Lilongwe Budget Travel

Malawi's capital city, Lilongwe is a laid-back microcosm of Malawi, the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’.

About Lilongwe

The largest city in Malawi, Lilongwe is the political and trade center of Malawi. Despite being the capital of Malawi, Lilongwe retains a relaxed atmosphere.

Lilongwe is divided into two areas – the Old Town in the south and the New Town in the north, with Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary lying in between.

The Old Town is where most visitors spend their time exploring in Lilongwe, as it houses bustling markets, craft shops, restaurants, bars and cafés.

The New Town of Lilongwe sprung up over the last 20 years and is considered a bland place, lacking the character of Lilongwe's Old Town. New Town is where the main government buildings, embassies, international aid organizations and the Reserve Bank's headquarters are located.

Lilongwe Today

Travellers find this small African city a welcoming and friendly stopover, less daunting than its bigger counterparts, such as Nairobi and Johannesburg.

The roads of Lilongwe are in excellent condition compared to other African cities and traffic tends to run smoothly.

Lilongwe Attractions

This small and friendly city offers travellers an interesting and colourful experience of life in Africa, without being overwhelming or too chaotic.

Lilongwe Attractions include:

  • Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary
  • Parliament Building
  • Lilongwe Wildlife Centre
  • Mosque in old town
  • Lilongwe food market
  • Lilongwe Golf Club
  • Kumbali Cultural Centre
  • Woodcarving markets
  • Tobacco Auction Floors

The pleasant city of Lilongwe has several bars and nightclubs, offering visitors a bit of nightlife. There are also a variety of restaurants and coffee shops in Lilongwe.

Lilongwe Location

Lilongwe is loacted on the Lilongwe River in the central region of Malawi.

The city lies at about 1000m above sea level, approximately 300km north of Blantyre. Lilongwe is near the Malawi borders with Mozambique and Zambia, not far from Lake Malawi.

History of Lilongwe

The city of Lilongwe started out as a small village, becoming a colonial administrative centre for the British in the early 1900's. Lilongwe steadily grew into the second largest Malawian city, due to its convenient location on the main road running north to south through Malawi.

In 1975 the capital of Malawi was moved to Lilongwe, from Zomba. Lilongwe has continued to expand and develop since becoming the capital and now the largest city in Malawi. The Old Town of Lilongwe centers around the original village and the New Town, called Capital City, grew rapidly after Lilongwe became the capital city.

Blantyre is said to serve as the economic capital of Malawi, despite Lilongwe's title as the political capital.

When to go to Lilongwe

Lilongwe experiences a comfortable subtropical climate, with warm summers and mild winters.

The best time to visit is during the dry season, especially for game viewing in Malawi's parks (May to early-November). The dry season from April to November, peaks in the cooler winter months of June and July.

The rainy season runs from December to March, when conditions are hot and humid. During the wet season Lilongwe's weather is characterized by heavy downpours, with around 200mm of rain a month in the wettest months.

Given Lilongwe's high altitude the city sees lower temperatures than similar locations in the tropical zone.

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Google Map of Lilongwe

Use the Google map to explore Lilongwe. Feel free to Print the Street Map when you're ready.

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