Ndola is a large city in the Copperbelt of northern Zambia, 10 km from the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. With a population in 2010 of 475,194, Ndola is all about mining. It powered the Zambian economy until the 1970s, then the price of copper crashed while oil prices soared, and Zambia sank under huge debts. The city has diversified into limestone, and from 2005 the price of copper recovered, but with little visible benefit to Ndola.
The crackings and creakings of plate tectonics brought a rich vein of minerals, principally copper, to lie beneath northern Zambia, with the Katanga finger of the Democratic Republic of Congo extending south to share in this. This was loot for the colonial powers, exploiting dirt-cheap local labour in hazardous conditions for a valuable material whose profits were enjoyed far away - by Belgium for what is now the DRC, and by Britain for Northern Rhodesia which is now Zambia. Independence meant that a local clique clawed the profits away from multi-national companies, but with small benefit to the country at large or to those who sweated in the mines. And to the extent that those countries did benefit, there was resentment at sharing the profits, so separatist movements sprang up using much the same rhetoric that they'd chanted against the colonists. In Zambia Kenneth Kaunda kept a lid on things, but the Congo conflict spiralled into civil war, with Katanga declaring independence and armed conflict in the Congo engulfing even UN non-combatant peacekeepers. On 18 Sept 1961 Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, flew in to resolve the conflict. His aircraft crashed on approach to Ndola and all on board were killed. The circumstances of this have been pored over as closely as those around the death of JF Kennedy, with multiple conspiracy theories. The key point is that he was inbound, with everything still to play for in the peace talks; so this favours pilot fatigue and simple navigational error.
- 1 Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport (NLA IATA) (located about three kilometres from downtown). As the largest town in the copperbelt and an important economic hub, Ndola is well served by both domestic and international flights. Flights from Addis Ababa by Ethiopian Airlines, from Johannesburg by South African Airways, Airlink and Interair as well as flights from Nairobi by Kenya Airways. Domestic flights from Lusaka and other cities in Zambia are mostly run by Proflight Zambia.
By bus or car
Ndola is about a 4- to 5-hour drive from Lusaka on a well paved road. Many buses run from Lusaka to Ndola. The most reliable company is Mazhandu Family Bus Services, which runs several buses a day. The bus ticket costs 65 kwacha (about $6.50 USD). The bus ride to Kitwe, 58 km away, takes 45 minutes. A bus from Kapiri Mposhi, 121 km away, takes 3 hours.
- 1 Dag Hammarskjöld Crash Site Memorial (10km southwest of Ndola, along highway to Kitwe). Site of the plane crash that killed former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld in 1961. There's a garden and a small museum dedicated to his life and the role of the UN.
- 2 Copperbelt Museum, Buteko Ave, downtown, ☏ . 08:00-17:00 M-F, 12:00-17:00 Sa, closed Su. Exhibits on local mining industry, bird species, and ethnography. Something to pass the time downtown because it is not too exciting around here.
- Nsobe Game Camp, ☏ , .
- Standard Chartered Bank. Has a Visa and MasterCard ATM.
- Stanbic bank. Has a Visa and MasterCard ATM.
- Jacaranda Mall Pick N pay, T 3 highway. Has a Pick N pay supermarket.
- Shoprite Supermarket, 91 President Aveune.
- Spar Supermarket, President Avenue.
- Bei Tempi. Pizza and pasta
- Michelangelo's, 126 Broadway Rd. Wash the food down with a cold beer or some matured wine.
- Deja Vu. Uptown modern restaurant offering a wide variety of succulent cuisines.
- [formerly dead link] Vanilla Bread, 126 Broadway Rd. Coffeeshop next door to Michaelangelo's (run by the same owners)
- Bo'Jangles pub and pizzeria.
- Kafubu Mall (opposite Golf course).
- [dead link] Kinsa Lodge, 24 Petauke Crescent, Kansenshi. This hotel is popular with business travelers and NGO workers. Rooms have TVs, mini fridges, and electric kettles. Breakfast and dinner are available. The hotel bar shows football (soccer) games, so it can get loud on game nights.
- [formerly dead link] Michelangelo Lodge, 126 Broadway Rd, ☏ . single/double room with own bathroom. has 20 rooms.
- New Ambassador Hotel, President avenue (near Plaza cinema), ☏ . Fan room with shared bathroom. has 30 rooms. from K250..
- Ukadzi Guest House, 5866 Lisiwashi road (off airport cargo road). Check-in: 12 noon, check-out: 11am. fan double room with own bathroom. from K190..
- 1 Muuka Gardens and Lodge, No. 9 Mkuni Road. has a pool, mosquito nets, a/c, wifi. 726 Kwacha.
- 2 Urban Hotel, Golf Estate. On the Ndola Golf Club, has wifi, restaurant, breakfast, pool.