Lilongwe’s airport is a funny thing. You’ll need to wend your way through myriad labrynthine hallways, go up and down staircases, pass through abandoned seating areas…but eventually, you’ll make it to the Ndege Lounge, which is nothing if not a small oasis of comfort. If you arrived at the airport early, its more or less worth it to go ahead and check out the lounge if you can, if only for its spacious seating and comfortable chairs. For our full Ndege Lounge Review – Lilongwe (LLW), read on!
Our Trip – Ndege Lounge Review – Lilongwe (LLW)
We were in Bangui, Central African Republic, doing our best to make it to the nearby capital city of Chad, n’Djamena. Unfortunately, the (relatively) cheap flights melted away and we were left with the option of spending a LOT of money, or redeeming two awards to make the trip (since BGF and NDJ are not served by a single alliance.) To make the best of the situation, we thew Malawi in the middle – and ended up spending a delightful three weeks there before continuing on to Chad.
The Facts – Ndege Lounge Review – Lilongwe (LLW)
The cold, hard truth: no card is going to get you into the lounge. Sorry, Priority Pass holding elite. You’ll entire need to be flying business class on your airline, or you need to pay cash. When we visited, the rate was about $20-25 dollars. Whether or not it’s worth quite that much is something only you can decide for yourself. Please, read this review and then follow your heart.
The Space – Ndege Lounge Review – Lilongwe (LLW)
The lounge has this going for them: they’ve got a lot of space. A lot. Chairs are spread out, there aren’t too many people around: this is genuinely comfortable, and it woudl be no great hardship on your backside to sit here for a few hours in case of a delay. Really, we loved it the whole relaxed atmosphere the space brought. The lighting is largely natural, too, which we really appreciated.
For those who prefer to sit or work at a bar, they’ve got this set up for you. Not the best, but it’ll do.
Ehhhhh, we’ll be honest. The food in the buffet isn’t great, and we mostly stuck to the packaged snacks. If you can, try to eat before you come. The potato chip selection will keep you flavored, but its not going to fill you up. Everything else that was on display was a little sad and soggy. If you’re famished, though, you won’t mind, maybe.
If you have more time, you can order something from the menu, which should be included in the lounge price. The quarter chicken seemed like a good bet to us, though it may not be quite up to Plaza Premium levels.
There are beers, soft drinks and the like, but the real star here is the boxed wine. On the one hand, I felt that the tannins left an unpleasant sensation on my palate at certain moments, but you cannot fault this lounge for their presentation, which more than makes up for a few sour grapes (and is way better than cheap dry lounges.)
For the barbarians amongst us, you can fill your cup with vodka, rum, whiskey, and other spirits. All in all, its actually a pretty decent showing.
There’s also a coffee machine next to the toast station.
Not fast, but decently functional! We were impressed and had no issues using it.
The Ndege Lounge won’t win any awards, but it’s not so bad, over all! Definitely worth a visit if you have access. Whether its worth paying for, though, is up to you.