Luanshya Travel Guide

  • A Flamboyant tree on the way to the Mine Club
    A Flamboyant tree on the way to the Mine...
    by Bwana_Brown
  • Luanshya Pirates - 1973/74 Zambian Softball Champs
    Luanshya Pirates - 1973/74 Zambian...
    by Bwana_Brown
  • Luanshya fans visit Kabwe
    Luanshya fans visit Kabwe
    by Bwana_Brown

Luanshya Things to Do

  • Get Married?

    Frankly, I never knew what hit me! I met Sue one Saturday night at a dance in the Horticultural Club (yes, I was getting desperate to spend Saturday night at a 'flower' place!) and that was that! We seemed to hit it off immediately and just wanted to be together from that time onward. Less than a year later, we were married in a simple ceremony in...

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  • Go out with the Boys

    It was great having these volunteers pouring into Luanshya from all over the world! Not long after I arrived, big Torben Peterson arrived from Denmark - a guy who did not say much (just my type!). I happened to be going on a driving expedition through the Congo to northern Zambia so asked him to come along, since he was new on the scene and did not...

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  • Enjoy the Foliage

    No question that Luanshya was the prettiest little town that I have ever lived in. As a former British colony, everything was done up properly! The numerical Streets ran one way and the Avenues the other, with all the Avenues being named after foliage of one kind or another with names such as Oleander ('O' Avenue as it was known), Wisteria,...

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  • Dag Hammarskjöld Memorial

    Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskjold was Secretary General of the United Nations between 1953-61, during the very peak of the Cold War years. Events taking place just a few miles from Luanshya were to have far-reaching consequences for him when the Congo (Zaire in my time) became independent from its Belgian colonial masters in a very messy 1960...

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  • Wide downtown streets

    I liked the layout of Luanshya's wide and treed streets, they shaded you from the hot sun and there were lots of free parking spaces. On the corner where the two main banks were located (Standard Bank and Barclays Bank), beautifully-blossomed Jacaranda trees grew as shown here. The second photo is a 'winter' view of one of the main streets, taken...

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  • Makoma Dam

    One of the main weekend attractions in Luanshya was Makoma Dam, a great little man-made resort just a few miles out of town. A side benefit of one of the 'tailings dams' required as part of the copper mine refining process, the resulting small lake was one of the main social scenes in Luanshya for decades. The second photo was taken by Sue a few...

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Luanshya Restaurants

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    Dipping the maize ball into my 'relish'

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Nov 13, 2006

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    One of the great things about having my household helper James prepare my meals was that I got to sample how the local Zambians ate. Here (in my local 'chitenge' shirt), I've returned home for a simple lunch called 'nshima', prepared by James . This is a traditional Zambian (and East/West African) dish made from ground maize (corn) flour known locally as 'mealie meal'. Although maize was not introduced to Africa until the mid-1500s, thanks to its importation from America by Portugese and other explorers, it soon took a very strong foothold with the locals due to its yields as compared to the previously used sorghum. It is a good thing that I had James doing the cooking, because preparation of nshima requires expert paddling of the boiled maize flour into a sticky paste. Once this is prepared (my left dish here), it is eaten without using implements by dipping a ball of this paste into a side dish of 'relish', which can be made of meat, poultry, fish or nuts and/or a vegetable such as rapeseed or cabbage. As you would expect, the flavour is really dependent on what is in the relish and how you want to 'spice' it up a bit. I am not a fussy eater, so found it to be a great meal the way James prepared it!

    By the way, the triganglar carton on the table was how the milk was locally delivered to your door - it was UHT treated so it would not spoil. It had been a long time since I had ever seen home delivery of milk, and I certainly was not expecting it in Zambia! The Chess set on the table was one of the things I used to help pass my time in Luanshya, having a couple of regular foes in those pre-internet days.

    Favorite Dish: My cooking skills were basically non-existant when I arrived in Zambia, but I was lucky that one of the local women Volunteers from Canada, Helen, took me under her wing and tried to teach me a bit of self-sufficiency! I had a lot of great meals eating-out at functions hosted by other volunteers or married couples and I think they really kept me going! All of the cities and towns on the Copperbelt had a great mixture of restaurants (especially Chinese) so I also enjoyed those few times eating-out under more expensive conditions than normal for a 'poor' Volunteer.

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Luanshya Nightlife

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    Torben outside an African 'bush' bar

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Apr 12, 2007

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    Luanshya was quite well stocked with places to go for evening entertainment. With it being a mining town, the company had made sure there were lots of amenities to keep its hundreds of contract workers happy. They built first-class facilities including the Rugby Club, Golf Club, Tennis Club, Cricket Club, Horticultural Club, Makoma Dam and so on, all of which held fairly regular weekend dances in their large bar areas. After I met Sue at my one and only Horticultural Club dance, we usually frequented the Saturday night dances at the Rugby Club from there on. It was a lively and cosy spot with the beers flowing and a great 2-man disco setup called 'Disco2000' and wow, we thought that was a really distant future time!

    In my earlier days in town I often frequented the African bars to enjoy their ambiance. Cold Castle or Lion beers were standard fare as we enjoyed the great beat of the local rumba bands blaring away on scratchy record players. I've still got a few old 45 rpm records to remind me of the sounds! The majority of the customers were African men and there was no problem with men dancing with men when the beat simply got to be too much to resist! It was also common to see men walking down the streets of Luanshya holding hands. It was also customary for volunteers posted in more distant locations to stay with their buddies when travelling around the country. As a result, I often took guys who were visiting with me to these bars and we really enjoyed those evenings out seeing how the Zambians entertained themselves! They had interesting names too, like Phyllis's Pleasure Palace or Theo's Bar & Delicatessen.

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Luanshya Transportation

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    My Peugeot 204 in front of the Mine Club entrance 1 more image

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Mar 30, 2007

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    Very shortly after arriving in Zambia, I scouted around Luanshya for a used car that I could afford to buy on my meagre 'Volunteer' salary (it had helped that, while waiting for my Zambia departure date, I was able to return to my old Canadian summer job for for about 3 months after graduating from university). I was in luck when I came across a 1970 Peugeot 204 station wagon that was in good shape. I am not very mechanically-minded and did not give the car proper maintenance while I had it, but it sure was a reliable vehicle nevertheless! I drove it to Malawi twice, Victoria Falls once, Lake Tanganyika once, Lake Mweru three times, Lubumbashi (Congo) once and numerous times to Lusaka as well as all around the Copperbelt Province. Because gasoline (petrol) supplies were 'iffy' at times, I always carried a jerry-can of the stuff with me, giving the car a range of about 700 miles before I was in trouble.

    It had a strange system whereby you only needed a key to unlock the doors - once you were inside a twist of a knob on the dash started it up and you were away. Because the larger Peugeot 404 sedans were very popular as taxis, they were stolen all the time for spare parts and I am still amazed that my poor little car was not broken into and driven off into the sunset during the 2 years I had it!

    I recently read an account of an expatriate couple who returned to Zambia for a visit, driving up from South Africa. At a police road check in Zambia, he was asked to produce his drivers licence, so he pulled out his old one from the 1960s - they have no expiry date. The police were quite amused and waved him onward! Sue and I are planning a return visit sometime in the near-future, so I plan to bring my old 1972 licence with me as well (2nd photo) to see how I make out!

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Luanshya Local Customs

  • Help around my Flat

    On my arrival in Zambia, I was not used to the fact that having one of the locals to help around the house or in the 'garden' (outside) was a fact of life. Zambia became independent 8 years before I arrived on the scene, yet I kept getting various people knocking on my front door asking if I could take them on as a 'servant'. I turned them down for...

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  • My dog 'Waldo'

    Waldo was my faithful companion for almost 2 years in Luanshya. The first I saw of him was in a nightime tropical downpour not long after I arrived, whimpering at the door of my ground-level flat on the Zambia Institute of Technology campus. After feeding him, I let him spend the night and the rest was history! I later found out that his name was...

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Luanshya Warnings and Dangers

  • Liberation Movements?

    The early 1970s were not a peaceful time in Central Africa. The white settlers in Zambia's (which was formerly called Northern Rhodesia) sister colony of Southern Rhodesia decided to buck Africa's trend of black-rule by declaring unilateral independence from Britain in 1965 and then broke completely by becoming a white-ruled republic in 1970. This...

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  • Serious Break-in

    As a young child I lived in Luanshya with my family. Like Bwana Brown's story of a break-in, we had also been warned to keep the German Shepherd dogs shut in the kitchen to avoid them eating poisoned meat. One night, my mother woke up thinking that she had heard a sawing sound. She listened carefully but thought she had imagined it so she went back...

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  • Dynus saved us

    As I looked out at the robbers, I thought: "they know we are home, one has been chased out, phone does not work, no neighbours across the street - and yet these guys refuse to leave". A few seconds after processing this, I concluded that I was going to have to go out and kill the 3 of them. Once I had made that decision, my fears were gone and I...

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Luanshya Off The Beaten Path

  • Copper Mining

    Luanshya was home to the Roan Antelope Mine, where copper was first discovered in Central Africa, leading to the development of major mines in both Zambia and the Congo (Zaire). The mine got its name because of a hunter who took a shot at a Roan Antelope in the 1920s, but missed it and hit a rock instead. Upon examination of the rock, he noticed...

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  • Zambia Institute of Technology

    The Zambia Institute of Technology campus located in Luanshya was the one place in the country where those not attending the University of Zambia (Lusaka) could receive an education in various technical trades, including electricity. I arrived here fresh from 5-years studying in Canada to achieve my degree in Electrical Engineering, tasked with...

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  • Tailings Dams

    In the processing of copper ore to get at the minerals in it, water is added to the material brought up from the mines. Once the slurry has passed through the concentrator, the leftover watery mixture becomes waste and these 'tailings' are usually stored on the surface behind huge dams. Such was the case in Luanshya, and these things were huge....

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Luanshya Sports & Outdoors

  • Zambian Fast-pitch Softball Champions

    In the Copperbelt area of Zambia, softball was a big sport in the early 1970s. Teams competed from the various mining towns (Kitwe, Ndola, Chingola, Mufilira, Chililibomwe, Chibuluma and, of course, Luanshya with even a distant team from Lusaka taking a stab at it!). The sport was played over the Oct-Feb period with once per week matches being...

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  • Tennis

    As a member of the Luanshya, Zambia tennis club team, I took part in a 1973 tournament with a Zairean club located about 160 miles west of Lubumbashi (Elizabethville) in Kolwezi. I was very well looked after by my Belgian host (shown here) who worked at the copper mines in Kolwezi. About 5 years later, in May 1978, this town was taken over by...

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