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Mulungushi Dam and Boating Club



Mulungushi dam is located 50km north of Kabwe. It takes about an hour to drive from Kabwe on a mostly smooth gravel road, as long as the road is graded like it was recently.


I had only heard of it a few times, mostly from people who live in the area or remember going there years ago. It had been on my Zambia bucket list for a few years and I’m glad I saved it for this trip because I went just at the right time! When the dam was full, swimming pool running, waterfall gushing and the gravel road was just graded...not to mention getting the mix of my own time and privacy on the first day and then joining in with a fun group later on. What a great start to my 12 day road trip across Zambia!

By the way, it's a dam that is used purposefully unlike many other dams around that are just water reservoirs. Mulungushi is a functioning hydroelectric dam, and it was built almost 100 years ago!



This place is spectacular. It has many things I’ve never seen at a boat club in Zambia. Out of the numerous boat clubs I've been to, I must say, this is by far the nicest one. It isn't the easiest accessible compared to others, but it is definitely worth the Ndola to Lusaka trip detour or a day/overnight trip from Kabwe!



Activities

Bar (open only when busy such as weekends or holidays)

Natural waterfall

Caves and incredible rock formations

Rock climbing

Cliff jumping (when the water is high enough)

Hiking and biking trails

Camping

Boating

Fishing

Hydroelectricity dam (walk along the gates and the dam wall)

Swimming pool with unobstructed view over the dam

Look out tower

Different style privately owned houses as well as club owned chalets

It almost has a private estate or home feel, it is very remote.

Recommended time of year to go

April-May

Before the weather gets too cold and right after the rains have finished and the dam is full or at least higher. It completely dries up before rainy season in November so the hot and dry months would not be as advisable. It also depends on the year, this year had a lot of rain but they said it hadn’t been that full in about 5 years. Recommended amount of time to stay

2-3 nights

I stayed 2 nights but was very close to staying a third. If you enjoy fishing and boating, you could definitely enjoy a little longer trip as long as the dam is full. There are also waterfalls farther away if you have the time and want to explore more in the area. The group I met there was staying 4 nights!


Directions & roads

The mulungushi boating club pin on google maps is exact and took me straight there with absolutely no problem. There are no signs along the way, so just keep following the map and the main gravel/dirt road. There will be 1 very small sign when you need to turn off the road to the left. This smaller dirt road is short but it is ungraded and has a few rough parts.

Accommodation

The club owned chalets are small yerts - circular open room with 2 single beds and an attached bathroom at the back and front porch overlooking the dam. The bathroom has a shower, but there are hot showers in a different building next door. The chalets / yerts are small, basic and affordable.

History

This place has a lot of history especially considering the Dam was built in 1925. It was actually opened by the Prince of Wales at the time! The pool was built in 2003. The club owned small chalets had the option of being purchased by club members in which case most tore it down and rebuilt with beautiful homes. However, I really don't know more than that of its history and would therefore love to learn more!


My experience

I was starting a 12 day road trip around Zambia and I wanted to stop somewhere along the way to Lusaka. So I decided to break up the trip by coming first to Mulungushi dam and stay 2 nights - only one full day. I came by myself, during the week, just after the busy long Easter weekend. I expected to see no one.


My first night there, I bumped into a couple who had come one night early before the rest of their group. As per Zambia subcultures and groups often go, they knew my husband's family and taught at my husband's high school.


By the time I arrived on Wednesday just before dark, it was late enough that I just set up the room, read, and had a light dinner activities for the next day. Thursday morning, I woke up early for coffee by the dam and went off for morning hike, ready for a dam tour and on the search to find a waterfall. Jonathan had Naomi lead me around which was a fun and unique experience to have a female guide. She is actually one of the caretakers at the dam, but did a wonderful job touring me around and putting up with my curiosity. We walked across the dam gates, through an area with cows, over the dam wall, and then up another hill where we saw caves but she would not let me adventure too far.

We came back across the dam and then down a very steep part to a beautiful waterfall.


At the end of the hike, I would have jumped in and swam in the waterfall, but since I only had one full day and wanted to also swim in the pool as well as join the group in the boating fun later on, I skipped the swim and instead headed to the pool for lunch. This is why I say I could have definitely stayed another night! Or at least planned out to have more time during the days.


After a lovey afternoon swim looking over the dam, I headed back and was greeted by the group which were getting ready to go out on the dam!




We had a beautiful late afternoon ride and an incredible sunset filled with G&Ts and meeting new friends. Some teenagers decided to be brave and risky with cliff jumping despite the cold temperatures as the sun was setting. We had a fabulous dinner full on with dancing at the end!




Budget Travel

Duh. And this one is super budget especially considering I didn't camp but still only paid a total of K420 ($20). K160 for 2 nights and there is also a K50 fee per day as a non club member. I believe that fee is higher on the weekends so make sure to ask.


Contact information

Since there is no/little service, you usually have to call a few times to get through to the numbers. Marriam is the manager and she was very helpful and welcoming.

097 9936287


Directions

The mulungushi boating club pin on google maps is exact and took me straight there with absolutely no problem. There are no signs along the way, so just keep following the map and the main gravel/dirt road. There will be 1 very small sign when you need to turn off the road to the left. This smaller dirt road is short but it is ungraded and has a few rough parts.


Is there network?

If you go up to the top of a hill you’ll get limited service with mtn but in the chalets and most places there was not any. They said airtel has service in most of the area. As far as getting there using google maps, I had service all the way up until entering the gate so that was not a problem.



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