Ndola is in Zambia’s copper-belt country, just 10km from the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was founded in 1904 as a trading post and its development was rapid and extensive. As well as having a large copper refinery, Ndola also has an oil refinery to process oil that arrives through a 1 700 km pipeline from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
The city is also a commercial and light industrial centre with modern factories, offices and shops in its central business district. In its heyday, Ndola was busier than it is today, with a Land Rover vehicle assembly plant and factories for international companies like Dunlop and Johnson & Johnson..
Its founder was John Edward ‘Chiripula’ Stephenson, and it was established six months after Livingstone, making it the second oldest colonial-era town of Zambia.
As a former English colony, English became the major language of business and education. It’s the first language of only 2% of the population, but the most commonly used second language.
It’s an industrial city with little in the way of recreational activities. Eating and drinking are the main off-duty activities.
Zambia is GMT +2 with no Daylight Saving Time.
Zambia’s currency is the wwacha and it fluctuates readily. You can change money in banks, bureaux de change and hotels. Most ATMs in the city accept Visa cards and some accept MasterCard.
Ndola has a humid sub-tropical climate with temperatures regularly touching 31°C in September and October. June and July are the cooler months, but it still hit about 25°C. May to September is the dry season with a rainy season from December to February.
Plug sockets in Zambia can be of three types, the UK style with three square pins, the European two round pin variety, or the three round pin type. The standard voltage is 230V.
Ndola has decent mobile phone coverage and several places with wifi hotspots, including the hotels.
Minibus taxis cover the city and are fast, cheap and often crowded. It’s more comfortable to hire a car or take a taxi. Taxis aren’t metered so agree on the fare first. Most roads in Ndola are well surfaced, but a 4x4 is useful for going further afield. Some dirt roads may be impassable during the rainy season. Cars can be rented with or without a driver.
Airport to City Center
Ndola Airport was renamed the Simon Kapwepwe Airport in 2011 in honour of the former vice president. Take a taxi or hire a car to get to town.