Aside from wandering around the local market, in the town centre, there are no specific sights in Mongu. You may, however, like to visit the lively and very traditional harbour (GPS:HARMON), or take a wander around the market. The two obvious attractions, however, are both excursions from town:
The Litunga's summer palace at Lealui
About 13km west from Mongu, amidst the floodplains, the summer palace is set in a large grove of trees, which is easily seen from the escarpment on which Mongu stands. If there is no road here, then you can hire a mokoro to bring you out here from Mongu.
Don't expect a western-style palace, as the Litunga's will appear to be a normal small African village with thatched huts. However, this is not only the King's summer residence, but also the main Lozi administration centre. Visitors are warmly welcomed, though are strongly advised to show the utmost courtesy and respect to their hosts. Indeed, until very recently it was normal to introduce yourself to the Kuta (the traditional court) as a courtesy, especially if you plan to continue on to Liuwa. See Barotseland, Getting there and away, Driving west to Sandaula on the Zambezi
for directions of how to get here from Mongu.
The Litunga's winter palace and the Museum at Limulunga
15km north of Mongu, near the Litunga's main winter palace, is the Nayuma museum (entry Kw2,000) housing some interesting exhibits on the history and culture of the Lozi people. There is also a small craft shop which sells some really beautiful basketwork from the area, typically at around US$2–3/Kw10,000–15,000 each for the smaller pieces.
To get here, take the tar road north from Mongu's new market to Limulunga then turn left down a tarred side-road opposite the water tower at the centre of town. Follow this round and after a kilometre or so you reach a barrier, with the museum on the left, and the Lozi palace on the right. This royal complex is all fairly grand and impressive, complete with keen security guards from about March to June, when the Litunga is in residence. The museum opens Monday–Friday 08:00–17:00, so do visit if you're passing through.
Traditional ceremoniesThe Ku-omboka
If the rains have been good, and the floodwaters are rising, then around February or March, often on a Thursday, just before full moon, the greatest of Zambia's cultural festivals will take place. The Ku-omboka is the tradition of moving the Litunga, the Lozi king, plus his court and his people, away from the floodwaters and on to higher ground.
It involves a flotilla of boats for most of the day, plus an impromptu orchestra of local musicians and much celebration. Don't miss it if you are travelling in western Zambia at the time.