Mpulungu Travel Guide

Discover the hidden gems of Mpulungu, Zambia with this comprehensive travel guide. From cultural attractions to outdoor adventures, and local cuisine to transportation options, plan your perfect trip to Mpulungu.

Introduction to Mpulungu

Mpulungu is a hidden gem in Northern Plateau, Zambia. This vibrant town is situated in a prime position on the southern shores of Lake Tanganyika, the second deepest freshwater lake in the world. Mpulungu boasts of its scenic views, natural wonders, cultural landmarks, and unique local cuisine. To help you make the most of your trip to Mpulungu, we have compiled an extensive travel guide with essential information and recommendations.

List of Places to Visit in Mpulungu

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Mpulungu Museum: Mpulungu Museum is a must-visit attraction for those interested in the rich history and culture of the region. The museum contains a vast collection of traditional artifacts, photographs, and documents.

  • Nsongezi Rock: Nsongezi Rock is a sacred site for the Bemba people, and it has historical significance in the region. Visitors can explore the site and learn about the rock’s spiritual and cultural significance in the area.

  • Kasaba Bay: Kasaba Bay is a historical site that served as an important port during the slave trade era in Africa. The bay now offers a serene environment for visitors to relax and take in beautiful views of the lake and surrounding islands.

Natural Attractions of Mpulungu: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Kalambo Falls: Kalambo Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in Africa, cascading over 700 feet down into the Kalambo Gorge below. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the falls from various viewpoints and hiking trails.

  • Lake Tanganyika: Lake Tanganyika is the highlight of Mpulungu, offering a range of water activities such as fishing, snorkeling, and boating. Visitors can also experience the local culture and hospitality by staying in a lakeside resort or homestay.

  • Ndole Bay: Ndole Bay is an idyllic beach located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. The beach offers excellent swimming opportunities and stunning views of the sunset over the lake.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Mpulungu

Mpulungu is the perfect destination for adventure seekers, with several hiking and biking trails to explore. Some of the popular routes include:

  • Kalambo Falls Trail: The Kalambo Falls Trail is a challenging hike that takes visitors through the rugged terrain and lush vegetation of the Kalambo Gorge. The trail ends at the stunning Kalambo Falls viewpoint.

  • Ndole Bay Trail: The Ndole Bay Trail is a moderate hike that takes visitors through picturesque villages, lush forests, and scenic vistas. The trail ends at the tranquil Ndole Bay Beach.

Best Things to Do in Mpulungu: Activities and Tours

Mpulungu offers a range of activities and tours for travelers to experience the local culture, cuisine, and hospitality. Some of the best things to do in Mpulungu include:

  • Traditional Village Tour: Take a tour of a traditional Bemba village and learn about the local customs and way of life of the region’s people.

  • Lake Tanganyika Boat Cruise: Explore Lake Tanganyika on a boat cruise and enjoy the stunning scenery and serenity of the lake.

  • Fish Market Visit: Visit the local fish market to witness the vibrant trade of the lake’s fresh fish and taste the delicious local cuisine.

Week-Long Itinerary for Mpulungu

Day 1: Explore the town of Mpulungu and visit the Mpulungu Museum and Nsongezi Rock.

Day 2: Hike the Kalambo Falls Trail and enjoy the stunning views of the Kalambo Falls.

Day 3: Take a boat cruise on Lake Tanganyika and visit some of the nearby islands.

Day 4: Experience the tranquility of Ndole Bay and enjoy swimming and relaxing on the beach.

Day 5: Visit the Kasaba Bay historical site and learn about the region’s history and culture.

Day 6: Take a traditional village tour and learn about the local customs and way of life.

Day 7: Departure day.

Food and Drink Scene of Mpulungu

Must-Try Dishes

  • Kapenta: Kapenta is a small freshwater fish that is popular in the region. It is usually dried and eaten with nsima, a staple in the Zambian diet.

  • Chikanda: Chikanda is a local delicacy made from ground peanut flour, wild orchid tubers, and spices.

  • Munkoyo: Munkoyo is a popular traditional drink made from ground maize and the Munkoyo tree bark.

Local Beverages

  • Buko: Buko is a fermented maize drink that is popular in Northern Zambia.

  • Tujilijili: Tujilijili is a local brewed spirit made from cassava or other root vegetables.

Where to Stay in Mpulungu: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Lake Shore Lodge: Lake Shore Lodge is a luxury lakeside resort that offers magnificent views of Lake Tanganyika and a range of activities and amenities.

  • Ndole Bay Lodge: Ndole Bay Lodge is a rustic beachfront lodge that offers comfortable accommodations and exceptional food and drinks.

  • Mpulungu Harbour Guesthouse: Mpulungu Harbour Guesthouse is a budget-friendly guesthouse located in the heart of Mpulungu town.

What to Buy in Mpulungu: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Chitenge Fabric: Chitenge fabric is a vibrant and colorful fabric that is a popular souvenir in Zambia. It is often used for clothing and home decor.

  • Handmade Crafts: Handmade crafts such as baskets, pottery, and wooden carvings are popular souvenirs in the region.

Local Culture and Customs of Mpulungu

The Bemba people are the dominant ethnic group in Mpulungu. The people of Mpulungu are known for their warm hospitality and friendliness. Visitors are advised to respect local customs and traditions.

Best Time to Visit Mpulungu

The best time to visit Mpulungu is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. During this time, the weather is pleasant, and the lake is ideal for water activities. However, visitors can also visit Mpulungu during the rainy season, which runs from November to April.

Do’s and Don’ts of Mpulungu


  • Respect local customs and traditions.
  • Take a guided tour to get the most out of your experience.
  • Take precautions against malaria and other diseases.


  • Wear revealing clothing in public places.
  • Disrespect local customs and traditions.
  • Drink tap water without boiling or treating it first.

Safety and Health

Safety in Mpulungu

Mpulungu is a relatively safe town for visitors. However, visitors are advised to take precautions against petty theft and to be vigilant at night.

Health in Mpulungu

Visitors to Mpulungu are advised to take precautions against malaria, which is endemic in the area. Visitors should also take precautions against other diseases such as typhoid and cholera by drinking bottled water and practicing good hygiene.

Getting to Mpulungu: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Mpulungu

The nearest airport to Mpulungu is Kasama Airport, which is approximately 200 km away. Visitors can also fly into Ndola Airport and take a bus or taxi to Mpulungu.

Bus Stations Near Mpulungu

The nearest bus stations to Mpulungu are in Kasama and Mbala. Buses run regularly from major towns and cities in Zambia to these stations.

Other Options

Visitors can also hire a private car or taxi to travel to Mpulungu from major towns and cities in Zambia.

How to Get Around in Mpulungu

Walking and biking are popular ways to explore the town of Mpulungu. Visitors can also use taxis or hire a car to explore the surrounding areas and attractions.

Where to Go Next from Mpulungu: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Some of the nearby destinations and excursions include:

  • Kasanka National Park: Kasanka National Park is a wildlife reserve located approximately 300 km from Mpulungu.

  • Shiwa Ng’andu: Shiwa Ng’andu is a historical estate located approximately 300 km from Mpulungu.


Mpulungu is a beautiful town in Northern Zambia that offers visitors a unique blend of culture, natural wonders, and adventure. With this comprehensive travel guide, you will be able to plan and enjoy your trip to Mpulungu to the fullest. From historical landmarks to outdoor adventures and local cuisine to transportation options, Mpulungu has something for everyone.