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Heritage Sites and Tourist Attractions

Mbala has a number of tourism attractions which may be categorised as natural and cultural in nature. It harbours among others the famous Kalambo Falls, Lake Chila, Nsunzu Mountain, Lake Tanganyika, Saise River and the Motomoto Museum as the most important tourist products.

CULTURAL SITES

Mbala Old Prison: Mbala old prison built in 1912 is part of the national monuments in the country under the National Heritage. It is also a fact that in the last weeks of WW1, the German forces matched through the town (Abercorn) took over the same prison and locked up some of the British officers in their own prison. Its significance is drawn from the fact that it is the oldest prison in Zambia which is believed to have been built to keep prisoners of war from Central Africa. One interesting fact about this prison is that the name of the current grave site for Mbala (Mutambalike), was drawn from this prison. It is believed that prisoners were made to lay down and flogged “ukumutambalika” in local language.  This prison continued until after independence when the current open air prison (Correctional Facility) was opened.

Mbala Old Prison built in 1912

Moto Moto Museum

The Museum is located 3.5km east of the town centre and is easily accessible by a gravel road. The museum was started in 1973 by Father J.J Corbeil and it was officially opened in 1983 after being handed over to the Zambian Government.

It is ethnographic in nature (cultural museum) and it has various collections in the range of music instruments, initiation, herbal, witchcraft, and anthropology. The museum has collections from the northern part of Zambia in particular and Zambia as a whole. Moto Moto museum is used as a resource and research centre with a well-stocked library, internet facility, craft shop as well as a play park.

Moto Moto Museum, Mbala district, Northern Province

International Red Locusts Control Building

During the colonial period, it was discovered that the natives were being troubled by locusts which had found suitable breeding places in the rift valley especially in the swampy places like Lake Rukwa, Lake Chila, Uningi pans and Mweru Wantipa.

Mbala which was known as Abercorn was found suitable to fight this scourge by establishing Red Locust Control in 1929 and it was spearheaded by two people, an Entomologist, A. Michelmore and a Northern Rhodesian Agricultural department employee, Billy Allan. Thereafter, Hans Bredo joined the team and commenced works up to 1949 when the building was erected and opened under the Directorate of Dr. P.P Uvarlov. It comprised the current grasshopper Inn, the building is known as Makanta which is the local name for grasshopper/ locust. The building was used as a research centre for red locusts and was headquarter for Eastern, Central and Southern Africa.  This building was used as an office whilst the garage was at the current SGC filling station and behind that was an Air strip where helicopters/Aeroplanes used to land and take off during the control operations.  The two houses at grasshopper Inn were used for accommodating the officers and scientists who were travelling to and from Abercorn during that research period.

This building is currently in private hands; however, it forms part of the rich history of Mbala which needs to be shared to the locals and the International tourists.

Airport

Located 4km from town centre in the western side. Historically it was an International Airport built by African Lakes Company which later became Central African Authority (CAA) and the British South Africa Company (BSA) respectively. It was opened in 1885 and it was known as Tanganyika Airport. It was the first Airport in Central Africa connecting Cape to Cairo. In early 1920s it became Abercorn International Airport and after Independence, it became Mbala International Airport and in the Mid 1970s it became exclusively for Zambia Air Force (ZAF). The name was also changed from Mbala to Samora Machel International Airport in 1986 in honour of the late Mozambique President H.E. Samora Machel.

In 2006/2007, it was re-declared as a Civil International Airport. In 2015, His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu reopened it to the public and announced that it will be used by civilians as well.

Arms Hotel

The Arms Hotel in Mbala district, formerly Abercorn.

This was a hotel for the Colonial military personnel who used it as an armoury, lodge and bar during the Colonial days.

It is an important structure having the history of Mbala district even though it is currently privately owned.

Anglican Church building in Mbala district

Anglican Church

The Church was built in 1950 and completed in 1955 by the Colonial Masters using materials from different places. Much of the original church furnishing were from bombed London churches such as Lectern, missal holder, brass candle sticks. The door hinges were made by a Black Smith from Chinakila village.

Tanganyika Victoria Memorial Institute (TVMI)

The structure was built in 1852 as resting place for traders as well as a recreation centre, museum and library. It was rebuilt in 1902 and 1949, thus in 2012 it marked 100 years in existence. There is a propeller stored at this building which came from the S.S. Good News ship the first steam ship launched on Lake Tanganyika on 3rd March, 1885 by the London Mission Society that sank in Luvu River which used to dock at Chisanza.

Tanganyika Victoria Memorial. The structure was built in 1852 as resting place for traders as well as a recreation centre, museum and library.

Polish Refugee Camp Site and Grave Sites

This was one of oldest International Refugee Camp where the Polish Refugees camped and settled between Lake Chila, Mbala Secondary School and Chulungoma today known as Little Poland. There were about 561 in total comprising men, women and children running away from Hitler and the Soviet Union.

A total of 15 people died whilst in Mbala and were buried at Mutambalika grave yard. Their graves are protected, with well labelled and inscribed tomb stones.

Abercorn (Mbala) Round About: Cenotaph World War1 Monument

Cenotaph at Mbala round about in Mbala District formerly Abercorn

 

This is a place where the signing to end the First World War which begun in 1914 and ended on 25th November 1918 was done between the Germans and the British in special remembrance of 433 people who failed during the war were buried near that place.

Zombe Fortification

The site is located 18km from the Post Office Mbala on the northern part. This is a hill that was used as a barrack for British soldiers during the 1st World War. It has natural trenches which were used for hiding as well as an armoury. The hill is still standing today and it is close to 4km wide.

During those days, one General was killed and buried there but later in 1980s they resumed the remains and took them to Britain.

Stevenson Road

The road was constructed in 1883 by James Stevenson. It linked Kalonga on Lake Malawi (Nyasa) and Mbala-Mpulungu area (Abercorn) area in Lake Tanganyika. It terminated at Chituta at Chisanza village. It passed through Nakonde/Tunduma, and ran pararell the bridge that marks Zambia Tanzania boundary.

This was a porterage route for slaves from interior of northern Zambia to the Arab-Swahili destination in East Africa through Chituta/Chisanza port on Lake Tanganyika.The road served in the establishment of colonial administrative centres and Christian Missions e.g. (Kawimbe Mission where Mama Meli a female freed slave died and buried at Lyamba Village and Old Mambwe Mwela Mission Station) that contributed to the fight against the slave trade and slavery.

The District Commissioner’s Office Building

The building was the British Oversees Management Administration (BOMA) block. It was the first High Court in Northern Rhodesia which was known as the Crown Court. It had the two offices connected to it which were used as cells.

Telegraphic Office for Central Africa

The Telegraphic Office, Mbala district, Northern province

This was a telegraphic information centre for Central Africa. Currently it is in the private hands of the United National Independence Party (UNIP).

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