Ndola Travel Guide: 30 things to do in Ndola, Zambia.
Updated: Sep 8, 2020
A couple years ago if I had heard anything close to thirty referring to Ndola activities, I would have been in shock. But after much exploring and asking around (since google will only avail five of these places) we have quite a list!
I have left out eating only places, but there is overlap with some of the swimming and scenic places having restaurants and bars included. Of course there are more things to do such as braii, bike rides, movies and more...but I have just focused on places to go. It is broken up into 5 lists: site seeing, outdoor places with swimming, outdoor places without swimming, hiking activities and rooftop views of the city.
Dag Hammarskjöld Crash Site Memorial
This is the top recommended thing to do in Ndola online, for good reason. The tour guides are very well versed in the information and even have travelled internationally to learn and speak for the film all about Dag Hammarskjöld. It's a cold case mystery and there is a documentary all about it on youtube here. The location itself is gorgeous with trees brought from all over the world that have now grown tall. It would be a lovely place to spend more time apart from just the tour. There is an entrance fee with a small local rate (less than k50) for residents and about $15 for foreign visiters. The road is paved the whole way and it's a short distance from town.
The Copperbelt Museum
This is a very basic museum. It's small with simple artefacts and maps to learn more about Ndola and the Copperbelt Province. The cost is $5 adults and $3 kids, with no local rate. It takes less than an hour to go through and I'd say go for it, but if you miss it, you're not missing much. Learn more about its history here.
The Slave Tree
There is no official tour for this. I think it's worth it to experience and reflect on a part of Zambia's history, but really is not very helpful or insightful into the history behind it. It's in town and anyone could point you to it.
Chichele Mofu Tree
I have heard it referred to as the freedom tree and there is also no official tour for this tree. It has now fallen but is still significant. I would say the same for the freedom tree as the slave tree when it comes to the history and experience. It is located on the Ndola-Kitwe road, near the Luanshya turn off. If you go on the Dag Hammarskjöld tour, the guide tells some interesting historical and tribal stories about it.
Polish World War ll Memorial Site
There also a polish memorial in Bwana Mkubwa, not far from a sunken lake we went to, but unfortunately we forgot to ask how to find it once there so I haven't been yet. The monument is in honor of the 18,000 polish refugees who found asylum after fleeing Europe in 1943 and there is a graveyard for those who died nearby. You can read more about it here. I'll update once I go!
Outdoor places with swimming
Protea is under the Marriott hotel group and is known as the nicest hotel in Ndola. It is worth going for a meal in the beautiful dining area or sitting outside by the pool for cocktails. The pool is lovely and set apart from the eating areas. Protea is located just across from the Stadium.
The Urban Hotel
Just as the name suggests, the hotel is located just in town, next to the golf course. It has an eclectic style with local art and modern design. The swimming pool is located in the middle of the outdoor seating and therefore is not as popular to swim in. It's a beautiful outdoor space and has a pretty good menu. They sometimes host events.
Located in Hillcrest, just next to the stadium, is a somewhat new hotel. The garden space is lovely and the pool brings extra beauty to this location. There is an outdoor bar and restaurant area, along with private hut style places to eat from. The hotel and grounds are all modern. This would be a great place to come swimming in warm weather or just have a meal or drink enjoying the outdoor space.
Mukuba Hotel is known for it's beautiful scenery, swimming and having impala and peacocks roaming freely. The rooms are still well kept and more affordable than the other large hotels in Ndola. While it is dubbed as "the gem of the copperbelt," it is aged and notably out of date, but still a lovely afternoon spot. They have many lounge chairs by the pool. The location is a little ways out of town, by the trade fair grounds.
Glamville Spa & Health Bar
Located in town on Broadway avenue, Glamville is a home property that has been transformed into a salon, spa, boutique, restaurant, coffee and juice bar. It has a gorgeous outside space to enjoy freshly squeezed juices, restaurant food and swimming. It's also a great place to be pampered. There are events about every other month which are advertised on both Ndola Health Bar and Glamville pages.
Located in Kansenshi, Kumbali Lodge has a similar vibe to Glamville Health Bar with outdoor seating and a swimming pool. It is pretty secluded with beautiful landscaping, restaurant, bar and lodging for short or long term.
Loacted in Northrise, Castle Lodge has been around for many years, though I only heard of it recently. They have a lovely pool area along with beautiful event space, restaurant, bar and many rooms for accommodation. They sometimes have Friday braii nights with live music and other events.
Dola Hill Rollerskating Rink and Arcade
Outdoor rollerskating came to Ndola recently as well as an arcade! Part of Dola Hill Mall (also referred to as the chinese mall) has an outdoor amusement area with tons of games for children such as bumper cars, a merry-go-round, a swimming pool and the roller rink, just next to an upstairs arcade and a large gym.
It is only k20 to skate and includes skate rentals (roller skates not blades available). I definitely recommend going in the evening and not during the heat of the day. The sunsets are beautiful from there and in the evenings the colorful lights make it fun. In my experience, they will also allow you to play your own music from their sound system. The staff is helpful and friendly. The upstairs arcade is mostly full of children games but does have a few racing, snowmobile and shooting games as well as a fully stocked bar. It is affordable and we find it to be fun! I'd absolutely recommend trying it out.
It's been many years since I went to savoy hotel to swim so I cannot give an updated review but in 2013 it was a nice place to swim, though not very up to date. It was pretty crowded but kind of nice because places aren't normally crowded with the buzz of people having fun during the day in Ndola. There is a bar area, places to sit and lounge, changing rooms and bathrooms. The pool area is outdoors up on one of the top floors of the hotel.
The Ndola Swimming Pool
The large olympic size swimming pool is well known but not popular. There is a restaurant and bar here "High Dive bar and grill" which has a few basic drinks and meals. The cost is about the same as other more private and beautiful landscaped swimming places as mentioned above. I did not see any lounge chairs nor shaded area here.
Outdoor places without swimming
Ndola Boating Club
The boat club is arguably the most beautiful view and location in Ndola, situated on the Kafubu river. It is the only place to enjoy the river views and landscape beyond. It is a members only club by a yearly fee open to anyone to apply, but if you want to go for the day, they allow anyone to enter with a day fee (about k60). The drinks are affordable and the food is good, it's a great place to enjoy sundowners or a chilled afternoon.
Ndola Golf Club
Not as beautiful or serene as the boat club but still with a nice view of the golf course. It does tend to be noisy with trucks driving up and down the hill. If you're not into golf but still want the outdoor scenic experience, there is a restaurant there that is open for anyone to come dine.
Cherry Farm House
Cherry farm is a private residence estate with lovely scenery and a Pub in Misundu area. On the non resident pub area side, there is a large open field available for events. The Pub opens on Friday evenings with great bar food and drinks. The host both private and every so often public events, along with the recently launched monthly farmers market.
Njele Country Park
This is a lodge, event center and restaurant located just outside of Ndola near the Dag Dag Hammarskjöld site. It is a nice place to have attend an event, stay the night or to enjoy the scenery while having a meal, though not a lot to do here.
Outdoor Hiking Activities
Across from the stadium just into Mitengo is a hill that looks over Ndola. I believe this is the second tallest hill in Ndola and has an outstanding panoramic view of the northern side of the city, looking towards Kitwe. There are many trees at the very top which hide part the views over the city. I would recommend going during the week to avoid some of the loud church meetings that take place towards the top of the hill, but any time or day, you may find people praying loudly. It's about a 10 minute steep hike straight up, with many different paths. To find it, you drive towards the hill and turn left at the forestry sign, on the dirt road turn left again until you are right at the bottom of the hill.
The highest hill in Ndola has a beautiful view from the southern side of the city, near the industrial area. Due to security reasons, this isn't exactly open to the public. It's pretty easy to find if you just drive towards the tall hill, but they may or may not allow hiking. There are two paths up, the service "road" and a through the trees path. There is an area to park at the bottom if the guards allow access and it is only employees who are there.
I found out about Itawa Spring only after visiting the Dag Hammarskjöld memorial. So we went to go find it! It is located behind Zambian Breweries via the railroad tracks. It was difficult to find but once we asked someone while walking along the railroad tracks, they directed us there quickly. The spring was full of children swimming which sort of felt like we were disturbing their place of play. While parts of it are very pretty, it isn't a place I'd say to go hang out and picnic for the day, unless you find a private area away from all the activity.
Town Railroad tracks and nature trails
But with that said, the walk along the railroad tracks are quite lovely and there are also some small trails around that area that I would have never guessed are right in the center of Ndola!
Millennium Park (Gomes Farm)
Set outside of the city near fatima, is a beautiful farm with a large swimming pool, dinning hall, go-carts and track, blow up jumping castles/toys and braii stands all set along a river. There is an entrance fee and then a cost for the go carts. The other activities are included in the entrance fee. The times I have been here, no one else has been around.
This is a sunken lake just outside of the city in Masaiti. It shows up on google maps (chirengwa lake) and is pretty straight forward to get there. The roads are all gravel and dirt but well grated. We did not hike down to access to the lakeshore but that is possible. We had a lovely picnic and walk around the outer top of the lake.
We also went looking for another sunken lake nearby, Lake Ishiku, in Bwana Makubwa.
When we were on the point where google maps shows the location, we were told that the road was too difficult to get there. Seeing as we were in a 4x4, if they still felt it was unreachable, we decided to not give it a go. It was towards the end of rainy season so maybe it would be accessible in a drier part of the year.
However, just down the road, we did see a different lake, which was explained to us as an old query part of Lime Ndola. We parked and walked around the beautiful lake. It was very private and not necessarily open to tourists.
Misundu Sunken Lake
Located past Cherry Farm on Misundu road, is a small sunken lake, referred to as the old mine. We drove on Misundu road until it turns into a dirt road and about 7km after the police check point, there were a few people sitting by a tree. From there, it's just a right turn on the first dirt road (at the tree) and then turn left on the immediate next dirt road. We parked here and walked. It's a short walk to where some space is cleared with two large logs and some large stones. Up the hill will be a long set of steps going down to the lake. The shore is small but there is a tiny space to sit around. We did not hike around the lake but it looked like an option.
Nsobe Game Park
The closest thing to safari in the Copperbelt, Nsobe Game Park is beautiful and has some fun activities to do. There is a variety of different lodging options, swimming pool, private spa area, restaurant, bar, braii space, camping space, canoe and more. For more information, read my blog post here all about Nsobe Game Park.
Rooftop Views (& Indoor Stair climbing)
If looking for somewhere to train or see similar beautiful views, premium plaza (tallest building in Ndola) is also a place to run stairs and have a look over the city from Kansenshi neigborhood. We just found the set of stairs at the backside and ran them. It is open to the residents of course and does not seem to be a disturbance when going for the rooftop view and climbing stairs.
Similar to Premium Plaza, the stairs are open to store holders and residents. The building is right in town and the second tallest building in Ndola. It has beautiful rooftop views with some space to walk around at the top, but keep in mind it is residential homes at the top so best to not stay long at the top to not disturb. But it's great for the view and/or exercising and mountain training!
Nearby but not Ndola based
There are many more places for camping and outdoor activities in the Luanshya, Mpongwe and Kitwe areas which are less than an hour from Ndola but I'll put those into a separate list and blog post.
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