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  • Writer's pictureAbby

Chembe Bird Sanctuary

About 30 minutes from Kitwe is a beautiful nature reserve in Kalalushi. This is one of the places that is actually listed online and has tickled my curiosity for some time.

It is part of Miombo woodland and grassland which covers about 450 hectares, situated around a small lake famous for its varied birdlife. It is said that over 300 species of birds are found here (but I am no bird watcher).

In fact, Chembe is the Lamba word for the African Fish Eagle.

The area was declared a bird sanctuary in 1973 and in 1982 was given the same protection as that accorded to a national park. There are no large mammals in the sanctuary, but according to their facebook page --- look out for the Spotted-neck Otters!

On Saturday, we left Ndola to meet a few friends in Kitwe and make it to Chembe for a late afternoon and sunset braii and chill. The lake is beautiful though it is very shallow. The braii picnic areas are spread out and the staff was very helpful and friendly. I enjoyed the half day outing and think that a full day or even 1 night camping would be a lovely experience.


Bird watching

Tortoise viewing

Trail walking/hiking

Sunset viewing from a tall ant hill

Canoe, shallow water boating

Braii and picnic


ATV/4 wheeling (coming soon)

Recommended time of year to go


The birds are said to be most visible before the rainy season begins in November. I'm not a bird watcher so I don't have much to say on this apart from the fact that we did see a few flocks of birds flying over the dam area and heard some others, but can't say that there was notably many birds. As far as weather, October and early November really is a great time of the year to be there!

Recommended time to stay

Day trip or 1 night camping.

We only went for half day and that was enough to enjoy it but one day and night of camping could definitely be fun!


Camping is the only option available if looking to stay overnight.

Budget Travel

The entrance fee is only K17 per person and K20 per car. So for 4 of us it was K88 (K22 per person). In the current dollar rate, that's only $1 per person including the car charge and all activities. Once the small entrance fee is paid, canoe/boating, tortoise viewing, braii stands, parking area, covered picnic tables - everything is included! Currently the 4 wheelers are not available for public use but they said they will set them up soon, which if they do, that would be the only activity with a cost.


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