Kids need at least an hour of active play everyday. It can be challenge to find places to take the family for some much needed active play. So, I polled my friends and these are the places we enjoy. I hope it’s a useful resource for your family!
Playgrounds in Lilongwe
Playgrounds are a play at your own risk type of adventure so, be vigilant. Watch for steep slides, missing boards, and high falls. Know that others on the playground parent differently. In the end, playgrounds are still a great place for kids to run, climb, hide, play, and be creative. I feel like the risk adds to the adventure experience we love about Africa!
Eden Estates has an adventure playground with a trampoline, bike trail, and a swimming pool that is open to the public for a daily or monthly fee. (Parts of the estate are restricted from the public to ensure privacy of their residents.)
Four Seasons has an adorable treehouse and picnic table hidden in the most beautiful garden in Lilongwe. Follow the path over the pond to find it tucked in the corner of the garden. Four seasons is home to multiple shops including a lovely ice cream shop, fitness center, restaurant, and coffee shop.
Fun City is an outdoor playground with multiple play structures, climbing walls, trampolines, and playground equipment for all ages. It’s a popular site for birthday parties, so you may find it crowded at times. They have attendants throughout. There is an entrance fee. (Note that they also have video games at the entrance so if active play is your goal, you’ll want to coach your kids with expectations ahead of time.)
Golden Peacock Shopping Center has a soft indoor playground for preschoolers. It is staffed with an attendant. You must pay a fee.
Lark Cafe has a little walled in playground. Parents should monitor their children’s play. There is outdoor seating near the entrance to the playground.
Lilongwe Wildlife Center has a big adventure playground nestled in a picturesque setting. It is free to those that are eating at the cafe, but difficult to see from the seating area. They regularly have school groups so you may find it crowded at times.
Playground near Gateway Mall has a paid playground that is more typical of American style playgrounds. This is a popular place for parties and so may be crowded at times.
Wimpy’s restaurant has a small indoor playground at the back of the restaurant that’s perfect for little climbers. It’s free for customers. (Note they don’t have a bathroom so that can be tricky for potty trainers.)
Swimming Pools in Lilongwe
Eden Estates has a swimming pool in a picturesque setting that has both a shallow end for little ones and a deep end. You can choose to pay a daily or monthly rate.
Golden Peacock Hotel has a swimming pool. You can swim for a fee.
Lilongwe Golf Club has a swimming pool. You can purchase a membership to the club, then pay the daily fee.
Playground next to Gateway Mall has a swimming pool and water play area.
I have found that some of the small lodges are open to allowing the kids to swim for a reasonable fee.
Other Activity Options for Kids in Lilongwe
Climb Malawi has a climbing facility in Area 18. This is a wonderful activity for kids of all ages for muscle strengthening. Your donation gives back to the community, making this healthy activity accessible to kids all over Malawi.
Dreamland park has some bounce houses, bumper cars, and a few small roller coaster rides. In the restaurant you can get various snack foods and play pool or foosball for a fee. This is the kind of place that you should approach with an adventurous attitude as you never know what you’ll find. My kids have had most fun when they have gone to the park with silly friends.
Fit for Life Health and Wellness Club at Four Seasons is currently offering Taekwondo classes for kids 6 years of age and up. The first class is free, then rates apply.
Lilongwe Golf Club allows children to golf on the course. You can sign your child up for golf lessons. It’s possible to buy a daily membership.
Warrior’s Nest Paintball in area 47 has a small lot in Lilongwe. The facility provides the safety gear, guns, and bullets. Rates are based on the number of bullets you purchase. This is a fun way for kids to run around and get exercise.
White Rock Park is an event facility located near the airport. After paying the entrance fee, children are welcome to climb around as they enjoy the landscaped view.
Day Trips from Lilongwe
Dedza Pottery and Lodge– We have enjoyed the little cafe and pottery shop. The lodge also offers guided excursions. You can arrange for the restaurant to provide a picnic lunch to enjoy on your walk.
Hiking in Malawi – In doing research for this post I came across this incredibly valuable website- WalkinginMalawi. My boys have hiked Bunda Mountain. Many thanks to the resident that put this together. As mentioned on “Walking in Malawi” a lot of information is gathered from word of mouth, so it’s quite helpful to have a written guide. Take advantage of the information and explore Malawi with your family!
Kuti Wildlife Reserve – This day trip is about my family’s speed. This wildlife reserve is home to wide array of animals including zebra, monkeys, and one giraffe. The day fee for residents is reasonable. You are welcome to bike and walk throughout the park. Bikes are available for rent or you can bring your own. Picnics are allowed, but they also have a little restaurant on site.
Lake Malawi– Malawians will tell you that you haven’t truly seen Malawi until you have seen Lake Malawi. There are many private homes and lodges along all areas of the Lake. I would encourage you to find a lodge that has a chlorinated swimming pool to decrease the risk of bilharzia.
Luwawa Forest Lodge– For the adventurous family, this facility offers family friendly activities for all ages. If you’re looking for an active family vacation, you should check it out.
Mount Mulanje – Older children may enjoy the adventure of hiking Mount Mulanje. This is the type of family adventure that requires forethought and the proper equipment. I would encourage getting your kids active with climbing and walking expeditions before you tackle Mount Mulanje. Connect with experienced residents to learn more about it.
Sun and Sand is a holiday resort near Mangochi. It has a water playground for kids aged 5 to 12 years of age with a dry land play area included in the price. The large swimming pool is a separate fee.
Note that some of the sites listed above are closed now due to COVID restrictions.
*Please contact me if I need to make corrections, add or remove places. I want to keep this page current and useful to families in Lilongwe.
updated March 6, 2021