Malawi - Friendly Hospitality

Malawi is a small landlocked country sandwhiched between Zambia and Mozambique with Tanzania in the North.

Malawi is renowned for the unequalled friendliness of its people and promoted as the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’. Lake Malawi lies along the Eastern border and is the third largest lake in Africa.

Lake Malawi is an main attraction for Travelers, with its beaches, resorts, watersports and outstanding variety of fish life a hotspot for divers and snorkellers.

 

Quick Reference

Currency: 1 Malawi Kwacha (MWK) = 100 tambalas
Capital: Lilongwe
Time: GMT +2
Main Languages: English and Chichewa
Climate: Hot with summer rainfall. Mild winters
Electricity: 220/240 volts, 50Hz. Three-pin, rectangular blade plugs

Currency

1 Malawi Kwacha (MWK) = 100 tambalas. The official currency is the Malawi Kwacha (MWK), which is divided into 100 tambalas. Travelers cheques and foreign currencies are accepted by banks, authorised hotels and other institutions in the main town centres; bureaux de change are also available. The US dollar is the easiest currency to exchange. Credit cards are not widely accepted and ATMs are scarce and should not be relied upon. Exchanging currency on the black market is not recommended.

Health

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for Travelers coming from an infected area. Malaria is prevalent all year round and advice should be sought on what prophylactics are best. There is a risk of bilharzia in certain parts of Lake Malawi, particularly where the water is shallow and stagnant - advice should be sought from local authorities. Immunisation against typhoid, hepatitis, tetanus, rabies and polio is recommended. Tsetse flies carrying sleeping sickness exist in some of the national parks. HIV/AIDS is highly prevalent. It is advisable to drink bottled water, which is widely available, as drinking water may not be safe especially in the rural areas. Hospitals are available in the large towns, but medical facilities are basic, immediate cash payment for medical services is often required, and some medicines may be in short supply; medical insurance is strongly advised.

Language

The national language is the widely spoken Chichewa but the official language, and that of the business community, is English.

Tipping

Service charges are not included in hotel and restaurant bills, and tipping is at the client's discretion. It is common practice to tip guides in the national parks.

Geography and Climate

The best time to travel to Malawi is during the winter months between May and October, which is the cool, dry season, most comfortable for game viewing. The weather during summer, November to April, is hot and humid. This is also the rainy season. Rain is heavier on the higher areas than around Lake Malawi, and some roads become impassable. The coolest months are June and July when daytime temperatures hover around 70ºF (21ºC), and nights can be very cold.

Religion

A large portion of the population are Protestant and Roman Catholic with a minority following indigenous beliefs and Islam. People enjoy freedom of religion.

Entry Requirements

All visitors must have a return or onward ticket and all documents necessary for return or onward journeys, as well as sufficient funds for their duration of stay.

Internal Transport

Travel within the country can be conducted by road on good tar surfaces between major centres. For acccess to wilderness areas. air charter flights are the most convenient, or, in the case of very remote sites, 4X4 vehicles.