Sixty four kilometres west of Ndola is Kitwe, the hub of the Copperbelt and the principle industrial and commercial centre of the area. The city owes its existence to the copper mining industry but a considerable number of secondary industries have been established. Planned on modern lines, Kitwe has a large shopping area with hotels, a cinema and theatre.
With the upsurge of copper prices in the 1950’s Kitwe developed from a small township to the second largest city in Zambia, obtaining city status in 1966. It then developed as an industrial and commercial area and later an important agricultural area. The good central position of the city in the Copperbelt area made it the most popular choice for industrial developers. Other industries include furniture manufacturing, batteries, clothing, asbestos and cement production, and consumer goods manufacturing. Kitwe also has three well equipped hospitals.
- Founded in 1936
- Second largest city in Zambia
- Population of 504,194
Kitwe is largely undeveloped as a tourist town, due to the focus on mining and industry, but nonetheless is blessed with beautiful scenery and has two big rivers within its boundaries. Mindolo Dam, about seven kilometres to the southwest of the city centre along Kalulushi Rd, has a boating club, a swimming pool and a bar. If you travel down Obote Ave, you’ll find the market place where there is a fairly large curio stall selling a wide variety of copper items and other Zambian arts and crafts. This is definitely worth a visit if you’re passing through. Makwera Falls and Lake is about 9 kilometres off the Kitwe-Ndola dual carriageway. The lake is a centre for fish farming. The Falls are small but quite picturesque as they tumble from a small river over a wide rocky outcrop before settling in a shimmering pool on the rock basement. If one has an interest in mining it is possible to visit the mines and take a tour down one of the shafts. Enquire at the ZCCM head office. Thirty kilometres from Kitwe on the Kalalushi/Kasempa Road is a charming Bird Sanctuary run by the Wildlife Society. Thick woodlands surround a small lake and there are shady campsites at the waters edge. There are communal ablutions, lots of trees, plenty of firewood and well water. One can walk or drive around the Lake and into the surrounding woodlands. Boats can be hired for fishing or birdwatching from the Lake. Getting there: Take the Kalalushi Rd from Kitwe. Just before the ‘Welcome to Kalalushi’ sign turn left towards Southdowns Airport and travel for nineteen kilometres. On the right is a rather worn out sign to Chembe.