The Park at Nkwashi:
Where Art Meets Nature

Ah, yes. The sound of quietude. The type of tranquility that can only be achieved when Lusaka is a speck in your rearview mirror. Welcome to Nkwashi: Home of the Chena Art House and the birthplace of Zambia’s city of the future.

Located 36km east of Lusaka along Leopard’s Hill Road, Nkwashi is known mainly for its ambitious real estate development project. Initiated by the asset management firm Thebe Investment Management Limited and steered by its CEO, Mwiya Musokotwane, Nkwashi is set to be one of the largest satellite cities on the continent. Part of Nkwashi’s initiative is to provide its residents with a sense of community and culture. The estate is open to the public as a day-trip solution to a city that severely requires more public green spaces and parks for pedestrians and communities to come together.

As part of this initiative, Chena Art House serves as a gallery and the centre of cultural activity that denizens can visit. Still, it is also open to anyone seeking a daycation not too far off the map. The art-house cradled between the rolling green slopes and the lake, is guarded by a permanent outdoor sculpture exhibition that acts as an extension of the indoor exhibition spaces. The gallery houses numerous works of art available for purchase or to serve as conversation pieces for private functions and intimate cocktail parties. From fascinating oil paintings to crafts and curios, several works are by artists at varying stages in their careers who were part of an annual arts residency initiated by the art house between 2020 and 2023. If you’re a collector, you should attend the auctions held at the gallery.

More of the paintings, sculptures and installations from the residency dot and decorate the space outdoors. The rich green lawns by the waterfront just outside the gallery are ideal for picnics and sundowners. Here, guests can host a soirée or party for two or bring family and friends along and rest on the shaded lawn. The venue provides guests with drinks, charcoal, braai stands and scenery; the rest is up to you!

And if you’re looking to inject a little team spirit into your human resources, the Chena Canoe Club has several invigorating activities to choose from, including an obstacle course and canoeing. They also host an annual Canoe Sprint in collaboration with the Zambia Amateur Rowing and Canoeing Association, which welcomes teams of any size. From corporates to families, anyone can put together a team and participate.

Across the tranquil waters of the estate’s manmade lake, you can see undulating hills, home of the famous Nkwashi Hill Challenge. This natural occurrence provides picturesque views for photos and sets the stage for climbing and hiking adventures for moderate thrill seekers. Trips can be organised for various groups and fitness levels, welcoming nature enthusiasts to ascend the summit and be rewarded with a captivating landscape view.

Nkwashi was established to help decongest and support the capital’s needs. It’s what’s known as a satellite city—a smaller, annexed municipality that is part of or on the fringes of a larger metropolis. The vision is for it to be a self-sufficient community outside of Lusaka, with various businesses and corporations providing employment, its own shopping facilities, filling stations and even a university and a teaching hospital.

While several of these provisions are still under development, the estates offer plots of land for sale to prospective residents. These plots are clustered into suburbs, and three suburbs then form a distinct district, each with unique landscaping features.

In the future, Nkwashi’s citizens will be able to enjoy lush public parks and recreational facilities, centralised electricity and water supply, road maintenance and even public transport. The current community is small, but there is already a sense of belonging. Residents are forming jogging groups, and Nkwashi organises a quarterly cookout to help build an amicable, neighbourly atmosphere. 

Being located just off Leopard’s Hill Road, Nkwashi has easy access to Lusaka’s ring roads and the Multi-Facility Economic Zone and is about an hour’s drive to the Zimbabwean border at Chirundu. This provides visitors, residents and businesses with prospects for enterprise and ease of transportation and is a testament to the project’s immense potential.

While Nkwashi is developing a city most of us can only dream of and will only be able to access in the near future, Chena Art House is open for various events. You could host your child’s next adventure-themed birthday party or scavenger hunt there; enjoy a bottle of wine with your date or hike in the hills to help clear your head and get a little exercise. Either way, you would do well to spend a day at Chena and catch a glimpse of the city of the future.

Fast Facts & Tips

  • Regular guided group hikes are organised to conquer the Nkwashi Hill and experience the landscape.
  • The Canoe Club offers rowing lessons, fishing and kayaking on the tranquil lake.
  • Chena Art House is available for hosting events and parties
  • Nkwashi will provide guests with drinks and all the fixings for a braai; guests only have to bring their own food. 

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