Lilongwe is not pedestrian friendly, at least not from a European perspective. Except the very compact center, called Area 1, the city spreads into vastness. In the center, traffic crawls at snail speed, which made us realize how much wealthier people must be in the city. Private cars in rural areas are indeed basically unknown. Residences of the middle class are usually large properties, with a large garden surrounded by walls.
The town is divided into 50 Areas. Often large stretches of untouched land lay in between buildings. The city is also void of true tourist attractions or highlights. We visited the Banda Mausoleum named after the famous president, an unassuming marble tomb inside a small pavilion, which is a perfect replica. The real thing is underneath the very structure.
We did not visit the wildlife center… the entire area was parched in the middle of the dry season and we did not expect it to be real scenic.
Talking about accommodation, once we stayed at the efficient Mabuya Camp, a backpackers’ paradise. Another time we checked in at the Korea Garden Lodge, which has a nice restaurant and pool area, but their booking system was chaotic to say the least. On top of that our neighbors were loud, drunken South African expats working in town. Our fierce complaints made them check out, after they terrorized the place and the staff for two weeks. The most exciting place to see in Lilongwe is the tobacco auction, far out on the way to the airport.