• Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.- Mark Twain

TRAVEL ADVICE & FAQS MALAWI

Is Malawi a good family destination?

Malawi is an excellent family destination with warm safe waters for swimming and water activities and a variety of family friendly accommodation. As we have children ourselves, we can advise you on the best options for you and your family according to the ages and interests of your children.

What is the best way to travel around Malawi?

Regional links between Malawi and South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe are provided by Malawian Airlines and the various national airlines of those countries. All international flights have the option to land in either the capital Lilongwe or Blantyre. From there light aircraft flights link to most of the tourist destinations in the country as well as the main towns.

What highlights can I expect to see at different times of the year in Malawi ?

Malawi’s offering of seasonal natural highlights are extensive and a variety of interesting occurrences take place throughout the year. Here are a few of many interesting wildlife and botanical occurrences compiled by Wilderness Safaris.

January – March: Orchids bloom in Nyika National Park. During these months over 200 orchids bloom across the grasslands in Nyika National Park. In February particularly, many terrestrial orchids come into bloom across the valleys and they can be seen in patches across the plateau.

October – April: Green Season birding. Birding all year round is incredible in both Liwonde National Park and Nyika National Park with nearly 400 species occurring in both regions. The beginning of the rains (the green season) usually coincides with the arrival of many migrant birds who come back from the less hospitable climates north of the equator. The ideal time for spotting Nyika’s migrant birds is between February and March.

May – July: Crocodile courtship season (Liwonde National Park).The courtship process begins with males bellowing, bubble-blowing and fighting, thus establishing dominance. Males also swim with their head up for display purposes. The female usually mates with the most dominant male in the vicinity. Mating takes about 10 minutes and occurs in the water, usually in June and July. Two months later the female lays her eggs, which she buries underground (usually around 50 eggs) and guards by lying on top of the burying site, ferociously guarding them.

June-July: Elephants gather in herds of hundreds in Liwonde National Park .The elephant population in Liwonde National Park group together in the drier periods around a fixed water source (the Shire River) for water and for the more nutritious vegetation along the river’s edge. Sightings of larger elephant herds during these months are plentiful and often reach into the hundreds.

June-August: Lillian’s Lovebirds gather in flocks of hundreds in Liwonde National Park . Lillian’s Lovebirds congregate in large flocks of hundreds from June to August in Liwonde National Park. This is a phenomenon mainly due to the fact that the Candelabra Euphorbia are flowering, which provides a feast for the birds.

October-November: The regrouping of eland herds in Nyika National Park .The majestic eland is the world’s largest antelope. Smaller herds can be seen across the plateau throughout the year. During the months of October and November however, the eland herds start regrouping for the breeding season. The larger herds vary in size from 100 to 320 animals in one group

Can you tell me about my passport and visa requirements ?

International visitors require a valid passport together with onward travel documents. All passport holders should verify with their relevant consulate concerning visa entry requirements. If you are extending your journey to other countries, please establish entry requirements for those countries as well.

What is the weather like in Malawi ?

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 traveler.

Can I use my credit card ?

Visa and MasterCard are usually accepted throughout Malawi, but American Express and Diners Club are often not accepted.

What currency must I bring with ?

Malawi’s unit of currency is the kwacha (abbreviated to MK internationally; K locally). The kwacha divides into 100 tambala. Practically speaking, only the kwacha is used. Travellers Cheques or foreign currency in US dollars, Euros or British Pound notes are widely accepted.

What are Malawi’s banks opening hours ?

Banks in the towns are open weekdays from 0800 to 1300. Mobile banks operate along the lakeshore and in more remote areas (check days/times locally).

Can I use my electric hairdryer and shaver in Malawi ?

Supply is based on the 220/240 volts system, using “British type” square bayonet three-pin plugs. Various safari camps and lodges may not have 220 volts and may operate on solar powered 12-volt electricity. Remember to bring spare batteries to have charged at the lodge while out on safari or an activity.

Are there any health precautions I need to be aware of ?

Immunisation against polio, tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis A is recommended. Yellow fever immunisation may be required only by visitors entering from a yellow fever zone. There is a risk of malaria and prophylactics should be taken. Please consult your local doctor for up to date advice.

Do the local people speak English in Malawi ?

While English is an official language, and is widely understood, a number of indigenous languages are also spoken. The most common is Chewa (or Chichewa – the language of the Chewa). Here are a few Chichewa words and phrases:

Hello                       Moni                              
Goodbye                 Tsalani Bwino
How are you?          Muli bwanji?
What is your name? Dzina lanu ndani?
My name is …          Dzina langa ndi….
I come from….         Ndikuchokera ku….
How old are you?     Uli ndi zaka zingati?  (To child)
Excuse me              Zikomo
How much?            Mumagulitsa bwanji?
How much is this?  Bwanji ichi?
Thank you             Zikomo

How much should I tip my guide ?

If not included, it is customary to tip 10% to taxi drivers, waitresses, waiters, stewards and delivery persons. On safari, approximately US$ 10.00 – 25.00 per person per day, or more if service is above average ( see safari primer for more details )

Do you have any safety tips for me ?

Malawi is considered a safe country for tourists and Malawians are rightfully known for their friendliness. However, the usual common sense precautions should be taken in towns as would be advised for tourists anywhere.