The Best Things to Do in Lilongwe, Malawi

A shaded spot in Lilongwe, Malawi
A shaded spot in Lilongwe, Malawi | © khym54 / Flickr
Photo of Mphatso Katona
3 September 2018

If you are planning to explore Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi, and you have not yet made up your mind on where to go and what to do, use this handy guide to explore the best of the capital city of The Warm Heart of Africa.

Lilongwe Craft Market

Bazaar, Market
Map View
Wood carvings on sale at Lilongwe craft market | © Hans Hillewaert / WikiCommons

Old Town is one of the places in Lilongwe that is mostly visited by tourists because of the craft market by the post office. The market is a hive of activity where vendors and carvers sells beautiful wood carvings, woven products, jewellery, African print bags and clothes, and traditional Malawian chairs. This is where tourists buy artefacts and souvenirs that depict the history and the culture of the people of Malawi. Located right in the middle of town, the setting makes it easy for visitors to hail a taxi or find hotels. Lilongwe Craft Market is a haven for those that love local art and those who love to haggle.

Kamuzu Mausoleum

Building, Memorial, Museum
Map View
The opening ceremony of the mausoleum in 2006 | © Jwhyte82 / WikiCommons

One of the features that makes Lilongwe a great place to visit is the marble and granite Kamuzu Mausoleum located close to the parliament building. Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda was the founding president of Malawi who ruled from 1961 to 1994. Tourists who desire to learn more about Malawi’s founding father, deemed ‘The Lion’, have the opportunity to access information through the library and research centre at this mausoleum. It is an amazing place with the great portrait of the first president of Malawi at the entrance. The mausoleum was built in 2006 at a cost of USD$600,000 (€500,000). It stands between four pillars bearing the inscriptions of his most prized principles: unity, loyalty, obedience and discipline.

Parliament Building

Map View
Parliament Building of Malawi | © Achipungu / WikiCommons

Visiting Lilongwe gives you an opportunity to admire the beauty and the architectural vision that this big, bold, well-maintained parliament building represents. It is one of many tourists attractions in the capital city of Malawi and can be the centre stage of any visitor’s vacation plan. Although entrance into the building is only allowed through a formal invitation, touring around the building with the guidance of guards is accepted. This large, elegant and modern structure was built as a gift by the Chinese government and is worth visiting as it allows guests to appreciate the decor and professional architecture. It is a magnificent building where visitors learn more about democracy in Malawi.

Four Seasons Nursery and Garden Shop

Botanical Garden, Shop
Map View
A water feature at the Four Seasons Nursery in Lilongwe | © Four Seasons Nursery MW
The Four Seasons Nursery and Garden Shop is a beautiful one stop centre for peoples’ gardening needs as well as a tourist attraction centre. This lovely botanical garden offers a variety of plants such as hydrangeas, zinnias and ferns, among others, all sold at reasonable prices. The garden provides a stunning scene of colors with flowers blooming in front of the eyes. There is also a restaurant for appetizing meals such as fresh organic vegetables grown in the gardens. Guests can also enjoy other activities like live jazz bands on Sundays.

La Galleria Africa

Art Gallery, Shop
Map View

La Galleria is a boutique that sells vivid African paintings, masks, bags and jewellery by local artists. For tourists looking to take home artwork by local Malawians, this is the best art gallery. It is an upmarket tourist shop to visit in Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe. La Galleria displays abstract paintings that depict the Malawian style and way of life. As well as being a shop, the gallery also serves as a studio and is a thriving centre for practitioners, critics, and buyers. It is one of Malawi’s wonderful regular exhibition spaces.

Lilongwe Wildlife Centre

Natural Feature, Botanical Garden, Forest, Park, Zoo
Map View

A traveller who is passionate about nature and wildlife will have a great time walking through the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, which accommodates a variety of different animals. Located right in the heart of the capital city, the centre is a sanctuary for rescued animals from within Malawi and other countries. Currently there are about 200 rescued animals, including two lions named Simba and Bella. There are also monkeys, African rock pythons, hyenas, warthogs and crocodiles. Wandering through the woodland trails, guests are able to enjoy stunning and beautiful scenery. You can also treat yourself at the fully stocked bar situated in the woods that provide a shaded and relaxed area. Diverse food dishes at the appetizing Kokobean Cafe are available to visitors as is the moonlight cinema.