Malawi

Nestled between some of East Africa's blockbuster destinations is Malawi, a country small in geography but large in appeal. Malawi is full of contrasts, the most obvious being that it's a nation of fisherman - despite being landlocked - owing to the clear waters of Lake Malawi; it boasts verdant highlands and tropical forests, undulating valleys and exceptional game viewing within its national parks. Malawi is also home to some of the continent's friendliest folk, meaning it's a country well worth considering on your African agenda.

Malawi Tours & Travel

All our Malawi trips

DAYS
27
FROM
USD $3,910
CAD $4,320
AUD $4,580
EUR €3,200
GBP £2,340
NZD $4,970
ZAR R42,625
CHF FR3,280
Explore the wilds of Africa on this action-packed adventure from the busy streets of Nairobi to the sweeping plains...
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FROM
USD $2,060
CAD $2,315
AUD $2,435
EUR €1,660
GBP £1,260
NZD $2,670
ZAR R22,910
CHF FR1,710
Travel from thundering Victoria Falls to the fragrant spice plantations of Zanzibar through the wilds of Africa.
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USD $6,140
CAD $7,410
AUD $7,770
EUR €5,330
GBP £4,025
NZD $8,525
ZAR R73,070
CHF FR5,455
Explore Africa as you travel from Kenya to Cape Town through Tanzania, Zanzibar, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namabia...
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USD $1,680
CAD $1,840
AUD $1,972
EUR €1,364
GBP £1,008
NZD $2,116
ZAR R18,156
CHF FR1,396
Explore the best of south and east Africa with this adventure from the spicy beaches of Zanzibar to the unforgettable...
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USD $9,855
CAD $11,110
AUD $11,660
EUR €8,235
GBP £6,045
NZD $12,785
ZAR R109,620
CHF FR8,440
See Africa encompassed on a tour through Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, and...
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USD $4,500
CAD $5,270
AUD $5,530
EUR €3,905
GBP £2,865
NZD $6,065
ZAR R51,995
CHF FR4,000
See Africa on this incredible overland adventure from South Africa to Tanzania. Soak up cosmopolitan Cape Town, learn...
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USD $5,618
CAD $6,336
AUD $6,647
EUR €4,696
GBP £3,455
NZD $7,297
ZAR R62,543
CHF FR4,811
Explore Africa as you wind your way up from South Africa, through Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and...
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28
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USD $3,725
CAD $4,075
AUD $4,330
EUR €3,030
GBP £2,225
NZD $4,700
ZAR R40,330
CHF FR3,100
Experience the exhilarating wild of Africa as you travel from Victoria Falls through Harare, Bulawayo, Lake Malawi...
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64
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USD $9,790
CAD $11,035
AUD $11,580
EUR €8,185
GBP £6,005
NZD $12,705
ZAR R108,895
CHF FR8,375
Jump aboard this epic tour from Cape Town to Nairobi. From safaris in Tanzania and Kenya to gorilla trekking in...
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42
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USD $7,165
CAD $8,065
AUD $8,465
EUR €5,980
GBP £4,385
NZD $9,285
ZAR R79,610
CHF FR6,125
Take an epic East African adventure from Kenya to Zimbabwe. Safari in the Serengeti, go gorilla trekking, visit Lake...
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15
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USD $1,431
CAD $1,611
AUD $1,696
EUR €1,165
GBP £882
NZD $1,858
ZAR R15,952
CHF FR1,192
Embrace the sights, sounds and culture of Africa on this eye-opening adventure from Stone Town in Zanzibar to...
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39
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USD $3,472
CAD $4,064
AUD $4,268
EUR €3,016
GBP £2,212
NZD $4,680
ZAR R40,128
CHF FR3,088
Explore Africa on this wildlife-rich adventure from Tanzania to South Africa. Explore Zanzibar’s Spice Island, wander...
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USD $6,950
CAD $7,820
AUD $8,225
EUR €5,810
GBP £4,265
NZD $9,020
ZAR R77,330
CHF FR5,950
This East Africa adventure tour travels from Zimbabwe to Kenya. Visit Zanzibar beaches, explore the Serengeti and...
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16
FROM
USD $1,560
CAD $1,695
AUD $1,795
EUR €1,270
GBP £930
NZD $1,970
ZAR R16,880
CHF FR1,295
Spot a host wildlife at the Luangwa River, gape at the mighty Victoria Falls, explore Matobo and South Luwanga...

Articles on Malawi

Seven awesome beach-free summer breaks

Posted on Fri, 27 Mar 2015

Who needs sun and sand? We've got the perfect alternative.

Read more

About Malawi

At a glance

Capital city: Lilongwe (population 260,000)
Population: 14.9 million
Language: Chichewa, English
Currency: MWK
Time zone: (GMT+02:00) Harare, Pretoria
Electricity: Type G (Irish/British 3-pin)
Dialing code: +265

Best time to visit Malawi

The dry season from late April to October or November is the best time to visit Malawi. For wildlife viewing, late in the dry season is best as this is when animals converge at water holes, although the afternoons can be long and hot. The scenery is at its best from May to July when the weather is also less oppressive - although nights can be chilly and local wildlife harder to spot. The wet season runs from December to March and, while weather can be quite unpredictable, during this time the vegetation will be at its most lush.

Malawi weather chart

Geography and environment

Local life by Lake Malawi in Malawi
With Africa's third largest lake running almost the entire length of its eastern flank, visitors to Malawi often make a beeline to the idyllic shores of Lake Malawi and choose to explore no further. And, with pristine water that's ideal for all forms of water-based fun, it's easy to see why! But venture a little further afield and you'll discover much natural diversity and a changing terrain of lush forests and game parks, rugged mountains and fertile plateaux.

Top Picks

Swimming in Lake Malawi

Top 5 Active Pursuits in Malawi

1. Waterside Fun

Go swimming or try your hand at some water sports on the vast expanse of Lake Malawi.

2. Throw a Line In

Experience the daily routine of lake-dwelling fisherman firsthand by rising early to watch them fishing on the still lake at the break of day.

3. On Two Feet or Two Wheels

Hike or cycle around the fishing villages that pepper the shoreline of this magnificent landscape.

4. Underwater World

Strap on a snorkel or join a scuba diving excursion to experience the abundant underwater world that thrives beneath the calm surface of the lake.

5. Hit the Streets

Explore the bustling markets and city streets of the country's beating heart, Lilongwe.

FAQs on Malawi

MALAWI:

Australia: Yes - visa on arrival
Belgium: Yes - visa on arrival
Canada: Yes - visa on arrival
Germany: Yes - visa on arrival
Ireland: NO VISA REQUIRED
Netherlands: Yes - visa on arrival
New Zealand: Yes - visa on arrival
South Africa: NO VISA REQUIRED
Switzerland: Yes - visa on arrival
United Kingdom: Yes - visa on arrival
USA: Yes - visa on arrival

Effective 01 July 2015, the Government of Malawi has announced introduction of a USD75 "Entry Fee" applicable to visitors from any country which requires Malawian Citizens to acquire visas to visit their country of citizenship.

At present nationals of the following countries will need to pay the proposed USD75 entry fee: United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Schengen member states, Australia, New Zealand.

Some nationalities will be required to gain a visa prior to arrival. Please check with your nearest Malawi Embassy.
Tipping is generally left up to the discretion of the customer, however if the service in a cafe or restaurant is good, feel free to leave spare change or round up the bill. Many service workers in Malawi receive low wages, so tipping waiters, porters and drivers is considered generous.
Travellers will be able to access the internet at cyber cafes or hotels in Malawi's large cities and towns frequented by tourists. Expect little to no internet access in remote and rural areas.
Mobile phone coverage is generally available in Malawi's large cities and tourist towns. Rural and remote areas may have less network coverage. Remember to activate global roaming with your service provider before leaving home.
Mozambique has a mix of squat toilets and flushable toilets. As a developing nation, expect to adjust to different levels of sanitation. Always carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitiser as these are rarely provided.
Cup of coffee in a cafe = 210 MWK
Beer in a bar or restaurant = 140 MWK
Basic, takeaway lunch = 350 MWK
Dinner in an inexpensive restaurant = From 420 MWK
Tap water isn't considered safe for tourists to drink. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Ask your leader and accommodation provider for local advice on where drinking water can be accessed. Also, avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit before eating.
Credit cards are used in Malawi's major cities but on a limited basis. Large hotels, restaurants and tourist service providers usually accept credit cards, but expect smaller operators and shops to accept cash only.
ATMs are quite limited, but can be found in Malawi's major cities and areas frequented by tourists. If travelling through rural and remote areas, be aware that there will be limited or no access to ATMs.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Jan 15 Chilembwe Day
Mar 3 Martyrs' Day
April 6 Easter
May 1 Labour Day
Jun 14 Freedom Day
Jul 6 Republic Day
Aug 19 Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
Oct 8 Mothers' Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Boxing Day

Please note these dates are for 2012. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/malawi/public-holidays

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Malawi Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Malawi

1. Be considerate of Malawi’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with tap or filtered water.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

5. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

6. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

7. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
The Heaven ShopDeborah Ellis
The Boy Who Harnessed the WindWilliam Kamkwamba
Dark Star SafariPaul Theroux
To Africa with SpatulaJane Baker Lotter