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Lilongwe
looking east, Area 2
Lilongwe is located in Malawi
Lilongwe
Location of Lilongwe
Coordinates: 13°59′S 33°47′E / 13.983°S 33.783°E / -13.983; 33.783
Country  Malawi
Region Central Region
District Lilongwe
Elevation 1,050 m (3,445 ft)
Population (2008)
 - Total 866 272
Time zone CAT (UTC+2)

Lilongwe, estimated population 866,272, is the capital of Malawi. It lies in the country's central region, on the Lilongwe river, near the border of Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia, and on the main north-south highway of Malawi, the M1.

Lilongwe is located at 13°59′S 33°47′E / 13.983°S 33.783°E / -13.983; 33.783

Contents

History

The city started life as a small village on the banks of the Lilongwe river, and became a British colonial administrative centre at the beginning of the 20th century. Due to its location on the main north-south route through the country and the road to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Lilongwe became the second largest city in Malawi. In 1974, the capital of the country was formally moved from Zomba to Lilongwe. Although Lilongwe is the official capital of Malawi and has grown immensely since 1974, most commercial activity takes place in Malawi's largest city, Blantyre. Recently, as part of political restructuring, the parliament has been shifted to Lilongwe and all parliament members are required to spend time in the new capital. Lilongwe is now the political centre of Malawi, but Blantyre remains the economic capital.

Demographics

Year Population[1]
1977 98,718
1987 223,318
1998 435,964
2008 866,272
2009 902,388

General

Many European and South African expatriates live in Lilongwe, and many NGOs (Care International, Plan International, Concern Worldwide, , Population Services International, The UNC Project, World Camp, Baylor International AIDS Initiative, Baobab Health Partnership, WaterAID), international aid organisations (Peace Corps, USAID, DFID,UNICEF, UNHCR, UNFAO, WFP), and international corporations, particularly tobacco-related firms, operate out of Lilongwe. As a result, most western visitors will find the city to be accommodating and friendly. Many coffee shops, cafes, bars, clubs, restaurants, and even a casino are located in Lilongwe. In Lilongwe, as opposed to rural Malawi, one can live, work, or vacation in a manner that most westerners would consider typical, if not luxurious.

However, most of Lilongwe's Malawian citizens live on just a few dollars a day and many are unemployed. The population of Lilongwe has grown as villagers, including young orphaned children, from the surrounding rural areas have relocated to the capital in search of jobs and the unattainable quality of life enjoyed by government officials, NGO and other international workers, and expatriates. Despite the highly visible class differences, most of the city's residents go about their lives in relative harmony.

During the rainy season, between November and April, Lilongwe is muddy, humid, and hot. June and July are relatively cool and windy months. During the other months of the year, Lilongwe is dry and dusty.

Lilongwe is a hot-spot for the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Malawi. It is estimated that up to 20% of the urban population is HIV positive. Frighteningly, the Malawi National AIDS Commission reports that professionals, especially teachers and agricultural extension agents - many of whom travel between urban centres and rural villages, are dying faster than they can be replaced. [1] Also, the central region of Malawi is experiencing extreme deforestation. It is feared that rural citizens will have no access to wood for cooking fires, heating fires, and building materials by 2015. Problems with HIV/AIDS and deforestation are interrelated to the rapid population growth the city is currently experiencing.

Areas

Looking northeast towards the Shoprite

The city has many districts known as Areas. Areas are numbered, and range from one to fifty or more as the city grows - City Centre not being a numbered Area. The Areas are not necessarily consecutively numbered from one area to another.

Some notable areas are:

  • City Centre is by far the most modern, developed area of Lilongwe. Many banks (Stanbic - or Standard Chartered, National Bank of Malawi, NedBank, the Reserve Bank of Malawi), diplomatic missions, exclusive hotels (Sunbird Capital Hotel), airline offices (including South African Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, British Airways, Kenya Airways) and international corporate offices are located in City Centre. Close to City Centre, on an elevated ground, lies Malawi's Capital Hill which is a large campus of Government Ministries. There are over a dozen office blocks on Capital Hill, including Office of President and Cabinet, Ministries of Finance, Defence, Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Education, Works and Transport, Health, Home Affairs and Ministry of Economic Planning. Capital Hill is surrounded by a fence and a ring road, with a maze of streets connecting the office blocks.
  • Area 2: Old Town (North of A1) - Closest to the city centre; thriving commercial district, frequented primarily by locals; clothing, local food, western-style groceries, car parts, building supplies, bicycles/bicycle accessories are available here; home to Lilongwe's main local market, two major mosques, and a sprawling mini-bus station.
  • Area 3 and Area 9: Old Town (West of A1) - West bank of the Lilongwe river; large, wealthy residential neighbourhoods, expatriate bars, hotels such as Lilongwe Hotel, western style shopping and restaurants, private expatriate clinics (Moyo Wathanzi on Likuni Road - Dr. Huber of Amsterdam).
  • Area 47: Home to African Bible College, and its dependable, inexpensive missionary clinic which is typically staffed by American doctors. There is also a small stadium (Silver stadium). Children of the Nations, a non-profit organisation dedicated to caring for orphaned and destitute children, is also headquartered in Lilongwe.
  • Other medium to low density residential areas are Areas 6, 12, 11, 43, 10, 44. There are also areas 15, and 18 which are medium to high density. Area 15 in particular has about 250 bungalows and houses medium earners.
  • While the areas mentioned above are quite wealthy, safe, and modern, many citizens of Lilongwe live in sub-standard/non-permanent housing in a variety of Areas, often without electricity or running water.

Transport

Lilongwe is served by Malawi Railways and Shire Bus Lines, and local buses and minibuses run between Old Town, City Centre, Kamuzu International Airport, and other urban centres, including Mzuzu and Blantyre. Taxis are available from hotels and a taxi rank on Presidential Way, North of City Centre Shopping Centre. Most major urban roads are severely congested. Nevertheless, recently, most of the roads have been expanded into dual carriage ways (Paul Kagame Road running from Area 15 to Lilongwe Hotel in Area 3, Capital Hill to City Centre Road. The flow of traffic has been greatly improved lately with traffic lights (called robots by locals) installed in strategic intersections, unlike a few years ago when traffic lights were a rarity in Lilongwe. Kamuzu International Airport, located about 35 km north of Lilongwe in the suburb of Lumbadzi, offers local turbo-prop flights and flights on a number of major airlines to South Africa, Kenya, Dubai, and Ethiopia.

Shopping

At craft market by post office

The main western-style shopping area is around Shoprite and the Nico Centre in Area 3, on the west bank of the Lilongwe river in Old Town. A newer, similar shopping centre is located near the Mchinji round-about across from the Seven Eleven filling station - the Crossroads Shopping Centre. Lilongwe has also seen the opening of Mr. Price at this Crossroads Shopping Centre. Aside from that a new high street shopping mall is being constructed at the former Shire Bus lines premises at Old Town (next to the Nico Centre). It has been said that this will be the biggest shopping mall in Malawi. Some of the retailers who confirmed as tenants of this mall include: Woolworths, Spar, Game, Mr. Price Home among several others. The Pacific Shopping Mall is located in Area 10. Several internet cafes are located in and around the Nico Centre. Gifts and crafts can be bought from the post office craft market directly opposite the Nico Centre. To get a fair deal in the craft market, you must bargain hard. Pharmacies, bureau de changes and banks (including Stanbic and Malawi National Bank) are located throughout the city. ATM's which accept VISA cards are available at the banks mentioned above in City Centre and Area 3, with National Bank branches accepting bank issued cards using the PLUS international banking network. It should be noted that almost any necessity can be purchased in Lilongwe, and many back-packers and overland travellers stop in Lilongwe to stock-up and enjoy city life for a few days.

Climate

Weather data for Lilongwe
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32
(90)
31
(88)
32
(90)
30
(86)
30
(86)
28
(82)
28
(82)
31
(88)
32
(90)
34
(93)
34
(93)
33
(91)
34
(93)
Average high °C (°F) 27
(81)
27
(81)
27
(81)
27
(81)
25
(77)
23
(73)
23
(73)
25
(77)
27
(81)
30
(86)
29
(84)
28
(82)
27
(81)
Average low °C (°F) 17
(63)
17
(63)
16
(61)
14
(57)
11
(52)
8
(46)
7
(45)
8
(46)
12
(54)
15
(59)
17
(63)
18
(64)
13
(55)
Record low °C (°F) 13
(55)
12
(54)
11
(52)
10
(50)
4
(39)
2
(36)
-1
(30)
-1
(30)
4
(39)
9
(48)
12
(54)
13
(55)
-1
(30)
Precipitation mm (inches) 208
(8.19)
218
(8.58)
125
(4.92)
43
(1.69)
3
(0.12)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
53
(2.09)
125
(4.92)
775
(30.51)
Source: BBC Weather [2] 2009-08-19

Bibliography

Gerke, W.J.C. & Viljoen, Charl J. Master Plan for Lilongwe the Capital City of Malawi (Johannesburg: Swan Publishing, 1968)

References

External links

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Africa : East Africa : Malawi : Lilongwe

Lilongwe is the capital of Malawi.

Understand

The capital of Malawi, but not its largest city (that honour belongs to Blantyre), Lilongwe is fairly reasonably sized with a population of about 250,000. It's a very green city, to the extent that sometimes you wonder if there is a city centre at all as buildings in the new town at least are divided by patches of grassy land and trees.

Orientation

Lilongwe is divided into the Old Town (to the South) and the New Town (to the North) with the Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary between the two. The Old Town is built around the former village of Lilongwe, while the New Town (also called City Centre or Capital City) sprung up after former dictator Hastings Banda moved the capital from Zomba to Lilongwe. It is very dark to drive around at night as many of the streetlights were destroyed by Banda's henchmen when he lost power, the Government is still working to replace these. The quality of the roads is excellent compared to countries like Kenya and traffic doesn't tend to be too much of a problem at all.

Get in

By plane

Lilongwe's Kamuzu International Airport (LLW) fields regular flights to Johannesburg, Harare and Nairobi, as well as domestic services to Blantyre, Mzuzu and Karonga. For neighboring Zambia, there are flights both to capital Lusaka and safari destination Mfuwe through the two main Air Charter companies (Nyassa Air Taxi [1] & Executive Air Charters). An international departure tax of US$30 (cash only) is charged for all passengers with foreign passports (pay it on the first floor before heading up to the departure hall!), while domestic departure tax is K200.

The airport is about 25 km north of town and the taxis charge around K2500 (US$20) for the journey.

By car

Lilongwe is about 110 kilometers from Mchinji on the Zambian border. Taxis generally charge upwards of K5000 for the trip.

By bus

From Dar Es Salaam

There are two bus companies serve Dar-Es Salaam-Lilongwe direction twice a week. The buses usually lack maintenance which makes the time schedule unreliable.

Get around

The town is very spread out so getting around can be a bit of a chore. You can pick up taxis from the Lilongwe Hotel (in the Old Town) and the Capital Hotel (in the Capital City). If you're feeling adventurous, you can take a minibus. It's very cheap, but you will be getting very familiar with your fellow passengers. There are several routes you can take, including one that goes from the large blue bank in the new town and drops you off in the heart of the old town, next to Shoprite surpermarket.

See

Lilongwe wildlife centre: on the opposite side of the road to the old nature sanctuary. Its back down towards old town by the bridge over the river, look out for the sign. Its a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre that provides excellent tours of the centre and its wilderness zone, a wide range of wildlife and good value for money. They even have volunteer opportunities offered through their website [2].

At KUMBALI CULTURAL CENTER see the traditional Malawian Dancing and traditional Malawian Drumming Includes Live acoustic Malawian Music; Traditional Malawian dinner . Info: Scott Gray 0999-933-252

  • Old Town Mall. Catering mostly to the tourist, expat, and wealthy Malawian community, Old Town Mall offers two impressive art and craft galleries, a DVD rental shop, grocery store catering to expat tastes, travel agencies, and upmarket clothing stores. Mamma Mia's Italian Restaurant (see below) is located as well in Old Town Mall.
  • Crossroads Complex, Mchinji Roundabout. Lilongwe's newest shopping mall, with a couple of decent gift shops, a post office, a petrol station, two ATMs and a couple of fast food joints.
  • 7-Eleven. No relation to the American outfit, this is just a popular supermarket (complete with in-house butchery) that stocks a wide range of products local and imported.
  • Tabaq , next to Diplomats pub in Old Town (area 4) Nice Pakistani run place with good Malawian, Indian and Chinese food.
  • Don Brioni's Bistro, next to the Old Town post office. Serving pizza, pasta, steaks and daily specials. Good food in generous quantities. $5-$10 for a main dish.
  • Bohemia Cafe, along the road from Don Brioni's. Open for breakfast and lunch. Light meals (breakfast, toasted sandwiches, baked potato, quiche), fresh fruit juice, very good tea and coffee and great cakes. About $5 for for a sandwich, a cup of tea and a cake.
  • Korea Garden Lodge, about 1/4 mile from Harry's bar (within walking distance). Hotel serving Korean food in the restaurant.
  • Al Fresco, in new town, is a great Italian restaurant with really fresh ingredients. Try their pizza! (Located in the same shopping centre as Foodworth and a Total Station)
  • Four Seasons, in new town, is a lovely set of restaurants and small shops set in beautifully kept gardens. An excellent Indian restaurant with prices ranging from around 1000-2000 kwacha for curries, there is also another restaurant offering pastas, salads and steaks all reasonably priced. You'll probably need to drive, its located just near the Capital Sunbird Hotel in the Government District. But well worth the trip - there's also a great bar serving some lethal cocktails!
  • Mamma Mia, Old Town Mall. Lilongwe's fanciest Italian restaurant, much favored by the expat community so reservations strongly advised on weekends. Real Italian pizza, pasta and more, but expect to pay over K2000/head (US$20) for a full meal with a glass of wine, and food quality is a little uneven.

Drink

There's a place for drinking like bwandiro (area 47) where there's a lot of pubs. There's now a new Pirate casino where people usually go almost every day up to midnight.

Harry's Bar, in the old town, is a great place to have a drink and a burger during the day or to slam Malawi gin with an energetic crowd on weekend nights.

  • Diplomats Pub In old town. Offers good music and cold beer, also braai(South African word for B-B-Q.Pronounced "brr-eye") outside and great meals inside, opens 17.00 till late. Great entertainment for the weekend and during the week when no other pubs are open. we offer great service and customer satisfaction. you can contact +265 8553492 for more info. any type of music is played if the customer requests..Have a look out for Libido's joint, another bar situated in the back of dipolmats pub..
  • Aleksander Bar Around 10 minutes from the downtown by Taxi. This bar use to be the hangout place of the Lilongwe white collar's and expatriates. The bar lies in the ground floor of a building that owned by Malawi born western. This place can be a choice if you want to avoid the crowd and relax.
  • Mabuya Camp, to the south of the Old Town, tel. +265 (0)1 754 978 / +265 (0)9 746 239 /+265 (0)9 664 651, info@mabuyacamp.com, [3]. Camping, A-frames, chalets and dorms and pool. Formerly run by and named Kiboko Camp.
  • Crystal Lodge, Malangalanga Rd, K 700 single, the former government resthouse is now a privately run enterprise with basic rooms. Probably the cheapest place in Lilongwe.
  • Lilongwe Golf club (camping only), off Glynn Jones Rd, the campsite is not very busy and you might be the only guest there, but it works out a bit cheaper than a room.
  • Kiboko Town Hotel, in the centre of the Old Town, above Don Brioni's Bistro, tel. +265 (0)1 751 226 / (0)9 838 485, KTH@kiboko-safaris.com, [4]. Has its own cafe and a residents-only bar. Used to be the Imperial Hotel. Clean, pleasant and friendly, in a very convenient location. They also run good-value safaris to South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. $45-$75 (all are en-suite, more expensive rooms have a bath and TV).
  • Korean Garden Lodge offers a comfortable and relaxing setting close to downtown Lilongwe but in a quiet residential area. Swimming pool, television, rooms ranging from budget dorm-style to more luxuriant and private.
  • Mufasa Lodge (tel +2659071665) On top floor of "The Huts" Indian restaurant is an good option if you like to stay in the heart of old town. They offer accommodation from dormitories to self contained double rooms, breakfast inclusive. From usd 12 to usd 35.
  • Cresta Crossroads Hotel, Crossroads Complex, Mchinji Roundabout, tel. +265-175-0333, [5]. Opened December 2004, this four-star hotel operated by a South African chain offers modern if somewhat uninspiring comfort. Pool, jacuzzi, gym, speedy wireless Internet and a shopping mall next door. Single/double from US$120/140.
  • Capital Hotel, . Also uninspiring but comfortable with very similar facilities to Cresta Crossroads Hotel. En-suite double rooms from $110. The hotel does serve pretty good food, the peri peri chicken burger is particularly good, and also there is a small sportsbar. The experience here depends on the day, some of the staff are absolutely fabulous, but some can be a little distracted and inattentive. Do make sure you go for a superior room, the standard ones aren't great.

Stay safe

Transport is not always easy to get at late hours of the night so always make sure you have means of transport to getting back to where you're staying. Taxis are available. Lilongwe is said to be unsafe at night so don't walk alone after dark.

  • Cape Maclear, a laid-back village on the south end of Lake Malawi.
  • Salima, the easiest entry point to Lake Malawi, 1-2 hours away. Nice resorts (including Livingstonia Beach Resort) available with gorgeous beaches. A signposted turn off 3 km before Salima beckons travelers to Kuti Wildlife Park with camp sites,A frame chalets, bar/braii facilities, Small restaurant,game drives and walks, Animals found in the park include sable, nyala, zebra, wildebeest, ostrich, giraffe and waterbuck. At night civets, genets, servals and aardvarks may be spotted. A great spot for birding too! If you plan to go during rainy season, be sure to take a 4x4 just in case. Fore more info telephone 09563004 or 05236672.
  • Chipata, the eastern gateway to Zambia, 1-2 hours away
  • South Luangwa National Park – a fantastic wildlife reserve in Zambia. Kiboko Safaris (see Kiboko Town Hotel in Sleep section of this page) and possibly a few others run roundtrip excursions to the park, and with advance notice can arrange visa waivers. The park is great, and this is an easy way to see it if you've got time for a sidetrip.
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

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Wikipedia

Proper noun

Lilongwe

  1. The capital city of Malawi

Simple English

Lilongwe
Coordinates: 19°59′S 33°47′E / 19.983°S 33.783°E / -19.983; 33.783
Country Malawi
District Lilongwe
Capital 1974
Population (2003)
 - Total 597,619
Time zone CAT (UTC+2)

Lilongwe is the capital city of African country of Malawi. It lies in the center of the country on the Lilongwe river. It is near the border of Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia. The city has a population of 597,619 people. Lilongwe is the second largest city in Malawi.

History

The city started as a small village on the banks of the Lilongwe river. It became a British colonial administrative centre at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1974, the capital of the country was moved from Zomba to Lilongwe. Recently, as part of a change in politics in Malawi, the parliament has been moved to Lilongwe. All parliament members must spend time in the new capital. Lilongwe is now the political centre of Malawi, but Blantyre the economic capital of the country.

Transport

Lilongwe is visited by Malawi Railways and Shire Bus Lines, local buses and minibuses go between Old Town, City Centre, Kamuzu International Airport, and other urban places, including Mzuzu and Blantyre.

People can get taxis from hotels and a taxi lane on Presidential Way, North of City Centre Shopping Centre. Most roads have a lot of traffic, so most Malawians prefer to, or can only afford to, walk or use a bicycle. There is also an airport, Kamuzu International Airport, which is about 35 km north of Lilongwe.


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