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KAWAMBWA rovides access to Kabwelume Falls on the Kalungwishi River.

Tourism: Kawambwa’s untapped treasure

HONE SIAME, Kawambwa
KAWAMBWA is a district in LuApula Province with immense tourism potential, located on the edge of Zambia’s northern plateau above the Luapula Valley.
It boasts of a number of spectacular tourist attractions which can greatly contribute to the growth of Zambia’s tourism sector subsequently, the national and economy if fully exploited.
The notable tourist attractions include Ntumbachushi Falls, Lumangwe Falls, Kabwelume Falls, Chilongo Falls and the Malaila cultural ceremony of the Chishinga people.
Kawambwa is located about 233 kilometres from the provincial capital, Mansa, and is the largest district in the province with a population of 134,414 people as captured by the 2010 census of population and housing.
It sits at the junction of roads to Nchelenge, Mporokoso, Mushota and Mansa, and the road to Mbereshi linking with Zambia Way, the main highway in the province.
The district has two constituencies; Kawambwa Central and Pambashe.
It has three traditional leaders namely chiefs Munkanta and Chama, and Senior Chief Mushota.
Kawambwa is known as the ‘land of falling waters’ due to the heavy rainfall it experiences coupled with favourable climatic conditions that make it to be among the country’s top maize production districts.
It was chosen as an administrative district by the British colonial authorities and has continued to be so to date.
District commissioner Ivo Mpasa says Kawambwa could significantly contribute to the national treasury if its enormous tourist attractions are fully exploited.
“Kawambwa has a lot of untapped potential in tourism. This is a place to be for both local and foreign tourists. It has beautiful tourist attractions,” Mr Mpasa said.
Agriculture is the main economic activity in Kawambwa with maize, cassava, beans and groundnuts being the crops dominantly grown in the area.
Government has constructed two storage sheds in the district to secure all the maize the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) bought from farmers during the last crop marketing season.
Previously, Kawambwa used to rely on Mansa and Chambishi depots on the Copperbelt for maize storage until now when the government has put up two sheds in the district.
“The two new storage sheds are ready for use. We are second to Mansa in terms of maize production in the province,” Mr Mpasa said.
Kawambwa, which also leads in beans production in the province, is home to Zambia’s largest tea plantation and the Luena farm block.
The once vibrant Kawambwa Tea Company is currently being run by former employees before a suitable investor is found.
To stimulate the livestock sector in the district, government has established the Chishinga Livestock Breeding Centre for cattle and goats in Chief Chama’s area and stocked it with 84 cows and four bulls.
Government is also in the process of setting up 10 solar-powered milling plants which will produce affordable mealie meal for the local people.
Kawambwa is home to the magnificent Ntumbachushi and Lumangwe falls. Ntumbachushi is on Ng’ona River about 1.3 kilometres off the main road to Kawambwa boma while Lumangwe is on Kalungwishi River, about 82 kilometres from Kawambwa town on the border with Mporokoso district in Northern Province.
Lumangwe Falls, which is 35 metres high and 100 metres wide, is the second largest falls in Zambia after the Victoria Falls.
Kawambwa also provides access to Kabwelume Falls on the Kalungwishi River, which is about five kilometres from Lumangwe Falls.
There is also Chilongo Falls on Lufubu River as well as the Lusenga Plains and National Park next to Lumangwe and Kabwelume falls.
However, these tourist sites are starved of lodging facilities for local and foreign visitors.
Kawambwa has one old district hospital, 16 clinics and a number of health centres dotted around the two constituencies that make it up.
Government is currently constructing a modern hospital at a cost of K13 million to decongest the old facility and reduce on referrals to Mansa General Hospital.
District medical officer Arthur Mataka said when operational, the new hospital will help reduce the long distances residents cover to access health services.
“This hospital shall reduce referrals to Mansa General Hospital as we will be able to provide specialised medical services to the people right here in Kawambwa,” Dr Mataka said.
Government has finished constructing eight health posts and three more are being built in Pambashe constituency out of the 650 health posts being constructed countrywide.
There are eight secondary schools which include Kawambwa Technical, St Mary’s, Chimpempe, Chishinga, Kanengo, Ng’ona, Muyembe and Kawambwa Central.
The district also has 97 primary schools and a number of private and community schools.
A boarding secondary school is being constructed in Pambashe constituency to enable more people complete secondary education and contribute to national development.
Kawambwa has not been left out of the PF government’s accelerated road development programme covering all parts of the country.
The district will have 27 kilometres of township roads tarred by Unik of China, while the full rehabilitation of the Kawambwa-Luwingu road by the same contractor, is nearing completion.
Luapula Water and Sewerage Company has installed 500 pre-paid meters in households under the Bardea Urban Water Project to help conserve water, eliminate billing problems and optimise revenue collection.
District water and sanitation coordinator Richard Miyanze said the installation of pre-paid meters has been well received by the residents.
Kawambwa has benefited from the Zambia Forestry and Forests Industries Corporation’s (ZAFFICO’s ) expansion programme that has seen the timber company establish a 21,000-hectare plantation in the district.
The Kawambwa Plantation, which is situated 25 kilometres from the central business district, was launched by Minister of Finance
Alexander Chikwanda in 2014 and has created hundreds of jobs for the local people.
Of the 21,000 hectares, the local people have used 800 hectares to plant pinus kesipa and eucalyptus trees.
The move to establish the Kawambwa and Shiwang’andu Plantations was necessitated by the high demand for electricity and transmission poles as well as timber for the booming construction sector.
ZAFFICO has four fully-fledged plantations that include Ndola, Ichimpe in Kitwe, Chati in Kalulushi and Lamba in Lufwanyama.
An Indian firm, Sunbird, is developing a bio-fuel plant in Kawambwa which is expected to create 3,000 jobs for the local people.
Sunbird will be extracting 120 million litres of fuel from cassava annually.