My first adventure of the new decade took me to Mpika in the Muchinga province of Zambia, about 645 kms from Lusaka. It is nestled among hills and offers a quiet escape from the bustle of Lusaka. Mpika is also known to be the birth place of Zambia’s fifth President, Michael C. Sata. The town has grown and developed from when last I was here as a few notable buildings have been constructed and a dual-carriage-way is in the works. There are a few good lodges in the area, notably the Northern Rock (095 0331640), the Royal Mpika (0971934441) and Bayama’s Lodge (0977410839) but the Landmark Lodge (0966400487) is still my first choice as they provide the basic comforts in somewhat above average conditions right along the main road into town. All the options listed above cost around ZMK 280 ($16) -ZMK 500 ($34) per night for a room with breakfast included. There aren’t too many restaurant options here (business idea 💡) and only Bayama’s provides a menu that readily includes some continental options outside the traditional Zambian dishes.
During my time here, I got a chance to visit the Chinsokolo Falls (also referred to as Litwikili Falls) just 15 kms outside town. The road to the waterfall was pretty good and passable even for a Toyota Corolla, it literally took 20 mins to get from Mpika to Lwitikila Girls Secondary School, which is the closest landmark to the entrance to the falls. Driving through the countryside made me appreciate the wide open spaces and crisp air, I could even see the hills surrounding Mpika in the distance, just as nature intended.
The Chinsokolo Falls are the second smallest I’ve seen in Zambia thus far (after the Mutanda Falls in Solwezi) but they provided a simple serenity for this busy bee. I managed to get across the slippery rocks and meditate on the beauty around me. However, I was rudely interrupted by the sight of plastic debris and broken beer bottles around the shores of the river downstream, these probably came from the bar at the entrance of the waterfall site. I will not go on an endless rant about this but I will maintain that we all need to be a little more responsible for the cleanliness and preservation of such sights. Never the less, the butterfly ridden shores around the falls were gentle on the eyes and the woodlands surrounding the falls provided some much needed shade and a good photo-op (do it for the gram 😄).
I learned from the local guide-cum-fish-farmer, that the entire waterfall area is part of the estate that is managed by the Lwitikila Diocese. My curious self marched up the hill to meet and greet the Parish leaders who are housed in a large complex where the Girls Secondary School is also found and I’m sure glad I did because I got a chance to see the beautiful cathedral that is in the same facility. I also got to rendition a hymn to hear the resonance caused by the design of the cathedral. It was amazing, I had church all by myself and I loved it!
My whole experience in the area was rather simple and easy on the eyes and ears, plus it all took under 2 hours, a sure good use of my time. The waterfalls and cathedral were a good prelude to some of the other notable sights in the area. Check out my next blog post for more dets.