The 2001 Eclipse in Zambia saw many visitors heading for Lusaka, the Zambian capital because it was the only capital city directly in the path of the total eclipse.
During the time leading up to the day of the eclipse, 21st June, 2001, many hotels, lodges, campsites, and guest houses were fully booked.
Many Zambians observed this natural phenomenon either through binoculars, telescopes, or protective sunglasses.
Prior to the solar eclipse, the masses were warned on both radio and television on the dangers of looking directly at the sun. As a result, there was a rush for protective viewing sunglasses and some areas experienced a sellout of viewing sunglasses.
The 2001 Eclipse in Zambia proved to be one of the largest tourist attractions the country has ever experienced.
Zambia wasn’t the only country which experienced this natural spectacle, the total solar eclipse. Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique were also lying in its path. The moon’s shadow was to pass through the middle of the country, so all of Angola would see at least a deep partial eclipse. Luanda would see 96 percent of the sun’s disk covered.
The path of the 2001 solar eclipse began at sunrise off the eastern coast of South America. On the African continent, the eclipse was experienced first at the coastal town of Sumbe in Angola, and after navigating through Zambia and Zimbabwe, it was finally witnessed at sunset off the east coast of Madagascar.
Lusaka, started experiencing the effects of the eclipse at about 15:07 Hrs. Animals were taken unawareness and they started preparing for a night’s sleep!
Just after 15:09 Hrs, the moon completely blocked out the sun and there was darkness, the total solar eclipse!
Within a few minutes however, a ray of sunlight glowed from the other side of the moon’s shadow and the totality was over, lasting for 3 minutes and 14 seconds.
Many local observers were awed by the experience of the first total eclipse of the new millennium and many people momentarily forgot their problems for a few minutes and focus on something truly uplifting and awe-inspiring!
For the majority of the Zambian population, a solar eclipse was a totally new experience.
Chirundu town is found at about 95 kilometers from Kafue town or 139 kilometers from Lusaka City. Chirundu town is at the border with Zambia and Zimbabwe.
As of 24 February 2017 Chipata became a city, making a total of five cities in Zambia, namely Lusaka, Kitwe, Ndola and Livingstone!
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