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  • Writer's picturePatson Chifumbe

Northern Circuit Part II

Northern Province of Zambia: A Land of Natural Beauty and Cultural Heritage The Northern Province of Zambia, nestled in the heart of Africa, is a region rich in natural resources and a haven for those seeking investment opportunities in various sectors. As one of Zambia's ten provinces, Northern Province boasts a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and historical significance. This article explores some of the key attractions and features of this captivating region. Geographical Location and Kasama - The Provincial Capital Northern Province is situated in the northern part of Zambia and shares its borders with Luapula Province to the west and Muchinga Province to the east. At its heart lies Kasama, the provincial capital, which is home to a population of approximately 238,000 people. Kasama is strategically located, serving as a hub connected by four major roads: the Kasama – Mpika road, Kasama – Mbala road, Kasama - Luwingu road, and Kasama - Mungwi road. These well-maintained roads make Kasama an easily accessible gateway to the province's numerous attractions. Chambeshi National Monument - A Historical Landmark Around 90 kilometers from Kasama, along the Mpika - Kasama road, you'll find the Chambeshi River. Just a short 2 kilometers away from the river, you'll encounter the Chambeshi National Monument. This site derives its name from the Chambeshi River, located to its south. The Chambeshi River holds historical significance as it was here that General LettowVorbeck received the letter announcing the end of World War I. Cultural Riches - The Bemba People and the Chitimukulu Kasama is situated in the heartland of the Bemba people, who trace their origins to the Lunda and Luba tribes of the upper Congo basin and what is now Katanga Province in the Republic of Congo. The Chitimukulu, the king of the Bemba people, plays a central role in preserving and celebrating the Bemba culture and traditions. Mwela Rock Art National Monument - A Glimpse into History A mere 5 kilometers from Kasama town lies the Mwela Rock Art National Monument. Discovered in 1947 by Mrs. Agness Millar, this site contains over 1,200 recorded paintings. A visit to Mwela Rock Art allows you to explore the ancient history of the Stone Age people who once inhabited the area. Chishimba National Monument - Waterfalls and Spiritual Significance Approximately 24 kilometers west of Kasama, you'll come across the signpost for the Chishimba National Monument. This site offers breathtaking waterfalls on the Luombo River, including Chishimba Falls, Kaela Rapids, and Mutumuna Waterfall. These waterfalls are named after individuals who met tragic fates by the falls, a testament to the spiritual beliefs of the local people in earlier times. The area surrounding Chishimba Waterfall is a hub for tourism activities, including education, picnics, adventure, and cultural retreats. Chilubi Island - A Unique District on an Island Chilubi Island, accessible via a 45-kilometer boat cruise from Samfya, holds the distinction of being the only district in Zambia located on an island. Positioned in the western part of Lake Bangweulu, Chilubi Island boasts stunning views of the lake's blue-grey waters and offers opportunities for limited boating activities and water sports. Chilambwe Waterfalls - A Natural Wonder Chilambwe Waterfalls, located about 103 kilometers from Mporokoso on the Kafubu River, showcases three stunning faces and stands approximately 64 meters high with a width of 19 meters. Historical Landmarks and More Northern Province is not just about its natural beauty; it's also a region steeped in history. Sites such as Chilubula Mission, Mbala Old Prison, Moto Moto Museum, and the International Red Locusts Control Building bear testimony to a rich historical tapestry. These landmarks provide valuable insights into the colonial and post-independence eras of Zambia's history. From waterfalls to cultural heritage, Northern Province offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers, historians, and nature enthusiasts. Exploring this province will undoubtedly leave you with a deep appreciation for Zambia's rich history and stunning natural beauty.

Part II Northern Province: Exploring Zambia's Enchanting Northern Region Northern Province of Zambia is a region replete with natural wonders and abundant investment opportunities across various sectors. As one of Zambia's ten provinces, it is nestled in the northern part of the country, sharing borders with Luapula to the west and Muchinga Province to the east. The provincial capital, Kasama, is a bustling city with a population of approximately 238,000 residents. Kasama's strategic location is enhanced by its connectivity, sitting at the crossroads of four major roads: Kasama–Mpika, Kasama–Mbala, Kasama–Luwingu, and Kasama–Mungwi. A short 90 kilometers away from Kasama, the Chambeshi River meanders through the landscape, and just a stone's throw away from this river lies the Chambeshi National Monument. This site holds historical significance, as it was here that General LettowVorbeck received the letter marking the end of World War I. Kasama, with its deep-rooted cultural heritage, is the heartland of the Bemba people. The Bemba people trace their origins to the Lunda and Luba tribes of the upper Congo basin and what is now Katanga province in the Republic of Congo. The CHITIMUKULU, the traditional king of the Bemba people, is a revered figure in this region. Mwela Rock Art National Monument Approximately 5 kilometers from Kasama, you'll discover the Mwela Rock Art National Monument. Unearthed in 1947 by Mrs. Agness Millar, who was formerly associated with the Millar School in Kasama, this archaeological site boasts a treasure trove of over 1,200 recorded paintings. A tour of Mwela Rock Art National Monument unveils captivating stone-age rock art, offering a glimpse into the lives of early inhabitants. Chishimba National Monument Heading west from Kasama on the M3 for about 24 kilometers, you'll find the Chishimba National Monument. This site is home to three exquisite waterfalls along the Luombo River: Chishimba Falls, Kaela Rapids, and Mutumuna Waterfall. These falls are not just natural wonders but also bear a rich cultural history. Chishimba Falls is considered the father, Kaela the mother, and Mutumuna the son, with the naming of these falls rooted in ancestral worship. The local legend narrates the tragic stories of these falls, tied to the deaths and the emotional bonds between these characters. In proximity to the falls, there is a sacred rock carving site where the people once worshipped spirits. The intricate carvings provide a window into the supernatural beliefs of the past, offering an intriguing mix of history and art. Chishimba Waterfall has become an iconic site for a variety of tourism activities, including educational tours, picnics, adventure pursuits, and cultural and religious retreats. The presence of this breathtaking natural wonder has added a unique dimension to the region's tourism offerings. Chilubula Mission A mere 27 kilometers from Kasama, Chilubula Mission is a significant historical site. Established in the 1890s by Fr. Joseph Dupont, a Frenchman known as "MOTO-MOTO," who later became the first bishop of Zambia and Malawi. This mission holds an enduring legacy in the region and showcases its historical importance during the First World War when it served as a fortress for people seeking refuge from the conflict between the British and German forces. Chilubi Island About a 45-kilometer boat cruise from Samfya, you'll find the enchanting Chilubi Island, the only district in Zambia that is an island. Positioned in the heart of Lake Bangweulu, this island remains a hidden paradise with untapped tourism potential. The serene beauty of Lake Bangweulu and its blue-gray waters create a picturesque backdrop for various water activities and sports. The island's name, Chilubi, has a fascinating origin, linked to the planting of a tree upside down and a tale of migration from a place known as Lubumbu, now Ichaba, through a stream. Chilambwe Waterfalls Chilambwe Waterfalls, located about 103 kilometers from Mporokoso, is a spectacular natural wonder. Situated on the Kafubu River, marking the boundary between Kasama and Mporokoso, these falls possess three distinct faces, with a remarkable height of approximately 64 meters and a width of 19 meters. Kalepela and Pule Wa Lwangwa In close proximity to Chief Muporokoso's domain, you'll encounter two magnificent waterfalls: Kalepela Wa Lwangwa Falls and Pule Wa Lwangwa Waterfalls. These falls, steeped in local belief and legend, are named after spirits that are believed to inhabit or have once inhabited the waterfall areas. The mystical stories and breathtaking scenery make these falls a unique and captivating destination. Mbala District Mbala District, a gem in the Muchinga Province, boasts a plethora of tourism attractions, encompassing both natural wonders and cultural heritage. Among its notable sites are Kalambo Falls, Lake Chila, Nsunzu Mountain, Lake Tanganyika, Saise River, and the Motomoto Museum, each contributing to the region's appeal as an essential tourist destination. Cultural Sites in Mbala The Mbala Old Prison, constructed in 1912, is a significant historic landmark and one of the national monuments in Zambia. During the final weeks of World War I, German forces occupied this prison and confined several British officers within its walls. The prison's historical importance is rooted in its role as a detention facility for prisoners of war from Central Africa. The Moto Moto Museum, located 3.5 kilometers east of the town center, is a cultural museum established in 1973 by Father J.J Corbeil and officially opened in 1983 after being handed over to the Zambian Government. This ethnographic museum houses a diverse collection of artifacts related to music, initiation rituals, herbal practices, witchcraft, and anthropology. It serves as a valuable resource and research center, complete with a well-stocked library, internet facilities, a craft shop, and a play park. The International Red Locusts Control Building, dating back to the colonial period, played a pivotal role in combating locust infestations in the region. Established in 1929, this facility was a hub for research and control efforts against locust outbreaks in Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa. The Mbala Airport, situated 4 kilometers from the town center, has a rich history. Originally, it was an international airport built by the African Lakes Company, later becoming Central African Authority (CAA) and the British South Africa Company (BSA). It was initially known as Tanganyika Airport, connecting Cape to Cairo, and subsequently, Abercorn International Airport. After Zambia's independence, it transitioned to Mbala International Airport and eventually was reserved exclusively for the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) in the 1970s. However, in 2006/2007, it was reinstated as a Civil International Airport, and in 2015, it was reopened to the public, facilitating both civilian and military operations. The Arms Hotel, once a hotel for colonial military personnel Anglican Church: The Anglican Church, an architectural gem in Mbala, stands as a testament to the craftsmanship of colonial masters. Built in 1950 and completed in 1955, it boasts a rich history and serves as a cultural and spiritual focal point for the community. Much of its original furnishings hold a unique story of resilience, as they were sourced from bombed London churches. Items like the lectern, missal holder, and brass candlesticks continue to grace the church's interior, adding to its historical charm. Even the door hinges, made by a local blacksmith from Chinakila village, are a testament to the blend of local and colonial influences that shaped this sacred space. Tanganyika Victoria Memorial Institute (TVMI): The TVMI, dating back to 1852, has played a multifaceted role in the community's history. Initially built as a resting place for traders, it evolved into a hub for recreation, a museum, and a library. This iconic structure has seen several rebuilds over the years, with notable renovations in 1902 and 1949. In 2012, it marked its 100th year since inception. Within its walls, you'll discover a propeller that once adorned the S.S. Good News ship, the first steamship launched on Lake Tanganyika on March 3, 1885. While the ship met a watery grave in the Luvu River, the propeller remains a poignant reminder of the region's maritime history. Polish Refugee Camp Site and Grave Sites:Mbala bears witness to a somber but historically significant chapter— the Polish Refugee Camp. This camp, one of the oldest international refugee camps, provided shelter to approximately 561 Polish refugees—men, women, and children who sought sanctuary from the ravages of Hitler's regime and the Soviet Union. Tragically, 15 individuals lost their lives during their stay in Mbala and were laid to rest at the Mutambalika graveyard. Their final resting places are marked with well-labeled and inscribed tombstones, preserving the memory of this poignant moment in history. Abercorn (Mbala) Roundabout: Cenotaph World War I Monument: The Abercorn Roundabout, a poignant site in Mbala, stands as a testament to the ending of the First World War, a conflict that began in 1914 and concluded on November 25, 1918. It is a place of special remembrance, commemorating the 433 individuals who met their fate during the war. The cenotaph serves as a poignant symbol of the sacrifices made during a time of global conflict. Zombe Fortification:Zombe Fortification, located approximately 18 kilometers from the Post Office in Mbala, holds a unique historical significance. During the First World War, this hill was used as a barracks for British soldiers. The site features natural trenches that served as hiding spots and an armory for the soldiers. This historic hill, approximately 4 kilometers wide, continues to stand tall today. Notably, it is here that one General met his end and was interred. In the 1980s, the remains were exhumed and returned to Britain, marking a closure to this historical chapter. Kalambo Waterfalls:Kalambo Falls, a true natural marvel, stands as a majestic testament to the power of nature. These falls are nearly twice as high as the renowned Victoria Falls, boasting an impressive height of 235 meters. Kalambo Falls is the second highest uninterrupted waterfall in Africa and ranks 12th in the world. The location is 33 kilometers from Mbala, accessible by turning left before Chiyanga village. Positioned on the southern corner of Lake Tanganyika's rift valley, the falls are a mere 8 kilometers from the estuary of Kalambo River into Lake Tanganyika. The river drops a sheer 212 meters in a vertical fall into a rocky gorge before meandering westward to Lake Tanganyika, the second deepest freshwater body in the world. Notably, Kalambo Falls isn't just a natural wonder; it also holds immense archaeological importance. Excavations undertaken in the 1950s have revealed the site's long history of human development and existence. Stevenson Road: Stevenson Road, constructed in 1883 by James Stevenson, plays a unique role in the region's history. This road linked Kalonga on Lake Malawi (Nyasa) with the Mbala-Mpulungu area on Lake Tanganyika. It terminated at Chituta in Chisanza village, tracing a path that closely paralleled the bridge marking the Zambia-Tanzania boundary. This historic road played a crucial role as a porterage route for the movement of slaves from the interior of northern Zambia to their destinations in East Africa, such as the Arab-Swahili port in Chituta/Chisanza on Lake Tanganyika. It also facilitated the establishment of colonial administrative centers and Christian missions like Kawimbe Mission, where the story of Mama Meli, a freed slave, intersects. The road contributed significantly to the fight against the slave trade and slavery, serving as a telegraphic information center for Central Africa.

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