Trip to Mbala, Zambia for Centenary Ceremony for the end of World War I in Africa
Our trip to Mbala was for five days with the principal event being the 25 November 2018 Ceremony marking the Centenary of the World War I surrender of German East African forces to British Forces which took place on 25 November 1918. We also visited other significant locations in Zambia’s Northern Province.
Our tour guide and driver was James Tembo from African Vacations. We left Lusaka at 4:30 am to avoid the traffic and headed north, reaching Kasama that night. We visited the Lettow Vorbeck (the German Commander during the War) Memorial on the way.
Day two and we visited the Chishimba Falls which are amazing, then headed north to Mpulungu on Lake Tanganyika where we visited the port (hum ho) then the old stone church (very interesting). Unfortunately, the accommodation in Mbala that night was not satisfactory, however we endured it with some sympathy for James who had been badly let down by the Lodge owner.
Day three was the Centenary Ceremony which was fascinating. All appeared to be chaos shortly before the Ceremony, but somehow they managed to pull together an impressive event with the Zambian President, Ambassadors, Generals and von Lettow-Vorbeck’s grandson all laying wreaths at the Mbala memorial. In the afternoon we visited the old jail (which needs work), the pioneer cemetery (interesting), and Mbala’s Museum (very impressive). There is a surprising amount to see in Mbala, but you need to know where to look.
Day four and we headed north to Kalambo Falls where a torrent of water falls 235 metres into the gorge below. An absolute must if you are in the area. We then headed south to Kapisha Hot Springs Lodge where we camped the night in the tents James had brought with him. Kapisha is definitely the place to stay in this area. We woke early for a swim in the hot spring then headed off to Shiwa House which is a grand English style country house and estate. Also a must see. James then drove us to home in Lusaka.
It was a great trip. We had no preconceived expectations, and the disappointing aspects of the trip were outweighed by the hidden gems we found. James did a good job organising then running the trip, and we’re sure he is now wiser for the experience.