What to know about Kitwe

Of all the cities in Zambia, Kitwe is the second largest after Lusaka. This measure is in terms of size and population. Kitwe is geographically an integral part of the Copperbelt Province. Here’s what to know about Kitwe.

Kitwe is located in the northern part of Zambia and has a total population of approximately 522,092 inhabitants.  Situated sixty four kilometres west of Ndola, Kitwe is the hub of the Copperbelt and the principle industrial and commercial centre of the area.


Kitwe was founded in 1936 in north-central Zambia as a supportive part of an expanding copper-mining centre at Nkana. It developed from a small township to the second largest city due to a huge rise in copper prices in the 1950’s. Subsequently obtained city status in 1966. It then developed as an industrial and commercial area and later an important agricultural area.


There are several big mining corporations plying their trade out of Kitwe. Minerals coming out of this area include copper and cobalt.


Although Kitwe is not really configured and set up for tourism, there are still a few places of interest. Firstly, within the Kitwe boundaries are two beautiful rivers to compliment the breathtaking surroundings. Secondly, there is a dam seven kilometres southwest of the city centre catering to the avid swimmer and boat enthusiast. Thirdly, there is an arts and crafts market showcasing a variety of copper artefacts. Lastly, 30 kilometres from Kitwe on the Kalalushi/ Kasempa road is a charming Bird Sanctuary run by the Wildlife Society.



In the first place, Kitwe is accessible by road via the main highway through the Copperbelt.


To start with Ndola Airport is a mere 60km south-east of Kitwe making it a viable option for air travel. The airport services regular commercial flights from Lusaka, Solwezi, Addis Ababa, Nairobi, and Johannesburg.


Kitwe is part of of the Zambia Railways passenger services, lying right at the end of the line.


As a well developed city, Kitwe boasts various Government, private and mission schools. These cater for both primary and secondary education. Additionally the city is home to several high education and tertiary institutions. Some of the more prominent schools include;

1. Mpelembe Secondary School

This is one of the biggest secondary schools in the city and one of the top 10 best schools in Zambia.

2. Lechwe School

A multi-cultural school providing pre-school, primary, secondary, and advanced level teaching following a Cambridge curriculum.

3. St. Johns Convent School

One of the largest Catholic schools in the province providing pre-school, primary and secondary teaching following a Zambian syllabus.

Kitwe has three universities:

  • Copperbelt University (CBU)
  • Copperstone University
  • Zambia Catholic University


Perhaps the best neighbourhoods in Kitwe are Riverside, Parklands and Nkana East. These areas are favourable because they are low density, quiet, have abundant amenities and low crime rates. On the other side of the spectrum are townships such as Chamboli, Wusakile, Nkana West, Ndeke, Kwacha and Chimwemwe. These areas are mostly inhabited by miners and ex-miners.

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