Have you ever been to Mazabuka or lived in the area? If you move to Mazabuka you can be assured of one thing, you will find yourself in an incredible community of people, eager to share.
We are heading up to 3 years in Mazabuka, and after a couple of people found my page whilst searching for Mazabuka info, I decided to share some of the answers to the questions I so often get asked. What shops are there, what are they like, what is there to do, what about clubs, internet, coffee shops, what are the roads like? Many of the same questions I had myself.
For me, Mazabuka was an easy move and we settled in pretty quick. Everything exceeded my expectations. Even though it is not a city, you still have loads of other expats working for different companies and farms or at the local school, as well as all the private farmers and residents. So the community is wide, which means lots more variety of friends, and lots more to do. We also have a ton of facilities and shops, and we are only 2 hours from Lusaka. We are very spoilt!
That said, you have to make an effort. People live very far apart, people are busy, people will not always think to invite you. We found the best way is to phone someone and say, can we come visit you this weekend! Don’t be shy; get involved. Soon the novelty of a new home, new garden & new things to discover wears off, especially when you are not kept busy by work and/or kids. Plastic cheese, long bumpy roads, power cuts, no phone signal, poor wifi, no beach, no family … those things start to take their toll. But it’s all about mindset, there are so, so many wonderful things about living here. When I get to the point of losing my mind and considering my flight options, I very soon remember that I actually love it here. Sometimes things not working is a good thing, sometimes having to go without is an even better thing.
I hadn’t anticipated that this post would be so long, and the more I typed the more I thought of things to share. If you have stumbled upon this post because you are moving here; feel free to get in touch. We are always so happy to try and welcome people and answer questions.
Below is a list of places and things I could think of. (Last updated April 2021)
We are grateful to have Mazabuka Community Church. This has been absolutely life changing for us. There are usually about 20-30 people on a Sunday at the Mazabuka Turf Club, with a well run Sunday Schooland we even now have a church band. Sean Kelly usually preaches, otherwise if he is away at another church in Choma, then one of the leaders steps in. It is a great church, and a gathering of all sorts of people, with one thing in common, we love Jesus. We have all sorts of nationalities; South Africans, Zimbabweans, Dutch, Americans and of course Zambians.
There are small groups (cell/life group) gathering all over the district. We used to go to one every Monday, a 40-60 minute drive on bumpy dirt roads, but the fact that we rarely missed a week, unless we were away, proved how awesome it was. We are now meeting with another couple just 25 minutes away, which is super close! It’s a chance to get together with other Christians, share testimony, share life, and usually a decent coffee and some food. I would give up all the facilities that Mazabuka has to offer, but I would never give up our small group meetings. There are 8 small groups in the area.
Just as we arrived in April 2018, Coffeeberry Café opened on the edge of town. So we have a place to go for a meal in the day, or just a tea or coffee in their garden. Coffeeberry also acts as a local drop off point for various suppliers and the community. It has recently been taken over by Leslie Robinson and they are in the process of installing a pizza oven.
There is also Plantations on the Nakambala Estate, open all day and for dinner in the evenings. Basic meals like steak & chips, burgers, chicken schnitzel, bream, shima etc. If you lucky they have ice cream in stock and you can have a Dom Pedro. When in Rome. Very cheap food & drinks. Nice to get out in an evening occasionally for a change of scenery. The strangest things excite you once you have been living here for a while.
At The Tennis Club, there are weekly dinners on a Wednesday night and a monthly dinner on a Saturday night. Ladies are placed in groups to put on a dinner once a month on a Saturday night as well as a Christmas & Valentines Dinner. These are fab, as you get such varied meals, from Thai, Mexican, roast dinners, Italian, all for just K80 per person for members. They also have a lovely veranda and the club is open to members to use in the day all week.
The Mazabuka Turf Club also hosts polo events in the season, and a gymkhana on Boxing Day 26 December.
There is even a gym in Mazabuka which offers all sorts of classes (pilates, yoga, spinning etc) and equipment, and is run by the lovely Zubie Bhagoo. I know she is lovely purely because we are in the same book club, not because I am a regular gym attender!
The Tennis Club has cricket, hockey, tennis and squash facilities, and the community gather on Wednesdays & Saturdays for group sports. The club is a family friendly spot, with lawned area, jungle gyms and a hall with foozeball table and a kids room with cushions and a TV. There are events here throughout the year too, such as Day/Night Cricket, Christmas Parties, Clay Pigeon shoots etc.
Musikili School has just started night hockey on their new astro turf once a week too.
There is a 9 hole Mazabuka Golf Club, which I hear has some very experienced caddies who can give you pointers if you are not too familiar with a golf club. This is also home to the annual Musikili Golf Day which is supported by people from all over Zambia.
This is a popular area for mountain biking as well as off road motorbiking, there are loads of biking events around Zambia.
Musikili School is a private school on the edge of town, with boarding facilities. They also host the annual Musikili Triathlon in March, as well as other events throughout the year, such as the Musikili Golf Day.
There was a homeschooling community too, and they would get together for various activities throughout the month, not sure if this is still running.
There are many events, these are just a few I can think of; Musikili Triathlon & Trail Series, Musikili Golf Day, Jokers Tournament at Lubombo Polo Club, Mazabuka Day/Night Cricket, Tennis Club Christmas Party, Club New Years Party, monthly Club Market. There are things happening in this little town.
Griffin Butchery is your best stop for all meat products; they can be found behind the Engen garage in town. You can phone or email your orders in ahead of time so you can be sure that have what you need. They stock Butcher Block, Carolina, Majoru and a few other local products.
In the centre of town there is Shoprite and Choppies for most of your usual groceries, and there is also a Shoprite Whatsapp group where you can make requests for certain products, and they in turn keep us posted of changes to opening hours, or new stock etc. I use Shoprite, early in the morning. It is very good, and I feel they have a surprisingly good selection for a small farming town. Manage your expectations though, it’s not Ballito guys. You won’t get red thai curry paste or an array of quality cheese, but there truly are worse things in this life.
You can get beers in returnable crates from Prav bottle store. Moonlight Bakery is a good spot for freshly baked bread and rolls, just in case you haven’t learnt to make your own bread yet. 😉
I have included a list further down, of other local suppliers. What you cannot find in Mazabuka you can easily get in Lusaka, which is very doable to go there just for the day. Although I generally find after a day or so in Lusaka I need a tranquilizer and a good nap!
There is a choice of hardware stores, agricultural stores such as Griffin Services and Livestock. Mazabuka Fabrics near the Post Office for very basic fabrics and sewing supplies, BookWorld has a surprising amount of stationery, books and educational & art supplies, there are two pharmacies and so much more. Mazabuka Fashions is in a row of shops to the right of the Engen garage. Here you will find all sorts, car parts, gardening stuff, electrical parts, you can order chickens the list goes on.
If you are looking for something, just ask around and you are bound to get pointed in the right direction. For those with an abundance of patience and determination which is unknown to me, there is a Dapp used clothing store near Pep and a shoe store near Divas Pharmacy. Just so you know, nothing is in size order, good luck to you. I can’t. 😉
Beauty & Health
Essential Zambia is produced just 20 minutes from my house. Which means I can get refills of shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body cream etc. Paola has produced an incredible product; paraben free, no artificial perfumes, no artificial ingredients, no animal derived ingredients, no mineral oil and is not tested on animals. Her products are also sold at Coffeeberry too.
Shayne Stubbs has Shampayne Hair Salon on her farm in the Kaleya area, you can get a cut, blow wave and colours done.
Coffeeberry has just opened a salon for basic beauty treatments such as manicures, pedicures and massage.
Victoria Hospital on the edge of town is a private hospital and offers a variety of services as well as emergency care.
Fleur Herbia at Mubuyu Farms offers vegetable seedlings as well as herbs and can also order in certain fruit trees. They deliver to Coffeeberry or Griffin Services in town. Theresia also has an admin only Whatsapp Group where she advertises what is available. They are fantastic quality too, and I always receive such healthy plants.
Gardening in and around Zambia – helpful for tips, identifying plants etc.
Mosquito nets, dog beds, bean bags, uniforms and horse rugs you can get from Tack Toria, I have seen some dog beds they have produced that look big enough for a horse!
Tanderra Canvas (Regan Cantlay) offers tailoring services; cushions, chair covers etc etc.
We also have fantastic vets just a 40 minute drive from where we live, Ian & Noleen Parsons of Matobo Vets. So we can easily get medical care for our pets as well as dog food, and all the jabs etc. They do drop offs of dog food and products into town as and when needed.
Along the roadsides and in small shops you can get passport photos, prints, and even get your phone repaired. You can get laptop/computer repairs with Chris who has a shop above Pep in town, up the road to the left of Pep there are some parking bays and a staircase that takes you to offices above.
There are many talented tailors in town, in little shops. I have just started using Mary, who is opposite Autoworld behind the DSTV shop.
St Pauls Training Centre makes furniture very affordably. You just show them a picture and they will give you a price.
Griffin Services will source and collect items from Lusaka for you, last I checked this was at 12.5% fee. We used them to get our soda stream bottles refilled in Lusaka.
I hope this gives you much insight of what you can expect when you move to Mazabuka. Any questions, or things you might like to add, get in touch!