There are a few interesting caves and waterfalls around Mpika, whilst both Mutinondo and Shiwa Ng'andu are worthy of large sections of this chapter on their own. To go anywhere away from the main roads you'll really need a self-contained 4WD, even in the dry season.
Rates: Entrance US$3 per adult, US$2 for children; camping US$10 per person.
This cave complex contains excellent San/Bushman rock paintings. When excavated in the 1940s it was estimated to have been occupied intermittently for about the last 15,000 years. This is no surprise when one considers that all the essentials for survival are here: a regular supply of water from a nearby stream, shelter provided by the cave, firewood in abundance, grass for bedding and a good supply of game and vegetable food sources from the local environment.
It's worth a brief detour because of its geometric rock art and striking setting. Nachikufu Cave is also the 'type' site of the Zambian Late Stone Age, which is known to archaeologists as the 'Nachikufan Industry' (25,000–2,000 years ago). A small display of artefacts is kept within the cave entrance and access is only with an official guide who is stationed on site.
Both the rock shelter and the cave look north over a wide plateau, and are formed from a ridge of quartzite rock – perfect for stone tools. There's also a perennial stream about 500m away from the cave. The paintings inside are fairly simple: various figures silhouetted in black, including a couple of elephants, a beautifully drawn antelope, and human figures, some of whom are depicted with bows and arrows and one with a spear. It has to be said, however, that these paintings are not brilliant, and though the cave is delightful, it's debateable whether it's worth turning off the road just to see it.
The signposted turning (GPS: TUNACH) to Nachikufu is about 55km southwest of Mpika, about 5km northeast of the Lavushi Manda turn-off. This turning leads you north and west from the main road, over the TAZARA railway, and reaches the cave within about a kilometre at (GPS: NACAVE). It is easily within walking distance of the main tar road. A guide stationed there will accompany you.
About 20km south of Chinsali, the Lubu River drops 40m over a distance of 500m at this large set of rapids and cascades (GPS: CHIPOM). It's a lovely spot for exploring, and there are basic camping facilities here.
To reach the falls from Mpika, head for Chinsali and Isoka and then turn left about 24km before you reach the turn-off for Chinsali (that's about 57km past the turning to Shiwa Ng'andu). Follow this road for around 6km, taking left turns at all the forks and junctions encountered, until you reach the caretaker's house by the falls. There's an entrance fee of a few dollars.
Take the road to Chinsali and Isoka from Mpika for about 15km, until you see a right turn signed to the Lwitikila Girls' Secondary School. Continue along this track, which bends round slowly to the left and then goes uphill, until you see some houses on the right. In front of the first house a smaller track goes off to the right – this leads directly to the small Lwitikila Falls (GPS: LWITIK). It is a good place for a dip and lunch, though don't expect to have it all to yourself as it lies in a local community area.