Malawi’s Leading Eco Active Travel Company

VISA

In October 2015, Malawi introduced new visa requirements to include nationals of those countries where Malawian’s are required to pay for visas. Please see the tables below to check which nationalities require a visa and for contacts for Malawi’s Diplomatic Missions around the world.

Visas for the majority of nationalities can be obtained on arrival in Malawi (excluding those specified below as having to obtain them in advance). (Note: due to Coronavirus, Visa on Arrival was suspended as from 26 March 2020)

In November 2019, Malawi also launched an e-visa system enabling travellers to not only to register and fill in documents but also attach supporting documents and pay visa fees in advance, thereby streamlining and automating the visa process in advance of arrival. To apply for e-visa visit https://www.evisa.gov.mw/

In January 2020 the cost of a single-entry visa to Malawi was reduced from US$75 to US$50.

If preferred, visas can still be obtained in advance of travel from any Malawi Diplomatic Mission , who will ask for a completed application form (click here to download) and the requirements listed below, plus the requisite visa fee. If choosing to obtain a visa on arrival, to save time it is preferable to take the completed application form. In practice, the items listed below are not all requested, though the visa fee is payable in US$ cash.

  • Valid passport for not less than six months
  • Two passport photos
  • Covering letter (giving full details of the planned trip and written by the travellers themselves or by their tour operator if one has been used)
  • Invitation letter (excludes tourists)
  • Air ticket/Itinerary
  • Confirmed Hotel booking
  • Three months latest bank statements

For more information see our provided links to various organizations above.

 

LAND

Malawi is a long, narrow country situated in the southern part of the Rift Valley lying between 9 and 17 degrees south of the equator. It covers 118,000 sq Km, of which a fifth is taken up by Lake Malawi (Lake Nyasa). It is land-locked and surrounded by Mozambique to the east, south, and south-west, Zambia to the west, and Tanzania to the north. Lake Malawi is Africa’s third-largest and the world’s ninth-largest.

Besides the lake, Malawi offers visitors five national parks and several smaller game parks, modern and comfortable hotels, varied recreation facilities, and magnificent scenery which include a high mountain plateau throughout the country.

 

REGIONS

The country is divided into three regions. South – hilly and densely populated, Central – Combination of plainly and mountainous terrains. North – Mountainous and sparsely populated. The main commercial and industrial city of Blantyre is in the south, the capital city of Lilongwe in the central region, and Mzuzu, which serves as the administrative and commercial headquarters of the north.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Bus services are available throughout Malawi. There are several luxury coaches and express buses plying the roads. Minibusses and local buses, serving those who need to travel economically go to almost every destination in Malawi.

 

 

ELECTRICITY SUPPLY

The electrical supply is based on the 220/240 volts system and the three-pin plugs are used for the British “square bayonet” pin type, not the round pin South Africa type. Special adaptors are needed for the rounded two-pin plugs which are readily available.

CLIMATE

There are three seasons: the cool, dry period from May to August, is followed by hot weather (very hot in low lying regions) during which humidity builds up until November/December; the peak of the rains around the turn of the year and continue intermittently until April. Rainfall varies countrywide from 600mm to 3000mm per annum.

DRESS CODE

You may dress as you please. It should be noted that revealing female attire, including shorts, may offend some, especially in rural areas. Female visitors who may wish to travel in this type of clothing, suitable for holiday resorts, are advised to carry a simple wrap when they go into public places. It is legal to move around nude even at holiday resorts. A “Chitenje” can be found at all local markets.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY

Photographs should not be taken in the vicinity of airports, police or defense installations of airports, radio transmitters, or near any of the state residences. If in doubt, always ask for permission to take photographs.

TRANSPORT ROADS

The Malawi main road network totals 1,200km. The M1 two-lane tarred highway runs from Nsanje in the south to Karonga in the north. While many rural roads, most of which are under construction now, are not tarred, they do provide vehicle access to most parts of the country, especially during the season. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for the many roads as is the case in the UK and in southern Africa. The use of safety belts is mandatory. There are several car rental agencies including Avis

AIR TRAVEL

Malawi’s main international airport is Kamuzu, situated 23km outside the city of Lilongwe. It is regarded as one of the cleanest and most efficient of Africa’s airports. Domestically, Malawi Airlines flies between the cities of Lilongwe and Blantyre daily. Major air links exist between Malawi, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, Uganda, Ethiopia, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Stockholm, Frankfurt, and the United Kingdom

 

HOTELS

Malawi’s major cities and larger towns have hotels, resorts, inns, lodges, and rest houses available for visitors.

 

COMMUNICATION

Malawi offers fixed-ground telephones through Malawi Telecommunications Limited and cellular (mobile) phone services through Airtel Malawi, TNM (Telekom Networks Malawi), and Access Communications Limited. Internet cafes are found throughout the major towns and cities. GPRS (Packet Switching) communication services are provided by cellular phone operators. There are Wi-Fi spots at airports, hotels, and other popular areas.

 

PEOPLE

The population of Malawi is estimated at over 19 million with a growth rate of 3.7% per annum. Less than one percent of the population is non-African and this group, made up of Asians and Europeans, live mainly in the urban areas of Blantyre, Lilongwe, and Mzuzu.

 

CUSTOMS

A duty-free import is permitted for the following items provided they are declared and carried in the passenger accompanied baggage;

200 cigarettes or 250gm of tobacco in any form, 1-quart spirits, 1-litre beer, and 1 quart of wine. This concession does not apply to those under 18. Visitors are allowed to bring in the country a reasonable amount of consumable goods to meet their immediate needs while traveling within Malawi.

 

TOPOGRAPHY

The topography is immensely varied and constitutes the catchment areas of the Shire river, which flows Lake Malawi to the Zambezi River. From Sea level, mountains range up to 3000m. The principal cities lie at elevations between 1000m and 1500m

 

RAILWAY

Malawi has a commercially important rail network but it is not geared for tourist travel yet.

 

ECONOMY

About 80% of the population works in the subsistence sector, engaged mainly in smallholder farming, including the cultivation of cash crops. The rest of the economy is also agro-based, principally the processing of tobacco, tea, coffee, and sugar.

Smallholders raise cassava, maize, pulses, cotton, groundnuts, rice, fish, and livestock. The main export crops are tobacco, tea, and sugar. Other economic developments consist mainly of infrastructure and import-substitute products and secondary manufacturing for export. Banking, insurance, and other financial service industries are efficient and well developed. Tourism is rapidly becoming a major foreign exchange earner

 

CURRENCY

Malawi’s unit of currency is the kwacha (abbreviated to MK internationally; K locally). The Kwacha divides into tambala. Practically speaking, only kwacha is used. Banks in the towns open weekdays 08:00 to 15:00/16:30 as well as Saturday mornings. Mobile banks operate along the lakeshore and in more areas (check days/times locally). Travelers’ cheques or foreign (hard) currency notes are widely accepted. If using dollars to pay for your tours and accommodation, please be aware that $1 bills will not be accepted or exchanged; the minimum domination to be changed is $5.

 

TIME

Malawi’s GMT is +2 hours

 

HEALTH

Malawi is a malarial area, it is essential for the visitors to take precautions. According to the British National Most anti-Malaria, precaution medication should be taken as a prophylactic from two days before travel, throughout the visit, and for one week after leaving. To avoid bilharzia visitors should avoid swimming in still water or on the shores of Lake Malawi away from the sandy beaches and tourist resorts.