Malawi Capital City, About Lilongwe Tourism and Travel

(Malawi, MW, South-East Africa)

Photo of Blantyre to Llilongwe roadLocated on the Lilongwe River, Lilongwe is the capital of Malawi and is often known as the Garden City. This greenest of African cities is home to a multitude of colourful trees and flowers, and a population of approximately 590,000 residents.

Among the greenery sits a mixture of modern buildings and architecture, which date as far back as colonial times. With its lively city atmosphere and friendly feel, Lilongwe is a great place to spend a few days before heading out to explore other parts of Malawi.

Picture of traffic on Blantyre to Llilongwe road

Tourism and General Information

Located on the main route that runs from the south to the north of Malawi, Lilongwe grew to be a major British colonial town. In fact, it quickly became a gathering place for the country's expatriate residents.

Lilongwe became Malawi's capital city in the mid-1970s, taking over from the former capital of Zomba. Whilst today it remains a relatively small commercial centre, Lilongwe is home to the Malawian parliament and so takes its place at the heart of political life.

Lilongwe International Airport (LLW) imageLooked at in terms of the number of people living in the city, Lilongwe is rather a small city. Whilst the population of Malawi's capital has grown rapidly since the mid-1970s, the city itself is home to only half a million people or so. Lilongwe's Old Town is very distinct from the city's other main neighbourhood, known variously as the City Centre or Capital City. In fact, they are separated by the woodlands of Lilongwe Nature Reserve.

To visitors, the Old Town appears typically African, with its crowded markets, bustling streets and local restaurants. By way of contrast, the Capital City has a much more modern feel, with more space to move and a more cosmopolitan atmosphere.

For most visitors, Lilongwe serves as a convenient stop over in Malawi, so time spent in the city is usually limited. However, a few of Lilongwe's attractions worth a visit include its Nature Reserve, situated between the Old Town and Capital City districts, the city's lively Old Town market, and the tobacco auctions held in the Kenango Industrial Area.