Kapiri Mposhi's main claim to fame is that it stands at one end of the TAZARA railway. There is a constant flow of people, buses and trucks through town which makes it lively, but not safe. Kapiri is a town which visitors often pass through, but where they seldom linger. Expect people around at all times of the day and night, and be on your guard against opportunist thieves.
Kapiri Mposhi is hard to avoid if you're travelling northwards from Lusaka. Its links to the rest of the country are excellent.By bus
Kapiri Mposhi is very easily reached by bus, as it stands on the main routes between Lusaka and both Northern Zambia and the Copperbelt. There are very frequent arrivals and departures, especially to/from Lusaka and the Copperbelt. If you enter the town travelling north, then the bus terminus is in the centre, on your left behind a variety of market stalls. By train
If you continue along the road going north, it will soon cross a railway line. Turn right just before this and follow the road for about 1km to reach the bustling and quite imposing TAZARA terminus.
If you did not buy one in Lusaka, then this is the place to buy your ticket to Dar es Salaam, or to find an easy way to get as far north as Kasama. It becomes exceedingly busy around train departure times, and foreigners will encounter considerable hassle. To avoid this, arrive well before the train is due to depart and take great care of your belongings. If you need to buy a ticket, then allow at least an extra hour.
Express trains run all the way to Dar, and leave at 14.27 on Tuesdays and Fridays. Ordinary trains run only to the Zambia/Tanzania border – where Nakonde and Tunduma are on opposite sides. They depart at 13.00 on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. All of these services have an excellent reputation for time-keeping, which is almost unrivalled in Africa. As a guide, the express trains cost, in kwacha:Hitchhiking
Alternatively, hitching there is fairly easy. Trying to hitch from within town would be difficult, so walk out a kilometre or so until you find space. Alternatively ask around the truckers in town for a lift. If you are going north, then get a short lift or taxi to take you the 3km to where the road to the Copperbelt proper splits off the Great North Road which continues on up to Mpika and beyond. This is an excellent hitching spot.
Where to stay
There are a few small hotels here, including the Unity Motel
and the Kapiri Motel
. All are basic and noisy, and rooms are rented by the hour as well as the night. Kapiri is not a town to stay in unless you have to.
Where to eat
Relatively little fresh food seems to be available at the market, but there are lots of take-aways. Several stand out by virtue of their names. The Try Again Restaurant
must surely be an invitation to unhappy customers, whilst the Combahari Steak House and Clinic
is one to watch.
The Malila Restaurant
, which is on the left if you are travelling north, just after the bus station, is not much of a restaurant but is probably the best shop for food supplies – tins, packets and the like.
If you are driving then look out for the bakery and Coke-shop just to the south of where the roads split, about 2–3km north of Kapiri. It also sells a good selection of pirate videos and cassette tapes. Better than this is the Agip fuel station in the centre of Kapiri, on the left as you drive north. This is cleaner and has more variety than the one above.