Best Time to Travel/Climate
For most people the dry (winter) season is most attractive (i.e. April/May to October/November). The chance of rain is slim, daytime temperatures are generally pleasant (in the 20s Celsius) and the low vegetation and limited availability of water mean that game viewing is at its best. However, some of the best bird watching can be had from November to April and the orchids of Nyika are best seen from December to March/April. Malawi's temperatures are moderated by altitude. In the hottest month (usually November) maximum temperatures will be around 30°C. In the coldest month (probably July) maximum temperatures will be in the low 20’s. On the uplands (e.g. Zomba, Nyika and Viphya) it can be quite cold at night. The hottest area, all year, is that at the lowest altitude - the Lower Shire Valley. Rainfall is extremely rare in the dry season and even in the so-called wet season, the rains are usually short-lived storms, as is typical of the tropics, and at no time does the climate seriously inhibit the traveller. Around the country, rainfall varies, with the highlands causing the highest figures.
Malawi time is GMT+2, as with most of southern Africa.
New year’s day - Jan 1, John Chilembwe – Jan 15; Martyr’s Day - March 3; Labour day - May 1; Freedom Day - June 14; Independence Day - July 6; Mother’s day – 15 Oct; Christmas Day - Dec 25, Boxing Day – Dec 26. Also: Good Friday and Easter Sunday. If a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then the next Monday becomes a holiday. Muslim festivals may also be celebrated in some areas.
Supply is based on the 220/240 volts system, using "British type" square bayonet three-pin plugs.
All nationals from countries that require Malawian nationals to pay visa fees. These countries include but not limited to the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Schengen member states, Australia, New Zealand. Most Middle East countries.
Who is exempt?
1) Holders of PRPs, TEPs and student visas
2) Diplomats accredited to Malawi
3) All Diplomatic and service/official Passport holders on official business
4) Ordinary Passport holders coming for official government business
5) countries belonging to SADC and COMESA; with the exception of those countries that charge visa fees to Malawian nationals
|What will I need to make my application?
This will depend on which category you are applying for entry under. In all cases you will need to fill in an application form (download here ).
You will also need the following.
» Valid passport or travel document (for at least 6 months) ( ICAO passport photograph specification, on passport page).
» The visa fee. This can only be paid after approval. See visa fees page on this website .
» Supporting documents relevant to your application.
When was it implemented?
It has already been implemented beginning October 2015
What are the charges and in what currency?
Payment is to be made in US dollars even though an electronic payment system is at an advanced stage, the charges are as follows;
Transit visa (7 days) – US$50
Single entry visa (3 months) – US$75
Multiple entry visa (6 months) – US$150
Multiple entry visa (12 months) – US$250
Visas can be obtained at port of entry but we would highly recommend that guests arrange this prior to arrival wherever they can at the neatest Diplomatic Mission.
Visa application forms are available for download from the Malawi Immigration Website.
The telephone system is reasonably reliable, though mobiles can often be easier to get through to than landlines. Sim cards for local mobile phone networks are widely available and relatively cheap and easy to use. Most hotels and offices are readily reached by e-mail. The postal system tends to be slow.
TV & Radio
Television Malawi is the national TV station. FULL DSTV is also available.
Radio stations include; MBC, Capital radio, Joy radio, FM 101, Mij, Zodiac and Star.
Health & Safety
Before coming to Malawi check on immunization against polio, tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis A and anti-malaria medication and pack a reasonable first aid kit in case of small emergencies and upset stomachs. Bring any medication you use regularly, including contact lens fluid and insect repellent. Yellow fever immunisation may be required only by visitors entering from a yellow fever zone. There is a risk of contracting bilharzia if bathing in some parts of Lake Malawi but the risk is negligible near the main beach hotels. The infection is relatively easily treated once diagnosed. Malawi is also affected by AIDS like most African countries, care should be taken.
Always try to use licensed accommodation units and restaurants. Do not drink tap water in resort areas and keep bottled water with you and keep out of the midday sun.
Malawi is considered a safe country for tourists and Malawians are rightfully known for their friendliness. However, the usual precautions should be taken as would be advised for tourists anywhere.
What to wear
Though resorts and nature reserves are informal, it is good to keep in mind that Malawians are modest dressers. Therefore, visitors should respect local customs and traditions when visiting villages and markets. Swimwear and very skimpy clothing should be confined to the beach resorts. For safaris, "natural” colours should be worn in preference to light/bright colours. In the uplands, especially in the winter (April-September), it can be cold in the evening and sweaters may be needed. It can be very cold on morning or night safari drives.
Light long-sleeved shirts and trousers are recommended to keep the mosquitoes at bay in the evenings. Also remember to take a jersey in case of cool weather and late nights – especially in the cooler season or in highland areas. Don’t leave home without a hat, sun block and comfortable walking shoes.
Business meetings are obviously more formal and those coming in for both work and pleasure should keep it in mind.
Though Malawi has a reputation for being the friendliest country in Africa, visitors should still be cautious and take care. Be aware that urbanisation, poverty and changing social values have brought a rise in crime statistics. One should be careful and take the same precautions you would take in any other part of the world.
Many people, even in public areas, may object to being included in your photographs. To avoid any unpleasantness, do not insist on your right to take photographs in public places.
The Police, army and presidential security personnel are sensitive to cameras. You should avoid photographing personnel or installations that may have security associations.
Malawi uses the British three pin square plug and a 240 volt supply, so take adaptors and transformer if necessary.
Malawi’s unit of currency is the kwacha, divided into 100 tambala.
Foreign Exchange can be converted at branches of INDEbank, the Standard, National, First Merchant, NBS, MSB, Nedbank, and Eco banks and there are several licensed bureaux de change in Blantyre and Lilongwe and other towns. Credit cards are sometimes accepted in the large cities and around the Lake. However the use of both foreign exchange and credit cards can be difficult outside major centres.
Monday to Fridays 08.00 -15.00 hrs. Some banks now open up to 4:30pm. Most banks open on Saturday mornings. Most of the Hotels of International Standard offer money-changing facilities.
Markets, roadside vendors are popular. Attractive souvenirs are excellent wood carvings done by the locals.Traditional Chief’s chairs are popular.In the markets, bargaining is expected. Small supermarkets are found in towns and larger villages. Large supermarkets and European style shops are almost exclusively found in Blantyre and Lilongwe. Shops and offices open and close earlier in the day than is the custom in Europe or North America.
What else to take
Keep some reading material with you if you are not going to be near any of the big cities. Binoculars for birdwatchers. Swim fins and goggles, if you are thinking of swimming. Camera, charger and memory card. Also in case of power cuts take a torch
Useful Information and Emergency Numbers
Here you will find a directory of useful information for Malawi.
Malawi International telephone code
The international country calling code of Malawi is +265.
International Operator 102
National inquiries 191
Immigration Department 100
Make FREE internet calls with Skype
Malawi Emergency Telephone Numbers
Police : 997
Firemen : 999
Fire brigade Blantyre 01 871 999
Lilongwe 01 757 999
Police Blantyre 01 823 333
Lilongwe 01 753 333
Immigration Department Blantyre 01 823 777
Lilongwe 01 750 626
Malawi Mobile Telephone Codes/Operators
Airtel+ 265 (0) 9
Telekom Networks Malawi + 265 (0) 8
Access Communications +265 (0) 212
DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS IN MALAWI
Convention Drive, Lilongwe
Tel: 01 773 166 / 772 222
Tel: 01 633 896
Tel: 01 710 355
British High Commission
Convention Drive, Lilongwe
Tel: 01 772 400/ 550
Accord Centre, Limbe
Tel: 01 845 441
Convention Drive, Lilongwe
Tel: 01 773 611
Chilembwe House, Blantyre
Tel: 01 840 088 / 522
10/247 Tsoka Road, Lilongwe.
Tel: 01 794 657
Area 43, Off Ufulu Road
Tel: 01 794 522
Tel: 01 771 454 / 775 265
Convention Drive, Lilongwe
Tel: 01 772 555 / 64
Tel: 01 752 953
ADL House, Lilongwe
Plot No.14/191 (Petroda Glass House)
P. O. Box 30780, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
Tel: 01 773 529
Fax: 01 773 528
Area 43, Blantyre Street
Tel: 01 775 735
Tel: 01 641 376
Zambian High Commission
Convention Drive, Lilongwe.
Tel: 01 772 590 / 635