellent advice, is an outstanding fly caster and fishing buddy.Will Stephens, Manalapan, New Jersey, USA, September 2015