Malawi Travel Tips (All You Need to Know Before Travelling to Malawi)
Malawi Travel Tips – Malawi is a good tourist destination on the African continent situated in the south eastern region of the continent bordering Tanzania and Mozambique, Malawi is a landlocked country and regardless the country is a very wonderful safari destination to visit. The country consists of numerous safari destinations which you will enjoy visiting while on your safari, before travelling to Malawi for a safari, here are a few things you should know before and while visiting Malawi.
Getting to Malawi Travel Tips
Getting to Malawi by international travelers is done majorly using international flights which land at the Kamuzu international airport, unfortunately there are no direct flights to Malawi and the best option to use are connecting flights to get to Malawi.
Transportation within Malawi
While on a safari in Malawi you are expected to travel to various destinations situated in different regions of the country therefore you need to get a perfect system of transportation to use, in Malawi both private and public transport means are available.
In Malawi, private cars can be rented from various car rental dealers, while renting a car it’s best to hire a 4X4 wheel vehicle which can withstand the muddy conditions of the roads leading to various safari destinations most especially during the wet season.
Malawi has a very good public transportation system which can lead you to various safari destinations of Malawi, public transportation includes taxis and buses which are available at an affordable price.
When travelling to destinations situated near water bodies, water vessels such as a ferry like Ilala ferry are available to take you to various Malawi destinations.
Food in Malawi
Malawi is well known for a variety of dishes prepared using ingredients harvested straight from gardens, as a traveler you can get an opportunity to taste various Malawi dishes from the restaurants and various food spots along the street.
Malawians staple food is the NSIMA which is prepared like porridge and made from either Maize and cassava and can be saved with other dishes.
Communication within the country
In Malawi, communication is easy. English is widely spoken in Malawi by the locals so when going to Malawi for a safari it is advisable to learn some basic English for easy communication with the locals, also get yourself a local sim card for easy communication with your friends and family members. There are different service providers with strong signals so as a traveler you shouldn’t worry about signals evening remote areas of Malawi.
For more effective communication, you will need a tour guide who can help you with translations.
There are over 16 local languages spoken in Malawi and the Chichewa language is the most used language among the locals and it is almost by everyone in the country, also to help you with learning this language there are pamphlets which can help you teach this language at ease.
Safety in Malawi
Malawi is a very safe country to visit, Malawi has tight security which is offered by the numerous government security bodies. Although the security is tight in Malawi, as a traveler you are advised to be extra careful with your valuable possessions as you might fall victim to pick pocketing and also avoid walking in crowded and dark areas.
Health safety in Malawi
Similar to other tropical countries, the risk of malaria is high in Malawi. On that point. There are several vaccinations you are required to take before traveling and given access to Malawi, these vaccines include
- Malaria vaccines and tablets
- Bilharzia vaccines or tablets
- Yellow fever vaccine
- Polio and
- Diphtheria vaccines
Getting the Malawian tourist Visa
Tourist Visa in Malawi is obtained from a Malawian Embassy in your home country or at the international airport in Malawi upon arrival, a visa in Malawi costs 70 dollars. Before you purchase the visa, it advisable to check if you need a visa to visit Malawi depending on the country of origin, when purchasing the Visa, it is necessary to be clear with the number of days you are to spend on a safari in Malawi to avoid inconveniences and falling on the wrong side of the law.
Note: South African Citizens do not require a Visa to visit Malawi, you are only required to have a valid passport.
Malawi Travel Tips – What you need to pack before heading out to Malawi
Just like an African safari to any other African country, there is a list of essentials to pack while traveling to Malawi for a safari. Some of the essentials include
- Hiking/trekking shoes
- A torch
- Both warm and light clothes
- Loose change
- Any form of medication prescribed by your doctor
- Insect repellents
- Camera among others
Malawi Travel Tips – Where to stay in Malawi
In Malawi there are numerous accommodation facilities catering for travelers visiting Malawi, these accommodations established include safari lodges, hotels, tented camps and camping sites and they are categorized as budget accommodations, midrange accommodations and luxury accommodations.
When choosing accommodation in Malawi it is best to choose a facility best fit in your budget and it is advised to book in advance most especially during peak season to avoid inconveniences.
Best Time to Travel to Malawi (Climate of Malawi)
The best time to travel to Malawi is during the dry or winter season experienced from April or May to the end of October or November, in this period the rain is minimal, temperatures are pleasant during day, the vegetation cover is low and availability of water in the national parks and reserve re limited offering clear views of wildlife.
The dry or winter season is best time to travel to Malawi for game viewing and the best time to travel to Malawi for bird watching is from November to April, November is the hottest month in Malawi with highest temperatures of approximately 20’s mostly during day. In the highlands of Malawi such as Viphya, Zombas and Nyika, the nights are usually very cold and areas of the lower Shire Valley lieing in the lowest altitude are warm throughout the year.
The dry season, rainfall is very rare and even in wet seasons. Rain pours are regular with brief storms
Health and Safety
As a traveler travelling to Malawi for a safari, there are recommended vaccines you should take before leaving for Malawi, these include Polio, Tetanus, Yellow fever and Malaria prophylactics. Before travelling to Malawi, you are advised to visit your medical specialist for health advice. There is a risk of contracting bilharzia in water bodies such as Lake Malawi and AIDS is a high risk in Malawi.
On the matter of purpose, Malawi is regarded as a safe destination for both locals and international travelers, while in Malawi as a foreign traveler you are advised to take precaution.
Food and Drink
Malawi offers splendid and mouthwatering dishes ranging from fish dishes around Lake Malawi, western cuisines and local cuisines such as Maize-meal porridge served in numerous hotels, safari lodges and tented camps. Food in Malawi is accompanied by soft drinks and alcoholic drinks. Some of the popular beers in Malawi include Carlsberg, Spirits like Malawi gin and South African tasty wines which are available in most spots in Malawi.
Way of dressing
As a traveler visiting Malawi you should know that the accepted dressing code is formal dressing, swim wears and very skimpy clothing should be limited only to the beach, while on a safari in Malawi’s national parks, refrain from bright colors such as orange, yellow and opt for natural colors such as green, grey.
It is usually cold in the evening hours during the winter months of April to September and early in the morning specifically during game drive which requires you to carry warm clothing.
Currency used in Malawi is referred to as the Kwacha, kwacha is shortened as MK internationally and K locally, currency exchange in Malawi is offered to many banks within Malawi’s major cities and towns. In addition to banks there are also mobile banks operating along the shores of lakes such as Lake Malawi and remote areas of the country.
In Malawi, travelers’ cheques and foreign hard currency notes are accepted, there are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency carried by a traveler while entering Malawi though you are required to declare it and well accounted for while leaving Malawi. MK 3000 of the local currency is accepted for export and local currency is restricted to the equivalent of US$140, GB£85 and Euro110 depending on exchange rate within the duration of 24 hours.
Currency in Malawi can be got from numerous ATMs operating in cities like Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Blantyre and many more operating on a 24-hour basis.
Note: while in Malawi it is advised to stay away from currency traders operating on the black market.