flag Malawi Malawi: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organising Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources

 

Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
Malawi Department of Immigration
For Further Information
Diplomatic Missions of Malawi
 
Check IATA Travel Website for visa requirements and health advices.
 

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Organising Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
In Malawi, the volume of traffic is low and most people drive reasonably slowly. There are several car rental companies, however it has to be noted that many car rentals in Southern Africa do not allow to travel to Malawi with their cars. The country has a zero-tolerance rule concerning alcohol, meaning that a driver must not consume any alcohol at all.
Taxis are available in every city, whether licensed or not, and prices often have to be bargained.
The cheapest way to get around towns is by minibus, though they are often slow as they stop many times along the road.
Maps of Urban Networks
Lilongwe map
Blantyre map

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Lilongwe International Airport (LLW) 21 km/13 Miles MWK 2200/USD 15 - 20 mins No offical bus lines but hotels operate courtesy shuttle services / Local buses and minibuses run from the commercial part of the airport (200m from the terminal) to the Old Town. Cost: MWK 150 n/a Available
Blantyre Chileka International (BLZ) 16 km/10 Miles MWK 1500/USD 10 - 15 min Local buses from Blantyre to Chikela village pass by the airport gate. Cost MWK 50 n/a Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
The buses network is good and inexpensive, and it covers the whole country. Small mini-buses offer local journeys (on a fill-up-and-go basis) while larger coaches cover the longer distance routes. In rural areas, the frequency of buses and minibuses drops considerably.
The train network is not well developed, with the Central Eastern African Railways operating only three routes: Limbe–Balaka via Blantyre, Balaka–Nayuchi via Liwonde and Limbe–Makhanga. However, trains in Malawi are slow and unreliable, so buses and minibuses are a better option.
The vessel Ilala (620 tonne that can carry 400 passengers) travels the length of Lake Malawi (365km) once a week, and passengers can board or drop at various locations.

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Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Malawian Airlines National Yes Yes

You Can Consult The EU Air Safety List. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Travelling By Yourself

Recommendation
In Malawi, vehicles on the left side. Though national driving licences are often accepted if a photograph is included, it is formally required to have an international driving licence. The general quality of roads is good by African standards, with the majority of main roads being paved. However, potholes can occur on any road so it is recommended to adjust speed accordingly. Driving at night is to be avoided and often animals are present on roads. Petrol is widely available but it is still better to fill the tank when possible to avoid any risk. On-the-spot fines can be collected by uniformed police.
Road Maps
Detailed Map of Malawi
Malawi's Main Road Network
Find an Itinerary
Via Michelin Malawi Road Map
Ezilon Malawi Road Network Map

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Visiting

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
The Chongoni Rock Art Area was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006 and consists of 127 sites in the Malawi plateau with depictions of rock art and paintings of the farmer community of the Late Stone Age and the Iron Age period.
Cultural
Malawi offers several cultural attractions. The main museums are the Chichiri Museum in Blantyre (also known as Museum of Malawi), the Cultural & Museum Centre in Karonga, the Lake Malawi Museum
Kungoni Centre of Culture and Art in the Dedza district.
Nature
Malawi's nature is the main attraction for many tourists that visit the country each year. Some of the major attractions include Lake Malawi, Mulanje Mountain and Zomba Plateau. National parks in the country include Kasungu National Park, Liwonde National Park, and Nyika National Park.
Religious
Malawi is a country with a mix of religions, where Christians are the majority, followed by Muslims and some Hindus. Among the main religious sites, there are the St. Michael's and All Angels Church in Blantyre, the Shree Satyanarayan Hindu Temple also in Blantyre, the Al Madinah Mosque in Mpingwe and the Limbe Cathedral of our Lady of Wisdom.
Thermal
Malawi is not rich in mineral and thermal water, however the country has some hot springs, like the Kawira ones.
Beach
Although totally landlocked, Malawi has several lakes whose beaches became renowned tourist attractions. The most famous are the Chitimba beach, Cape Maclear, Monkey beach and Nkhata Bay.
Winter Sports
The climate of Malawi is not suitable for winter sports.
Outdoor Activities
Malawi can offer a wide array of outdoor activities, including rock climbing in the Mulanje Massif, trekking in the Nyika Plateau and the Viphya Highlands, horseriding in most national parks and fishing (lake Malawi alone has more than 400 species of fish). Kayaking, sailing and boat trips are also gaining popolarity.
Shopping
Malawi has several shopping centres, including the Four Seasons Centre in Lilongwe, the Mandala House in Blantyre (which displays contemporary work by local artists, sculptures, old maps and prints, and carved wooden thrones), the Katundu workshop in Likoma Island (where single mothers and orphans handcraft a range of items such as cushion covers, throws, table runners, art and accessories using local materials).
Tourism Organisations
Malawi Tourism

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
There are no specific vaccination requirements to enter Malawi (except for vaccine against yellow fever which is required from travellers over one year of age arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission and travellers who have transited more than twelve hours through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission). Nevertheless, WHO and foreign ministries of various countries recommend the following vaccines before entering the country: Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Malaria and Rabies.
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
CDC - Health Information for Travelers to Malawi
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
U.S. Department of State - Malawi Travel Information
Government of Canada/ Malawi Travel Advice
OSAC - Malawi Crime and Safety Report
 

Emergency Numbers

Police 997
Fire 999
Medica 998
 

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Lilongwe (GMT+2)
Summer Time Period
There are no Daylight Saving Time clock changes in Malawi.
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
Malawi is located south of the equator and is a mostly hilly and mountainous country. It has a tropical climate (or sub-tropical at high altitudes), with a hot and rainy season from mid-November to April, and a relatively cool, dry winter season from mid-May to mid-August. In most of the country, annual precipitation is generally between 800 and 1,300 millimetres, and it is generally more abundant in the north. The far south of the country is a flat region, hot and humid due to the low altitude. Temperatures are higher before the rainy season from September to November.
For Further Information
Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

Climate

 

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Eating

Food Specialties
Malawian cuisine is relatively free from foreign influences and hence is really traditional. Moreover, in most cases ingredients used are produced by the cooks themselves (especially outside big cities).
Dishes are normally based on carbs, while the country's specialty is fish from Lake Malawi. Other typical dishes include: nsima (thick staple from maize flour), ndivo (sauce or stew prepared with vegetables or meat), dwizala (fried grasshopper), nthochi (bread made from mashed banana) and several fish plates (like utipa or chambo).
Drinks
Among the main traditional drinks of Malawi, we can list mawehu (a non-alcoholic drink made from maize meal), chibuku (a beer made from fermented maize served in milk cartons, with the consistency of porridge), thobwa (a fermented drink made from white maize and millet or sorghum) and kuche-kuche (a light beer).
Dietary Restrictions
Muslims  normally do not eat pork meat (unless it is “halal”, which means it is permissible or lawful in traditional Islamic law) nor drink alcohol.

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Paying

Domestic Currency
Malawi Kwacha
ISO Code
MWK
To Obtain Domestic Currency
Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change, and authorised hotels; however, rates tend to be unfavourable. It is possible to withdraw Kwacha from ATMs, which normally accept Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus and Maestro cards and can be found in most cities and towns. ATMs dispense a maximum of MKW 40,000 per withdrawal, but cards are allowed a maximum of three withdrawals in a row, thus making MKW 120,000.
Possible Means of Payment
Visa cards are accepted at some but not all of the big hotels, high-end lodges and top-end restaurants. Where they are accepted, a 5%-10% surcharge is often added to the bill. MasterCard is less commonly accepted.

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Speaking

Official Language
English and Chichewa
Other Languages Spoken
Chinyanja, Chiyao, Chitumbuka, Chisena, Chilomwe, Chitonga
Business Language
English
Getting Some Knowledge
Please visit the website of Omniglot for an introduction to the Chichewa language.
Free Translation Tools
Dictionary Online :

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Useful Resources

To Find an Apartment
Nyumba24
My Property Malawi
Watt Consult

To Find a Job
Careers24 Malawi
Glassdoor Malawi
Job Search Malawi

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Latest Update: November 2022