Choma, Zambia

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Choma, Zambia

Region: Southern


Geographic Coordinates: -16.771100, 26.992200
Climate: Climate and weather patterns in Choma, Zambia?
Population: 51842
Language: English

Choma is a vibrant town located in the southern region of Zambia, Nestled in the beautiful and picturesque landscape of the Southern Province. Known as the provincial capital, Choma is a bustling hub that offers visitors a unique blend of cultural heritage, Natural wonders, And warm Zambian hospitality. One of the highlights of Choma is its rich history and cultural significance. The town is home to several traditional tribes such as the Tonga people who have inhabited this area for centuries.

Visitors can immerse themselves in local customs by attending traditional ceremonies or exploring historical sites like Mukuni Park, Which showcases artifacts and exhibits that depict the region’s past. Nature enthusiasts will be captivated by Choma’s stunning surroundings. The town lies near two national parks – Lochinvar National Park and Kafue National Park – both offering incredible wildlife experiences. Lochinvar National Park boasts an expansive wetland ecosystem where visitors can witness abundant birdlife, Including rare species such as wattled cranes and pelicans.

Kafue National Park, On the other hand, Offers thrilling game drives where you may spot elephants, Lions, Leopards, And various antelope species roaming freely across vast plains. For those seeking adventure off-the-beaten-path destinations around Choma offer exciting opportunities. Just outside town lies Lake Kariba – one of Africa’s largest man-made lakes – providing an ideal setting for fishing excursions or leisurely boat trips to admire breathtaking sunsets over its tranquil waters. Choma also has a vibrant market scene where locals sell fresh produce alongside beautifully crafted traditional crafts like baskets and pottery.

Exploring these markets allows visitors to engage with friendly locals while supporting their livelihoods through purchasing authentic Zambian souvenirs. When it comes to accommodation options in Choma there are several comfortable lodges that cater to different budgets offering cozy rooms with modern amenities ensuring a pleasant stay throughout your visit. Choma embodies Zambia’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in immersing yourself in local traditions, Embarking on thrilling wildlife safaris, Or simply relaxing amidst stunning landscapes, Choma has something for everyone.

Its warm and welcoming atmosphere combined with its diverse attractions make it a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic Zambian experience.



Important Landmarks

  1. Choma Museum and Crafts Project: This museum showcases the cultural heritage of the Tonga people, who are indigenous to this region. It offers insights into their history, traditions, arts, crafts, and way of life.
  2. Mukuni Park Curio Market: Located near Choma’s central business district, this market is known for its wide range of local crafts and curios. Visitors can browse through various handmade items such as wood carvings, traditional clothing, jewelry, and more.
  3. Batoka Gorge: Situated about 10 kilometers from Choma town center along the Lusaka-Livingstone Road is Batoka Gorge—a scenic attraction offering breathtaking views over a deep gorge carved by the Zambezi River.
  4. Kalundu Mound: A historical site located on top of a hill just outside Choma town center where you can find ancient artifacts dating back hundreds of years.
  5. Lake Kariba: Although not directly in Choma but within driving distance (around 3-4 hours), Lake Kariba is one of Zambia’s largest lakes known for its fishing opportunities and beautiful sunsets.
  6. Kafue National Park: Another attraction that requires some travel from Choma (around 3-4 hours), Kafue National Park is one of Africa’s largest national parks with diverse wildlife including lions, elephants, hippos, crocodiles among others.

It’s worth noting that while these attractions may not be exclusive to Choma alone or within close proximity to it like other major cities or destinations in Zambia; they can still be accessed from Choma with a bit of travel.


Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture: Choma is known for its agricultural activities, including crop farming, livestock rearing, and horticulture. Maize, sorghum, cotton, tobacco, and various vegetables are grown in the region.
  2. Livestock: Cattle ranching and dairy farming are significant in Choma. The area has a large number of cattle farms that produce beef and dairy products.
  3. Mining: Choma is located near the Kafue River Basin, which has deposits of copper ore. Some mining activities take place in nearby areas.
  4. Manufacturing: There are a few small-scale manufacturing units in Choma that produce goods such as textiles, food products (including milling), beverages (such as breweries), construction materials (bricks), and metal fabrication.
  5. Retail trade: Numerous shops and markets cater to local consumers’ needs for groceries, clothing, household items, electronics etc.
  6. Services sector: Various services like banking institutions (commercial banks), insurance companies/agents operate within the town providing financial services to the local population.
  7. Tourism: Choma is situated close to several national parks such as Lochinvar National Park and Blue Lagoon National Park which attract tourists interested in wildlife viewing and birdwatching activities.
  8. Transportation & Logistics: Being a regional hub with good road connectivity to other parts of Zambia makes transportation an essential industry in Choma.

It’s important to note that while these industries play a significant role in Choma’s economy; it remains primarily an agricultural-based region with limited industrialization compared to larger cities like Lusaka or Kitwe.


Noteable History

  1. The Independence Movement: Choma played a crucial role in Zambia’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule. Many key political figures, including Kenneth Kaunda, the first President of Zambia, were based in Choma during this period.
  2. The Mulungushi Conference: In 1960, the Mulungushi Conference was held at the Mulungushi Rock of Authority near Choma. This conference marked a turning point in Zambia’s struggle for independence and led to the formation of United National Independence Party (UNIP), which eventually led to independence.
  3. Kenneth Kaunda: As mentioned earlier, Kenneth Kaunda is one of the most notable figures associated with Choma. He served as President of Zambia from 1964 to 1991 and played an instrumental role in leading the country towards independence.
  4. Arthur Wina: Arthur Wina was a prominent Zambian politician who also contributed significantly to the country’s struggle for independence. He served as Vice-President under Kenneth Kaunda from 1978 until his death in 1997.
  5. Southern Province Capital: Choma became the capital city of Southern Province when it was created as one of Zambia’s ten provinces after independence.
  6. Education Hub: Over time, Choma has developed into an important education hub in Southern Province, housing several educational institutions such as Copperbelt University School of Medicine (Chilanga Campus) and Namwianga Mission College.
  7. Agriculture and Livestock Farming: The region around Choma is known for its fertile agricultural lands and livestock farming activities like cattle rearing have been significant contributors to both local economy and national food production.

These are just some examples highlighting some historical events and notable individuals associated with Choma but there are certainly many more that have shaped the town’s history and development.


Museums and Things To See

  1. Choma Museum and Crafts Project: This museum showcases the cultural heritage of the Tonga people and displays traditional artifacts, crafts, and historical information about the region.
  2. Kalonga Gawa Undi’s Palace: Visit this royal palace to learn about the history and customs of the Tonga people. It provides insights into their traditional leadership structure.
  3. Mukuni Park Curio Market: Located in downtown Choma, this market offers a variety of locally crafted souvenirs such as wood carvings, baskets, jewelry, and textiles.
  4. Maramba Cultural Village: Although not located directly in Choma (it’s near Livingstone), it’s worth mentioning due to its proximity. Experience authentic Zambian culture through dance performances, traditional meals, craft demonstrations at this living museum.
  5. Batonga Cultural Village: Another cultural village near Livingstone but easily accessible from Choma where you can witness Tonga traditions including music performances and storytelling sessions.
  6. Saint Monica’s Cathedral: A beautiful Catholic cathedral located in central Choma known for its impressive architecture.
  7. Namwala Slave Tree Monument: Located outside Namwala town (around 30 km from Choma), this monument commemorates Zambia’s history of slave trading during colonial times.
  8. Kozo Gallery & Studio: An art center showcasing contemporary Zambian artworks including paintings and sculptures by local artists.
  9. Macha Research Trust Museum & Cultural Centre: Situated just outside of Choma in Macha village is an informative museum highlighting local traditions alongside exhibits on medical research conducted by the Macha Research Trust.
  10. Lake Kariba Dam Wall – Not directly in Choma but within driving distance; it is one of Africa’s largest man-made lakes with stunning views and boat tours available.

Remember to check the opening hours, as some attractions may have specific visiting times.



Sports Teams

  1. Choma Eagles FC: Choma Eagles is a football (soccer) club based in Choma. It competes in the lower divisions of Zambian football and participates in regional tournaments.
  2. Choma Rugby Club: The Choma Rugby Club is an amateur rugby team that participates in local leagues and friendly matches against other clubs within the region.
  3. Athletics Clubs: There are several athletics clubs in Choma that focus on track and field events, including sprinting, long-distance running, and field events like high jump or shot put.
  4. Basketball Teams: Some schools and community centers have basketball teams that participate in local competitions or friendly matches.

It’s important to note that while these teams exist, they may not have extensive histories or notable achievements at the national or international level due to the relatively small size of the town compared to larger cities like Lusaka or Kitwe where professional sports infrastructure is more developed.



Cultural Events

  1. Nc’wala Ceremony: This is a traditional ceremony celebrated by the Ngoni people in February each year. It is a harvest festival that showcases their rich cultural heritage through music, dance, and traditional rituals.
  2. Likumbi Lya Mize: This is an annual traditional ceremony celebrated by the Luvale people in August. It brings together various tribes to showcase their cultural practices, including dances, music performances, and initiation ceremonies.
  3. Kuomboka Ceremony: Although not in Choma itself but nearby Mongu (Western Province), this festival attracts visitors from Choma as well. It is an annual event held by the Lozi people to mark the movement of the Litunga (king) from his flooded palace to higher ground during the rainy season.
  4. Zambia International Cultural Arts Festival (ZICAF): Held annually in October, ZICAF brings together artists from different cultures within Zambia and beyond to celebrate diversity through music, dance, theater performances, art exhibitions, workshops and more.
  5. Independence Day Celebrations: On October 24th each year, Choma joins the rest of Zambia in celebrating its independence with parades, speeches by local leaders or government officials highlighting achievements and future goals for development.
  6. Traditional Wedding Ceremonies: These are vibrant celebrations that showcase different ethnic traditions within Choma throughout the year as couples exchange vows according to their respective customs.

It’s worth noting that while some of these events may not be specific to Choma alone but rather celebrated on a national or regional level; they still attract visitors from various parts of Zambia including residents of Choma who participate or attend them regularly.


Cuisine

  1. Nshima: This is the staple food in Zambia, made from ground maize meal. It is usually served with various relishes such as vegetables, meat or fish.
  2. Grilled Tilapia: Choma is known for its fresh fish, particularly grilled tilapia. Many local restaurants offer this dish with a side of nshima and vegetables.
  3. Munkoyo: A traditional Zambian drink made from fermented roots or grains. It has a slightly sour taste and is often enjoyed as a refreshing beverage.
  4. The Red Rooster Restaurant: Known for its delicious grilled meats, including beef steaks and chicken dishes.
  5. The Golden Pillow Restaurant: Offers a range of Zambian dishes such as nshima with different relishes, grilled meats, and vegetarian options.
  6. The Hungry Lion Fast Food Restaurant: A popular fast-food chain in Zambia that serves fried chicken, burgers, fries and other quick bites.
  7. Kozo Lodge & Grill House: A restaurant located on the outskirts of Choma that offers an extensive menu featuring both local Zambian cuisine and international dishes.
  8. Maramba River Lodge Restaurant: Situated near the stunning Lake Kariba shoreline where visitors can enjoy beautiful views while indulging in various cuisines like African dishes or international favorites like pizza or pasta.

These are just some examples of the popular local cuisine options available in Choma; there are many more dining establishments to explore within the town offering diverse culinary experiences.


Parks and Recreation

  1. Choma Museum and Crafts Centre: This museum showcases the cultural heritage of the Tonga people and also has a craft center where visitors can purchase traditional crafts.
  2. Kalundu Motel Gardens: This park offers a serene environment for picnics, relaxation, and outdoor activities like jogging or walking.
  3. Batoka Park: Located along the Batoka Gorge, this park offers beautiful views of the gorge and is a great spot for bird watching.
  4. Choma Golf Club: Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round of golf at this club which features an 18-hole course.
  5. Zambezi River Walkway: Visitors can take leisurely walks along the Zambezi River while enjoying scenic views and wildlife spotting opportunities.
  6. Kafue National Park: Although not located directly in Choma, Kafue National Park is nearby and offers opportunities for game drives, bird watching, fishing, camping, and boat safaris on the Kafue River.
  7. Mukuni Village Cultural Tours: Visitors can take guided tours to Mukuni Village to learn about local customs, traditions, and experience traditional dances.
  8. Lochinvar National Park: Another nearby national park where visitors can enjoy game drives to see various wildlife species including elephants, antelopes, hippos as well as numerous bird species.

Note that some of these activities may require travel outside of Choma but are within reasonable distance from the town.


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