I left Zambia with an extra adventurous and positive spirit. So instead of taking another expensive flight, I took the 13-hour bus ride for $28 to Lilongwe, Malawi! I paid $75 for the Malawi Tourist Visa with no other requirement but my Philippine passport. What a relief! But if you will arrive via the airport, I’m pretty sure you need to show other documents such as yellow fever vaccine, hotel booking, and onward flight ticket.
I have been traveling long enough, but I still crave for the thrill of unplanned adventures! I prefer crossing borders by land rather than flying, but flying is always faster and safer though! I decided to just “wing it” on how I can go from Zambia to Malawi though I didn’t have any idea on how to do it until I arrived in Zambia.
Solo traveling is always a beautiful experience for me because I meet people from all walks of life. In fact, during the bus journey, I met a lot of new friends! Where else can you see strangers sharing food the entire trip?? Ha! I even looked after a sweet baby while his mother was busy with the customs. He didn’t cry the entire trip! I’m pretty sure our baby (in the future!) is gonna be as adventurous as him! 🙂
Anyway, I am headed to the President Walmont Hotel where I will be staying. I didn’t know the directions, so I asked this lady for help, and she was so surprised she was like: ‘How come you’re staying at the only 5-star hotel in Lilongwe, and yet you took the bus to get here?!!’ Haha. It is so funny, and yes, I would also think it’s weird if I were in her place! :p This same lady ended up giving me a ride to the hotel. She is so thoughtful! By the way, Jonathan spent five years of his childhood living here in Malawi, and he said that the people here are incredibly nice. Now I can attest to that! 🙂
The Rooms in President Walmont Hotel
On May 1, 2015, The President Walmont Hotel officially opened its doors to the public. It is owned by the government and managed by Peermont Hotels, Casinos, and Resorts, a company based in South Africa. It is an award-winning hospitality and entertainment company which operates 13 properties located in South Africa, Botswana, and Malawi.
President Walmont Hotel stands majestically in the central business district of the capital city of Lilongwe in Malawi, which is the Umodzi Park. People who usually stay in the hotel are ambassadors, diplomats, NGO workers and volunteers and CEOs. In fact, I have met some people working for the World Bank and several NGOs who devote their time to help the underprivileged people in Malawi.
It is a massive hotel which comprises 130 rooms and suites, with 60 Classic King Rooms, 59 Classic Twin Rooms, a Special Assistance Room and 10 Presidential Suites, all with air-conditioning, 40-inch TV’s with local satellite channels, a writing desk, international plugs, wi-fi, a mini bar that is stocked on request and a tea and coffee station.
I arrived at the hotel at night, and a welcome drink is provided. The good thing is I don’t have to tell them about my details as they were already expecting me. The room that I stayed in has an exceptional view of the city and is very tidy. There’s an elaborate photo of two lovely women from Malawi, and it’s just so beautiful. I would love to see a photo like that on our sailboat! Another thing I love about this hotel is their turndown service, some hotels don’t have that, so I appreciate if they provide one. I also love the huge bathtub cos I used it to do my much-needed laundry!
The wifi isn’t working properly when I got there, but the good thing is by the time you’re reading this, they already have a Fiber Optics installed, so it’s going to be really fast!
Wine and Dine at The President Walmont Hotel
This luxurious hotel is home to the elegant Wild Orchid Restaurant. It serves local and international delicacies and a superb selection of wines.
I have tried the breakfast buffet, and I must say that they have good food selection. It varies from continental dishes as well as selected Chinese and Indian cuisine catering for all international guests. I wasn’t able to try the lunch buffet cos I’m always out of the hotel. Haha. One time, I have to leave at 6 AM for my trip, and I appreciate that the staff still made breakfast for me although the buffet starts at 7 AM. I even took some bread with me for my journey! 🙂
The dinner, however, is very elegant. I have tried the local fish called the ‘Chambo’ and a 600-gram t-bone steak. It is both on my eat list!
The first floor of the hotel is likewise the home to Afroma Terrace Bar which is overlooking the Umodzi Park precinct. They have a light snack menu, delicious cocktails and more.
Facilities and Amenities
Other facilities at the hotel include an outdoor swimming pool, spa, and wellness center and sauna. Guests can enjoy a game of tennis or a workout in the fitness center. So make sure to bring your proper attire!
To be honest, it’s not easy to go around Malawi via public transport. So it’s better if you’ll have your driver’s license handy!
Lake Malawi- I hired a private car with driver for $800 to go to Lake Malawi. I know it’s expensive, but it’s worth it! It has deep clear waters where hundred of fish species can be found. Almost all of them endemic. A visit to Malawi isn’t complete without seeing it!
Nature Sanctuary- This place is a little run-down. Nevertheless, the sanctuary is a lovely quiet retreat amongst the bustling city. And hey, these animals need every help they could get! Sometimes, there’s not a lot of animals to see because they release a lot of them back into the wild when they have been rehabilitated. So that’s good to know!
Lizulu Market- Wanna have a first-hand experience of how locals do their business? Then head on to this market!
St. Michael and All Angels Church– This huge church made of bricks is such a sight to behold. It is made in the 19th century by novice builders, and it’s really impressive how it stood still after all these years. Make sure to also see the historical graveyard nearby.
Mount Mulanje– Up for a hike? Then unlike me (haha!), this destination is for you! There are various routes with varying difficulties, but the scenic view just makes the climb worth all the hard work. Never go without a guide and a porter. Make sure to bring gloves, rain gear, stick, etc. Browse over TripAdvisor to get contacts for the guide.
FAQS: Frequently Asked Questions About President Walmont Hotel
1. How much does accommodation cost?
2. What is the check-in time and check-out time?
3 PM check in and check out time is 11 AM
3. Are pets allowed?
4. What are the closest landmarks?
The National Herbarium & Botanic Gardens of Malawi and the World War I & II Memorial Tower is more or less 1 kilometer away
5. How far is it from the airport?
Kamuzu Airport is 18.5 kilometers away 🙂
Note: I stayed in President Walmont Hotel as a guest. This review is based on my personal experience.
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