Lilongwe (named after the Lilongwe River) is the capital of Malawi and the second larger city in the country. Located in the central region of Malawi, near the borders with Mozambique and Zambia. The city has a population of approximately 2.5 million. Lilongwe existed for centuries as a small fishing village on the banks of the Lilongwe River but during the British colonial period at the beginning of the 20th century, Lilongwe was chosen as British colonial administrative centre, due to its desirable geography. The area had an easy navigable route to Lake Malawi, and connected to Lusaka (in Zambia), Blantyre and Mzuzu.
Lilongwe is located on plateau situated at an altitude of 1,050 m (3,440 ft) above sea level and features a humid subtropical climate.
Lilongwe is divided into a New and Old City. The former has hotels, embassies and offices while the latter has markets, bus stations, cafes and restaurants. The modern shops of the City are contrasted by the street and walled markets of Old Town.
Due in part to the growth of the expatriate community and the increasing importance of tourism, the number of international restaurants has risen very rapidly over recent years. The city now offers a rich and internationalized diversity of cuisine and a number of lodges and hotels offering a good standard of accommodation and service. Lilongwe is a friendly and vibrant city and makes for a good first or last night in Malawi.