Malawi has two international airports: Kamuzu in Lilongwe (LLW), and Chileka in Blantyre (BLZ). Good connections exist between Malawi and regional hubs in Nairobi, Johannesburg, Addis Ababa and Lusaka. Depending on your arrival time you may have to overnight before catching a connecting flight to your first safari camp/hotel.
We would recommend booking your flights online in order to get the best rates. If you need any help or advice please let us know.
Domestic flights and transfers
Connecting between all the locations on your trip may necessitate a variety of modes: light aircraft charters, domestic commercial flights and road transfers. Please review the inclusions and exclusions on your specific trip page for details. If you need help understanding the best flights to book, please let us know.
From the moment that you land in Malawi you will be greeted and assisted to your onward connections. You will be looked after from that point on until you are transferred back to the airport in time for your departure flight.
Please consult your personal physician and/or a travel clinic preferably 6 weeks prior to your departure. Vaccine requirements vary based on your country of origin and your travel itinerary and your previous vaccination history. It is best to consult with your physician or the CDC website for guidelines.
Important vaccinations to consider and which may either be required or recommended are: Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A & B and Cholera, among others. Please always carry your "International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP)" (or "Yellow Card") with you.
We advise that you consult a medical practitioner at least six weeks prior to travel. Malaria is present in Malawi and it is strongly advisable to take malaria prophylactics before, during and after your visit. Please consult a medical professional regarding which prophylactics will be suitable for you.
In addition to the recommendations of your travel clinic or physician, you may also consider the following proactive preventative measures:
Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. Recommended repellents contain 20-35% DEET but it is a very virulent repellent, and should be used cautiously.
Wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants at dawn and dusk, as well as closed shoes.
Use a mosquito net if your tent or room isn't screened or air-conditioned; and spray insecticide or burn a mosquito coil before going to bed.
If you come down with flu-like symptoms either during or within four to six weeks after your visit to a malaria area, seek a doctor's advice immediately and let him/her know that you have been in a malaria area.
You can also visit www.malaria.org.za for more information.
There is no risk of Yellow Fever in Malawi; however, vaccination is required for travellers who are arriving from, or have transited through, countries with risk of Yellow Fever transmission (e.g. Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda or elsewhere worldwide). This requirement can change unexpectedly, therefore, we recommend carrying a Yellow Fever card with you at all times.
It is a condition of booking that you carry the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself, as well as any dependents/travelling companions for the duration of your trip. This insurance should include cover in respect of, but not limited to, the following eventualities:
a. Emergency evacuation expenses
b. Medical expenses
c. Repatriation expenses
a. Cancellation or curtailment of trip
b. Damage/theft/loss of personal luggage, money and goods
Malawi country code: +265
Calling overseas from Malawi:
From a landline dial 00 followed by the country code plus area code and number.
e.g. USA: 00 1 910 795 1048
When calling from a cell phone dial + prefix followed by the country code plus area code and number. e.g. USA: + 1 910 795 1048
As a general precaution, we recommend you make several copies of your travel-related documents (passport, traveller’s cheques, credit cards, itinerary, airline tickets, insurance cover, visas, etc). Leave one set at home, and bring another set with you, and place it in a location separate from your originals.
A valid passport, with at least six months to expiry date from intended exit date, is required to enter Malawi. If your passport is likely to expire you should get a new one before arriving. Passport holders of many countries require visas and the ability to obtain it on arrival varies depending on country of origin. Travellers from the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Schengen member states, Australia and New Zealand among others may all obtain visas on arrival for USD $75 (single entry visa). Exempt from this visa fee are countries belonging to SADC and COMESA; with the exception of those countries that charge visa fees to Malawian nationals.
Please inform yourself with the visa requirements of Malawi at least 6 weeks prior to travel. Additional information is available online at http://www.immigration.gov.mw/visa.html
Malawi’s official currency is the Malawian Kwacha (MWK). Visitors are only permitted to export MWK10, 000 on departure from Malawi so we recommend keeping your Kwacha to a minimum as it is very difficult to buy hard currency on departure. For current foreign exchange rates please visit the link http://www.natbank.co.mw/. A number of major banks accept Visa and MasterCard transactions through their ATM network across the country. Lodges, Hotels and Tour Operators accept credit cards; however, guests can expect to pay anything up to 8% in service fees when settling accounts using credit cards. It is advisable to have some cash for smaller shops and for tipping.
IMPORTANT: When bringing foreign currency (e.g. USD, GBP, EUR) into the country, be sure to bring new format with no damage or marks.
What to pack
In general, the seasons are divided into the cool and dry (May to Mid-August); the hot and dry (Mid-August to November); the rainy (November to April). However, the variety of altitudes in Malawi means that the temperatures and amount of rainfall varying considerable throughout the country. The ultra violet rays are very strong and high factor sun cream should be worn.
Standard clothing is acceptable in Malawi and dependent on the climate. Be sure to take sun cream because the sun gets very strong in the summer months.
When on safari, light layers of clothing in neutral safari colours of green, khaki and beige are the best items to bring with you, as well as a warmer jacket or fleece for the colder evenings. A hat is also a must have! Bright and dark colours like yellow, red and purple are discouraged, or sometimes not allowed (on a bush walk) on safari.
What to Pack
Layers - long and short sleeve shirts and trousers
A warm fleece or jumper
A lightweight waterproof jacket
Comfortable but sturdy shoes
A hat or baseball cap
Sunscreen – a must!
Toiletries – most camps will provide shampoo, shower gel and soap
A small torch
Spare batteries, plug adaptors and charging equipment
A good pair of Binoculars
Books or a fully loaded Kindle / iPad for siesta time
Camera Equipment (for the enthusiasts)
A telephoto lens (200/300mm)
Flash and fast film (400 ASA) for night photography
Lots of film (64,100,200,400 ASA) if you’re using an SLR cameras
Spare memory cards for digital cameras
Camera cleaning equipment and a good dust proof bag
Bring spare batteries as although you may recharge your batteries at the camps, charging capacity can be limited
Most camps and lodges will have a small medical and first aid kit, but we recommend bringing your own supply of essentials - cough medicine, plasters, vitamins, aspirin and paracetamol, and anything else you use on a regular basis.
Please check with your airlines for the specific luggage restrictions relevant to your flight schedule. Many international airlines have a baggage allowance of 20kgs or more per person and commercial airlines generally permit two (2) pieces of checked luggage per person. The carry-on bag must be of such dimensions and weight as set by the airlines.
Luggage Restrictions on Internal Flights
On safari, light aircraft flight luggage is strictly limited to one SOFT duffle bag and one small carry on. The combined weight must not exceed 20kgs/44lbs, unless otherwise noted in your personal itinerary.
Malawian electricity is 220/230 volts AC running at 50Hz. The plug type used is the square bayonet 3 pin style (like UK). Please remember that most of the more remote camps and lodges will not run off mains electricity but will use generators. This means that recharging batteries etc. may not always be possible. Please travel with spare batteries. Malawi does suffer from erratic power supplies and guests visiting the country can expect power load shedding and cuts to major cities which can last for several hours.
Gratuities are not compulsory or expected; rather it is an reward for excellent service. If you are pleased with the service you receive, you are more than welcome to tip your guide or the staff. Tipping is usually done at the end of your stay. You may tip the staff individually, give the tip to the manager to distribute or do both. Tips can be made in the local currency, USD, GBP or EUR.
Safari Camp lead guide: $10 - $15 per person per day
Transfer drivers (e.g. in cities or between airport and hotel/lodge): $2 per person per transfer
Porter: $1 per bag
Ranger or any “ancillary” guides on ad-hoc basis for a specific activity: $3 - $5 per person per activity
General Camp staff (put in a central box in each camp’s main area): $7 - $10 per person per day
Waitstaff in a city restaurant: 10%-15% (large group may incur automatic service charge, please check)