Chifunabuli: A sleeping giant of Northern Circuit tourism
Published On August 11, 2021 » 1397 Views» By Times Reporter » Features
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By JOWIT SALUSEKI in Chifunabuli-
LOCATED about 200 kilometres away from Samfya District in Luapula Province is Chifunabuli District.
Boasting a population of over 80,000, the area, which was annexed from Samfya in 2018, has abundant natural water bodies and various tourism sites waiting to be exploited.
Chifunabuli is rich in various natural water bodies, chief among them being lakes Chifunabuli, Kasongele and Kafumbo.
Others are the Mbabala and Chishi islands on Lake Bangweulu.
The abundance of water bodies makes fishing the main economic activity in the district, with farming activities such as cassava cultivation carried out on a rather small scale.
The picturesque district also has mineral deposits such as manganese in Masonde Ward in Chief Mwewa’s area where mining activities are conducted by small scale miners.
In fact, manganese mining is a leading economic activity locally employing hundreds of people, including youths who have surrendered themselves as cheap labourers at the expense of being in school.
Suffice to mention that Chifunabuli is also endowed with soft and hardwood, though timber processing companies are missing in the area.
It is worth saying that Chifunabuli, which covers the areas of Lubwe, Mwansakombe and Mwena in Luapula Province, has a rich history behind it.
However, like most rural districts in terms of development, Chifunabuli nearly has nothing to boast of save for a few projects embarked on by the current Government.
But the area has a huge potential to unlock the much talked about Northern Circuit tourism covering Luapula, Muchinga and Northern provinces, among other areas.
For instance, the area around Lake Chifunabuli has great potential for boat cruises and the hospitality industry which can have structures like chalets and hotels.
In an interview recently, Luapula Province Permanent Secretary Charles Mushota and his Labour counterpart Chanda Kaziya, did not mince their words on the tourism potential concealed in Chifunabuli.
Though sleepy, Chifunabuli is the place where the white Catholic fathers from Canada first established a mission called Lubwe, named after the rocky landscape they found upon their arrival in 1905.
Even today, a red brick church, built by the missionaries in 1905, still stands strong on the banks of Lake Chifunabuli.
Bright Chama, a resident of Chifunabuli who knows the region like the back of his palm, said in an interview that the area derives its name from a tale of a cruel man, who would go into villages, beating people, bullying them and confiscating their belongings.
According to the tale which has been passed on from older generations, it is thought that on a fateful day, villagers ganged up against Chifunabuli, seized him, tied a heavy stone to his legs, bundled him on a canoe and threw him into the lake where he drowned.
When the ancestors accomplished their mission, they named the place Chifunabuli, which means, breaking the chain of brutality.
Although most districts in Luapula are connected to the Luapula Water and Sanitation Company, Chifunabuli has no piped water.
There is only the Lubwe water scheme, which supplies water to Chifunabuli Ward.
People usually draw water from boreholes constructed by the Government and some of its partners.
Chifunabuli has five traditional leaders namely chiefs Mulongwe, Mwansakombe chitembo, Mbulu, and Mwewa.
A district constituency, the area has 10 wards namely; Chifunabuli, Chinkutila, Masonde, Mbabala, Chishi, Kafumbo, Kapamba, Kasaba, Kasansa and Kasongole.
In terms of education, the district has several primary and secondary schools, out of which about three are boarding learning facilities.
However, more still needs to be done in terms of rehabilitation of schools as most of them are old with dilapidated infrastructure.
Lubwe Boys and Lubwe Girls primary schools are some of the schools which need a facelift.
Constructed in 1947, Lubwe Boys Primary School is one of the oldest schools in Chifunabuli.
Its sister school, Lubwe Girls, was established in 1953 and is in dire need of repair too.
The structures which have seen their better days were built by the white missionaries when they first settled in the area in the early 1900s.
In the health sector, the district boasts of Lubwe Mission Hospital in chief Chitembo’s area and Kasaba Mission Hospital in Chief Mwansakombe’s area.
The district which has a single constituency has at least more than 10 health centres.
In the livestock sector, the Government has constructed dip tanks in Kasongole and Kampambe ward to curb livestock diseases in the area.
Under the Link Zambia 8000 project, the Government had started working on the Musaila-Luwingu road in Chifunabuli.
The road is envisioned to link the area to Northern Province.
Like most residents of Luapula, most people in Chifunabuli depend on fishing and with the depleted fish stocks in the water bodies, poverty levels have skyrocketed in recent times.
As earlier outlined, since the area has vast tourism potential apart from having abundant water bodies and minerals, it is hoped that Government urgently work on the road leading to Chifunabuli.
Working on the Chifunabuli-Mansa–Samfya road will no doubt open up tourism investment in the Northern Circuit.

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