Save to List: Katy Rustrick's Lilongwe

curation - Katy Rustrick

At boom saloon, we’re incredibly privileged to collaborate with a community of hundreds of talented creatives all around the world, stretching from Ecuador to Egypt, China to Canada, Austria to Angola. Our strong relations have afforded us a wealth of insider insights into the best places to visit, eat and stay, all around the world. Now, we want to share this information with our members as we work with our community to map the world and share their best recommendations of how to enjoy destinations both near and far. Our version of a city guide, delivered interactively and in real time – simply click the link at the bottom of the page to save the map and bookmark a wealth of future adventures.

Katy Rustrick, a filmmaker and photographer, is one half of production company Munjiri Videos, working in locations including Kenya, Uganda and Scotland. Here, she offers her tips for Lilongwe, the most populated city of the African country of Malawi. Named after the Lilongwe River, the city is known for its bustling shops, restaurants and small wildlife sanctuary, which sits at its heart and is just one of the locations featured in Rustrick’s Save to List.

 

Markets

01_Lilongwe Central Market

I’d recommend starting your visit by walking around the Old Town to see all the markets there. If you’re looking to buy some fabric, Chitenge Market is the place to go and there are lots of tailors in the area, too. I also often pick up hibiscus tea here.

02_Lizulu Horticulture Market + DAPP second hand clothing store

Head to Lizulu Market in Area 3 if you want to get the best fresh seasonal vegetables, beans, grains and local fruits like masuku. There are a lot of second-hand clothes shops around here too, including DAPP, which has a huge selection – plus clothing happy hour which is announced on a megaphone.

03_Blantyre Street

If you’re looking for handwoven baskets, boxes or chairs, you can find them where Blantyre Street meets Chayamba Drive. The talented guys here will also likely be able to make you something bespoke, if you have a specific design or idea in mind.

04_Woodlands Lilongwe

The farmers market at Woodlands every Saturday of the month is where you can find artists like Nyanga Chadola, who creates amazing pencil drawings of baobab trees. If you aren’t there on Saturday, you can find his home/ shop on the road to Salima.

 

Food

04_Woodlands Lilongwe

Lilongwe has really good Indian food, and Woodlands is one of the best places to enjoy this. You might even be lucky enough to spot bushbabies [small, saucer-eyed primates], which you can see jumping around in the trees if you sit at the outside tables in the evening.

Seble is a go-to for Ethiopian food and there’s also Ama Khofi, George’s Food Truck and Kaza Kitchen. Some say the best nsima in Lilongwe is at Likuni, Area 25. You can also treat yourself to chambo [a popular fish from Lake Malawi]. If you’re in Lilongwe during the rains, definitely try the wild mushrooms people sell by the road. The huge ones are the most delicious!

 

Nature

05_Maula Cathedral Church + Lilongwe Wildlife Centre

Although you might not think that Lilongwe has much wildlife, amazingly the capital city has a healthy population of spotted hyena. You’re quite unlikely to see them as they are very wary of humans, but you can sometimes hear their calls at night. Also, every year millions of straw coloured fruit bats migrate from Kasanka National Park in Zambia. This is the biggest mammal migration in the world and a few hundred of them have chosen to roost in the trees outside Maula Cathedral in Lilongwe.

06_Maravi Bakery

Lilongwe Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place for a walk along the river – there are vervet monkeys here and some duikers, too. Afterwards, you can visit Maravi Cafe which has a fantastic view of the forest and good coffee. If you’re a keen birdwatcher, Lilongwe is also surprisingly amazing for this, especially around Area 10.

 

Dedza

07_Henry’s Handmade Art Gallery

A little further afield is Dedza, where you can find Henry’s home and shop, where he creates recycled paper books. Waste is collected from Lilongwe and Dedza businesses [last time I was there, Henry was recycling old voting slips] and put to use; you can watch the process of this being made by hand, too. He also has a number of his brother’s paintings, which are beautiful.

08_Dedza Pottery and Lodge + Chongoni Rock Art Area

Along the same road is Dedza Potter, where you can find hand painted pottery and you can take classes, too. Dedza is also home to Chongoni Rock Art. The rock arts are in granite formations and consist of art attributed to the hunter gatherer community of BaTwa who lived here during the Stone Age period, and of the farming community of Chewa who are traced to the Iron Age period.

A note: Each month, we update our site as part of our efforts to reduce the environmental impact of our digital estate. The global emissions from the digital industry are on a par with those from the aviation industry, at almost 2% of total global emissions. What’s worse, this is increasing year on year. In an effort to lessen our impact, each month we delete previous features and update our site with new content. Throughout the month, our current features are available to download or save for free for all boom saloon members, allowing you the chance to hold onto your most treasured stories and collections – support our work and become a member by clicking here.