Copperbelt a pearl of Zambia

Jakob Hoff,

Copperbelt is one of Zambia’s most famous provinces due to its copper deposits dotted around the region. The province has a rich history of this fame dating back to 1800s during the Lunda and MwataKazembe empires when copper was in circulation in form of ignots or crosses. However European prospector William Collier who today is reputed to have discovered Copperbelt at a place called Roan Antelope in 1902 where he killed the animal. But it was not until 18 years later that a technical breakthrough was achieved that made the mining of the then northern Rhodesia a “red gold” and highly profitable which changed the fortunes of the country.

The Copperbelt became the backbone of the British colonial rule and fuelled the hopes of the immediate post-independence period, but its economic importance was later severely damaged by a crash in the global copper prices in 1973 and the nationalization of the copper mines by the government of Kenneth Kaunda.

Until in the late 1990s that the mines were revitalized and the province adjoining to Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, brought more business to the Copperbelt.

On the other hand, Copperbelt province on one hand however lacks wildlife, except in the south west where the flooded grassland habitats interspersed with Miombo woodland, and birdlife, which is well represented near rivers and small lakes.

Chembe bird sanctuary located west of Kitwe and includes crocodiles, Sitatunga (marshbuck) as well as plenty of birdlife.

Chimfunshi wild life ophanage has also remained a significant tourist attraction and has expanded to house over 100 orphaned chimpanzees in 1,150 acres(470ha) of forest savannah and fruit groves.

The orphanage is home to various other types of animals including peacocks, an assortment of birds, many of which were brought there to be reared back to health, and a hippopotamus which was brought there as a baby.

It is located 60 km west of Chingola on the banks of the Kafue River, the orphanage is a tourist attraction for those living in the Copperbelt towns and for international visitors to Zambia.

The copperbelt museum in Ndola established in 1962 exhibits geological and historical items as well as ethnographic artifacts. Plans currently are in place to expand and transform the current museum into the copperbelt museum of science and technology which will focus on the preservation and presentation of Zambians.

Though the region isn’t popular in the tourism sector there are however events that have attracted a lot of tourists in the area. One of them is the Kwilimuna traditional ceremony which is a three day traditional harvest festival of the Bulima people of the Lamba tribe. The ceremony is held every year in July in the ichipembwe arena, at ibenga in Mpongwedistrict of Chieftainess Malembaka. The ceremony is alively celebration of Zambian culture that gives thanks for the safe in gathering of the year’s harvest. And the Chabalankata and Nsengeleluka which are both held yearly in November.