LILONGWE WILDLIFE CENTRE


Malawi’s only wildlife sanctuary

The Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, LWT’s first project, opened in 2009. It is renowned as one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in Africa and is home to around 200 rescued animals at any one time. Set in a stunning 180-hectare nature reserve, our 70 hectare sanctuary was placed under LWT’s protection by the Government. In addition to protecting an important urban woodland, it stands as the country’s leading environmental education facility. Some 25,000 school children are welcomed through our entrance gates annually.

Adult tour group infront of yellow babboon enclosure
Blue monkey enjoying food at LWC
IMG_2682Community engagement briquette making_Lilongwe_March 2020
lilongwe wildlife centre playground

Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation


LWT’s sanctuary methods are so trusted that we are mandated to operate on behalf of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, and are accredited by the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and the PAW scheme under the Born Free Foundation. The Wildlife Centre is the world’s only sanctuary to hold all three accreditations and one of a handful of African sanctuaries deemed by GFAS to have high enough welfare standards for a global award. Over the last decade we have had support from Stichting AAP, the Born Free Foundation and the Olsen Animal Trust, but the centre’s financial stability also depends on the responsible tourism method through our
volunteer placement programme

The majority of our residents have been rescued within Malawi, but we’ve also provided sanctuary to some animals rescued from captivity and abuse in other countries, such as our olive baboons and two lions who use to call LWC home.

We have a small vet clinic and orphan-care centre inside the sanctuary. Having a highly experienced animal-care team, the majority of rescue callouts can be managed on site. Every effort is made to return all rescued animals to the wild where they belong.  For those that can’t be released, we offer the best possible quality of life in large, natural enclosures where they can roam freely.

LWT’s Wildlife Emergency Response Unit (WERU) is also on hand for other cases that need treatment in-situ, especially for large animals such as elephant and rhino.

Plan your visit


We’re open to visitors all year round and all money raised through visitors goes back into our sanctuary operations, providing a much-needed lifeline for orphaned and injured wild animals.  

Take a guided sanctuary tour or walk the 6km of wilderness trails along the river and through the forest. There’s also a cafe, gift shop and playground.

Open 365 days a year, 8am to 5pm. On Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day we open late at 11am.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to COVID-19, our sanctuary is in lockdown. You can still access our walking trails and Cuneco Cafe but our reception and gift shop are closed and access to animals is not permitted.

For enquiries please call +265 (0)88 1788 999 or email centre@lilongwewildlife.org

The Wildlife Centre is situated in the heart of the capital city. Find us on Kenyatta Drive between Old Town and City Centre, equal distance from the Lingadzi Bridge and Kamuzu Central Hospital roundabout.

Onsite partners

Partners are crucial for Lilongwe Wildlife Trust to carry out our mission to save wildlife, campaign for conservation justice and inspire people to value and protect nature in Malawi

Two such valued partners are leading the way to a cleaner, greener Malawi through upcycling – taking waste products and creating value for organisations and households alike. And they both have outlets at the entrance of our wildlife centre: Kawandama Hills Plantation and International Conservation and Clean up Management.

Kawandama Hills Plantation

Kawandama Hills Plantation established themselves in 2009 to produce lemon eucalyptus essential oil for the creation of natural insect repellent. This tree – the Corymbia citriodora – produces leaves and woody biomass. The leaves are distilled in Northern Malawi, at a facility that has virtually no pollution of any kind. At four years of age, the trees are cut down to just trunks to create the sustainable charcoal. Once chopped, this species puts out new shoots from its stumps and the trees start to regenerate. This then allows leaves and wood to grow in the next four-year cycle. Since the charcoal is from trees that are raised, planted and tended on the same plantation they are considered sustainable and renewable. The Forestry Department granted Kawandama Hills Plantation the first sustainable charcoal license in Malawi back in 2015 and, in 2016, the initiative was expanded through the support of USAID.

To assist Kawandama Hills Plantation with their mission, LWT agreed to place a sustainable charcoal container outlet in the parking area of our wildlife centre.  Their employees are always present during our daytime operating hours to sell both 5kg and 15kg bags. Most people buy charcoal at dusk on the way home so our wildlife centre is well placed for such purchases. In their latest innovative move, Kwandama Hills Plantation has developed a natural hand sanitiser that can protect against COVID19 transmission for up to 3 hours. This can also be bought from our sanctuary charcoal outlet.

International Conservation and Clean up Management

ICCM is a Malawi registered social enterprise dedicated to effective education, practical waste reduction and the ethical recycling or reuse of resources. They’re developing waste management hubs throughout Lilongwe. These provide convenient and affordable ways for communities to recycle their waste while also creating spaces where people can come and learn about the importance of waste management, and how to generate income through waste innovation. 

For the last few years our wildlife centre has provided a space for one such hub. Stating in July, ICCM will be with us every Thursday and Saturday from 9am until 5pm. People can stop by the far end of our car park on Kenyatta Drive to deposit any amount of recycling for just 2000mwk. All proceeds go towards ICCM projects.

Promoting upcycling can go a long way to creating a clean and waste free Malawi. From the deposited recycling, ICCM produce recycled greeting cards, paper jewellery, glassware from bottles and weaved plastic bins for office spaces and events. The wildlife centre gift shop sells some of these recycled wares.

LWT also utilises some of the raw materials to create eco bricks and briquettes as part of our own education programmes. Like Kawandama Hills Plantation’s sustainable charcoal, these briquettes can be used for household needs instead of wood.