Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, which was first opened in 2008 as Lilongwe Wildlife Trust’s pilot project, is Malawi’s only wildlife sanctuary and renowned as one of the best in Africa. Set in 180 hectares of beautiful woodland, it is home to around 200 rescued wild animals. The wildlife centre is also the country’s largest environmental education facility and protects an important urban wildlife reserve.
We’re open to visitors and school groups all year round, and our facilities are also available to hire for conferences, parties and events. Every kwacha raised through visitors goes back into our sanctuary operations, providing a much-needed lifeline for orphaned and injured wild animals. Please come and visit us – and thanks for your support!
As habitats disappear, wild animals are losing their homes and human-wildlife conflict is on the rise. Wildlife crime, such as the pet and bush-meat trades, is common in Malawi and, if the law is to be enforced, the ‘victims’ need somewhere to go.
The Wildlife Centre was set up in 2008 as LWT’s first project to offer a lifeline to these wild animals in distress, saving the lives of individual animals and, wherever possible, releasing them back into the wild where they belong. We are currently the only accredited wildlife sanctuary in Malawi and the centre is home to around 200 rescued wild animals. It is also the country’s largest environmental education facility and protects an important urban wildlife reserve.
Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation
- The Wildlife Centre is renowned for having some of the highest welfare standards in Africa, shown through the accreditations it has received.
- The majority of our residents have been rescued within Malawi, but we have also provided sanctuary to some animals that have been rescued from captivity and abuse in other countries, such as our now departed lions, Simba and Bella.
- Thanks to our state-of-the-art vet clinic, orphan-care centre and experienced animal-care team, which is supported by volunteers, the majority of rescue callouts can be managed on site. LWT’s Wildlife Emergency Response Unit (WERU) is on hand for other cases that need treatment in-situ, especially for large animals such as elephant and rhino.
- Every effort is made to return rescued animals to the wild where they belong. For those that can never be released, we offer the best possible quality of life in large, natural enclosures where they can roam freely.
- The Wildlife Centre provides over 60 jobs for local employees, but international volunteers are critical to the sanctuary’s rehabilitation programme.
- We welcome over 25,000 school children through the Wildlife Centre’s gates every year, who participate in our environmental education programmes. Read more here.
- The Wildlife Centre is located right in the heart of the capital city within a beautiful wildlife reserve. We aim to offer the tens of thousands who visit us each year an enjoyable outing and at the same time inspiring a passion for wildlife and a desire to protect it. We have won awards for our commitments to responsible tourism, an ethos which we have adopted throughout our operations.
- Investment into our visitor facilities – such as the bar, café, gift shop, amphitheatre, playground, gardens and walking trails – have all helped to drive visitation, and all of the revenue generated as a result goes back into feeding and caring for the rescued animals at the sanctuary.
- We also operate a tiered entry fee scheme so that those on a lower income can visit us – the majority of Malawians can’t afford to visit wildlife in their own national parks.
- The existence of such a visible and popular tourist attraction within prime urban development territory has undoubtedly contributed to the protection of this beautiful 180-hectare wildlife reserve – one of the last examples of acacia combretum woodland in the region and itself an important area of urban biodiversity that is home to abundant wildlife.
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 only two African sanctuaries deemed by GFAS to have high enough welfare standards for a global award. In addition to support from Stichting AAP, the Born Free Foundation and the Olsen Animal Trust, the Centre’s financial stability is due to the responsible tourism model adopted.