Malawi is known as the ‘warm heart of Africa’ and you can certainly enjoy the warmth in its laidback and friendly capital, Lilongwe! With wide, leafy streets and smiles all around, it is a great place to enjoy the more simple things in life, at a slower pace. That’s certainly not to say that it lacks things to do – there’s more than enough to keep you busy. To help you choose what to do on your trip to Lilongwe, here are our top 5 things you can’t miss.
1. Wildlife Park
Home to some of the cutest and most vulnerable residents of Malawi, the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust is an 11-acre wildlife sanctuary that protects injured and orphaned animals, eventually either returning them to the wild or letting them live out their days in the leafy sanctuary. The wildlife park is well set up, with lots of information about all of the animals, how they are cared for, and how visitors can promote conservation and protect Africa’s beautiful and unique wildlife. There’s also a great café that sells tasty sandwiches!
2. Kumbali Cultural Village
Malawi is a country with a rich and interesting culture and history, and locals love to share it with visitors. This is part of what makes Lilongwe such a brilliant travel destination. To learn more about Malawi’s art, dancing, music and more, check out the Kumbali Cultural Village. If you’re lucky (and not totally tone deaf) you might even get to join in the music-making – and you’ll definitely get the chance to sample some delicious local food!
3. Lizulu Market
Lilongwe is a city with a great selection of markets, however, to get the local experience the pick of them all is the roadside Lizulu Market. Located in the center of Old Town, the market is split into two sections and caters mostly for locals (although ‘Mzungus’ are welcome too). The first section is an amazing array of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, herbs and more, whereas the second is an expansive clothes market with more than enough stalls to get lost amongst! Well worth a visit.
4. Nkhoma Mountain
Lilongwe is really not that busy however if you do find yourself craving an escape from the concrete, consider a hike up Nkhoma Mountain. The Mountain is located about an hour East of Lilongwe, and gives beautiful views from its 1738m peak. The most common hike is about 11km return, so quite manageable for people of all ages and abilities.
5. Parliament Building
Lilongwe has been the capital of Malawi for about 25 years, and so the Parliament House is still quite shiny and new – you might even catch a glimpse of some of Malawi’s powerful political players! If you’re a politics junkie, you might want to fill in a form to apply for a free tour (Monday – Friday). Make sure you do it at least two days in advance.