You know that feeling of apprehension when you cautiously survey a new environment, giving yourself away easily as newbie and sticking out like a sore thumb. Well, Kitwe never gives you the opportunity. Rather, the city welcomes you with open arms, blending you in easily into its day to day flow of life, as if you have always been a part of its existence.
Kitwe lies at an altitude of 1295m and it is the very heart of the Copperbelt. Located at a distance of about 368km from Lusaka (about a 5-hour drive from the capital of Zambia), the city grew out of Nkana area where the first shaft was sunk in 1928. In 1932, copper smelting operations began and the growth of the mining industry gave birth to townships in 1935. A management board was instituted in 1951 and it was elevated to a Municipal Council in 1954.
The rainy season in Kitwe features high rainfall with humidity which lasts from November to April. This is followed by cool dry season from mid-April to August, while a short hot dry season is experienced from September to mid-November. Evenings are usually cool, even during the hot dry season.
Like most parts of Zambia, the people in Kitwe are friendly, cheerful and eager to help you. In fact, one is treated with a certain familiarity that borders on a feeling that you are being ignored, because nobody pays you that extra bit of attention as a stranger. It feels as if you stepped out of your room to go get something down the road. You certainly don’t get a homecoming reception when you return to your room.