“Lilongwe is the capital city of Malawi, on the Lilongwe River, a charming place to stop and explore before exploring Malawi’s wilderness"

At its heart, woodland trails weave through the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. This sanctuary shelters rescued and injured animals, including lions, monkeys and crocodiles. Shops, bars and restaurants dot the Old Town district.

To the south of Lilongwe, the Old Town is almost indistinguishable from other small African towns. Here you’ll find a real mix of commercial, residential and industrial buildings. The numerous shops, markets, cafes and restaurants found here sell nearly everything imaginable. 

Although most travellers use Lilongwe as a mere stop-over on their trip, there are a couple of pleasant ways to spend the day here. Explore the contrast between the old and the new towns, visit the walled market and Asian quarter in the Old Town, or get a feel for a tobacco auction! 

The Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary lies between the Old and New towns, a remarkable area where nature still rules, in the heart of an African capital city. Within the Sanctuary is the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre –  Malawi’s only sanctuary for rescued, orphaned and injured wild animals. It’s not a game-viewing destination, but worth a gentle walk along the river and through the woodland. On the 6km of trails here, you might spot monkeys, birds and butterflies or the odd bushpig. Cycling and picnicking are permitted. 

The precipitation in Malawi comes mainly in December, January, February and March, though the rains arrive slightly earlier and leave slightly later the further north you are, and Malawi’s higher areas generally receive more rainfall.


Most of the rain has faded by April and May, leaving a green landscape which is starting to dry out. Especially in higher and more southerly locations, night-time temperatures start to fall. 


In June, July and August, the nights become a lot cooler, although the days are still warm and clear. Some can get very cold, needing you to wrap up warm if you’re out at night – on a night game drive, for example. This is the start of the so-called ‘peak season’ for Malawi – with many cloudless days and increasing game sightings. 

Into September and October, the temperatures climb once again, so parts of Malawi get quite hot – especially the low-lying areas around the lake. 

November is a variable month: It can be hot and dry like the weather in October; it can also see the season’s first downpours. November is often a very interesting month; occasionally, on successive days, you can even see both weather patterns. 

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