Solwezi isn't a pretty town, or an attraction for most people, but it is a major centre, and useful for supplies if you're coming from Lusaka and heading west, or driving into Kafue from the north.
On the main tarred road leading across the northwest of Zambia, Solwezi (GPS:SOLWEZ) is easy to find. It's notable that the road to the east of here, towards Lusaka, is generally in better condition – ie: fewer potholes per kilometre, and potholes which are less deep – than the one to the west, towards Mwinilunga.
Solwezi is basically a linear town, with most shops and offices concentrated along the tarred road. Anything that's away from this, like the guesthouses built in residential suburbs, is signposted from this main road – and rarely far from it.
There are several fuel stations here, including two large Total stations, and Solwezi is generally a reliable place to refuel. You should certainly fill up completely if you're heading west or south from here. There are several large branches of banks, including Zambian National Commercial Bank (beside the World Food Programme depot) and Barclays.
Of great practical use to most visitors is the branch of Shoprite supermarket, which has a prominent place on the main through road. Whilst this may not be quite as well-stocked as those further east, it is much better than any other shop you'll find west of Chingola and north of Mongu.
In an emergency, there's a 24-hour Medical Centre (tel: 08 821225).
Solwezi doesn't have any cellphone access for foreign mobile phones, but there are land lines here – including public phones at the main post office, on the main road near shoprite.
On the main road the Internet Centre, somewhat paradoxically, has only email access. Even that doesn't always work, but when it does, costs are Kw8,000/Kw2,500 per page to send/receive emails. DHL offers a similar service, and is generally more reliable.