What is the Capital of Malawi? Lilongwe is the capital and second largest city of Malawi. Although Malawi is generally one of the poorest countries in the region, Lilongwe has developed economically, partly due to tourism.
The city is geographically located in the middle of Malawi and in a region close to Zambia and the borders of Mozambique.
When did Lilongwe Become the Capital?
Lilongwe was not the first capital of Malawi. It was Zomba before Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.
For centuries, Lilongwe was a small fishing village. At the beginning of the twentieth century, when the British colonial authorities took control and called the new colony as Nyasaland, they declared Zomba as the administrative center. When the country gained its independence in 1964, the country was renamed Nakistanand to Malawi and Zomba remained the capital.
Malawi President Hastings Banda, who ruled the country from 1964 to 1994, moved the capital to Lilongwe because of his central location in 1975 and also because he was born in the north of the city. Since becoming the capital of Malawi, Lilongwe has grown considerably due to European and South Africans living in the city. The city is also a center for British and US foreign aid workers, dozens of national diplomats and international companies. Although Lilongwe is the political center of the country, Blantyre in the south of the country continues to be the economic and commercial center of Malawi.
Features of Lilongwe
According to Lilongwe 2014 data, it has a population of 978,000. Lilongwe has a surface area of 728 square kilometers. Lilongwe has a dry season from May to November. In this period, the air temperatures are quite high. Between December and April is the rainy period. Temperatures are around 20 degrees between May and September, but around 30 degrees in October and November.
The city is located on the “Malawi Railway” and “Shire Bus Line” lines. Regular bus and minibus services are available between the city center and the old city center. There are also lines to the city’s airport and other cities of Malawi. The city’s airport “Kamuzu Airport” is located 35 km north of the city center. From this airport, there are regular services to various destinations such as South Africa, Kenya, Dubai and Ethiopia. Although the economy of the city is better than some other African countries, there is a general poverty in the country. However, there are shops and many cafes in the two main commercial centers of the city.
As is the case throughout the country, the capital Lilongwe also includes traditional food called “Nsima”, Chambo (made with fresh fish from Lake Malawi) and trout caught in the rivers on the Zomba, Mulanje and Nykia plateaus. Lilongwe has many luxurious and high quality restaurants. These restaurants are quite hygienic and offer a variety of international cuisine.
Although the city is safe compared to the surrounding capitals, theft and extortion events can be seen. Especially at night you need to avoid secluded places. Public transport in the city ends at midnight. Taxis also may want a lot of prices in the middle of the night if you’re going out to have fun if you prefer to use places near your hotel. The number of doctors and health centers in the city is insufficient. The most common disease is AIDS.
Important Places to See in Lilongwe
Lilongwe Wildlife Center is a very important place to get to know the wildlife in Africa. In addition, safari tours are a very important activity for enthusiasts. During safari tours, you have the chance to see elephants, hippopotams and zebras close up. Another important activity in the city is golf. You can also take a chance to see the houses, local markets and important points that protect the traditional structure with the city tours.
The old city center houses numerous small art galleries where you can see African arts. There are also important areas around Lilongwe. The Mua Mission area, where wood processing is important, with its pottery workshops, and Dedza Mountain at an altitude of 1,600 meters, Dwangwa on the lake, the sandy area of the slave trade in Malawi at the time, Nkhotakota, Salima and Senga Bay, Dzalanyama Forest Reserve, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve Kasungu National Park is situated on the border in Zambia, close to Chongoni Rock Art Area.