Named as one of the top 10 places to travel to in 2014 by Lonely Planet, Malawi is not a popular travel destination. Known as the “Warm Heart of Africa” and “The Land of the Smiles” (due to the friendly nature of the locals), this African country is home to Lake Malawi, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Majete Wildlife Reserve, a reserve where the Big Five (rhino, elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo) can be found. This Malawi travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
Fast Facts about Malawi Travel
- Malawi power voltage is 230V 50Hz; Plug G
- The Malawi currency is the Malawian kwacha and is around 540 MWK to 1 USD
- Visas to enter Malawi are not required by citizens of the USA, all Commonwealth countries and most European countries (except Switzerland). For those nationalities that do require visas, these cannot be obtained on arrival but must be obtained in advance from any Malawi embassy or consulate.
- Be wary of anyone asking for a ride, claiming to be a tour guide or offering you food or drink. There have been reports of people being robbed after their food/drink were drugged.
- Beware of Chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. This outbreak continues to affect parts Africa. Symptoms can take up to 12 days to appear, but usually begin within 3-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms generally include fever and joint pain; other symptoms can include fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, and rash.
- The water is not potable; drink only bottled water.
Top Packing Tips
Malawi's climate is generally tropical. A rainy season runs from November to April. There is little to no rainfall throughout much of the country from May to October.
- Waterproof bag – the bag has two functions, protecting your stuff from the rain and also from the dust, especially if you're travelling to drier regions.
- Anti-Malarials – prevention is better than the cure, so stock up!
- Footwear – especially important if going you are heading on a safari! Pack a pair of lightweight, durable, waterproof and comfortable shoes and also a pair of flip-flops or sandals that you can change into after a long day of sightseeing.
- Protection from the elements – pack sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and bug-spray to prevent getting bitten by a mosquito (that might have malaria!).
- Layers – pack the basic tropical clothes and make sure to include long pants and long sleeves to protect your skin from the sun and also those pesky mosquitos!