Sprawling, chaotic and bustling with commerce, Lilongwe feels fit to burst. The nation's capital is initially a little underwhelming and it takes some time to get your bearings – you may wonder where the centre is – but once you've decided on your favourite restaurants, ferreted out the best malls and discovered those hidden leafy oases, the place grows on you.
It's certainly a novelty to visit a capital city comprising a few hubs of buildings linked by roads through scrubby bush, and with a small wildlife sanctuary at its heart. However, you are unlikely to want to hang around for longer than a day or two. 'Li-long-drop', as they call it in prettier parts of the country, lacks Blantyre's charm and feels considerably edgier than anywhere else in Malawi.