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About Malawi

Malawi is filled with friendly people, with a range of affordable activities and attractions for travelers to enjoy. Malawi backpacking tours offer a taste of laid back African charm with many highlights.

Malawi Budget Travel

Below is a list of Malawi's top destinations, click on the link to view all details and tours.

Kande Beach, Lake Malawi, Lilongwe, Senga Bay, Zomba Plateau

Fast Facts

Currency
Malawi Kwacha (MWK)

Dialing Code
265

AIDS

Malawi HIV/AIDS is a major health risk for many locals, with factors such as poor healthcare, lack of education, prostitution, poverty, tribal customs and inherited wives adding to the problem. Awareness campaigns are not strong enough, and very few locals can afford proper treatment and often transmit the disease due to lack of understanding about AIDS. Many professionals including teachers and doctors are dying of AIDS, causing problems in lack of skilled resources.

Airports

Malawi airports include: - Lilongwe International Airport - Blantyre International Airport

Birdlife

Malawi birdlife offers some beautiful habitats, with well over 600 species to be found across the plateaus, wetlands, lakes and surrounding forests and savannas. Lake Malawi offers a number of key birding areas, and Dzalanyama Forest Reserve is also a popular bird watching destination.

Conservation

Malawi conservation efforts are mostly based around the Wildlife Center in the capital, which rehabilitates orphaned and rescued wildlife ranging from a large number of primates, to leopard, lion and other species. The center also has a number of rare wild flowers and plant species as part of the nature reserve within the grounds.

Culture

Malawi cultures include the following: - Art dates back to ancient history - Food and cuisine plays an important role in social and family gatherings - Nightlife and entertainment is a popular pastime in all towns - Sports is also important in Malawi, especially soccer - Music and dance is an integral part of many ethnic groups' cultures

Customs

Malawi customs allows free import of the following for persons over 16 years of age: - 200 cigarettes or 225g of tobacco - 1 liter of spirits - 1 liter of beer - 1 liter of wine

Health

Malawi health facilities are generally poorly maintained, with only the most basic of equipment and medication available, and very few doctors. There are a number of health risks, ranging from malaria, to AIDS, tick bite fever, sleeping sickness and other lesser illnesses. It is best to take out health insurance, and ensure you are vaccinated before visiting Malawi.

Innoculations

The following Malawi inoculations are required: - Yellow Fever - Hepatitis A & B - Typhoid - Polio - Rabies

Languages

Malawi languages include: - English (official language) - Chichewa - Chiyawo - Chilomwe - Chitumbuka - Chitonga - Chisena

Malaria

Malawi malaria medication includes the following: - Mefloquine (Lariam) - Doxycycline - Atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone)

Money

Malawi money and banking information is as follows: - Banking hours are Monday to Friday from 08h00-14h00 - Travellers cheques can be exchanged at banks, hotels and other airport - Credit cards are accepted to some degree, but not at all vendors - It is easier to exchange Dollars, Euros, Pounds or South African Rands - There are a few ATMs in larger towns, not all accept foreign cards however

People

Malawi people include the following groups: - Chewa - Nyanja - Tumbuka - Yao - Lomwe - Sena - Tonga - Ngoni - Ngonde - Asian - European

Phrase

Malawi local phrases in Chichewa include: - Hello - Moni - How are you? - Muli bwanji? - I am fine - Ndiri bwino - Thank you - Zikomo - I am happy - Ndakondwa

Plants

Malawi plant life ranges from beautiful tropical vegetation to dry grasslands, with a number of medicinal and edible plants including aloe, herbs, banana and other fruit trees. Vegetation includes indigenous woodland and riverine vegetation, with key wetlands also found in and around the towns and villages. A number of rare plant species can be found in the reserves in the capital and surrounding areas.

Population

A 2008 UN estimate puts the population in Malawi at 13,931,831.

Religion

Malawi religion groups include: - Christianity - Islam - Judaism - Hinduism - Baha'ism - Traditional beliefs

Safety Tips

Malawi safety tips include the following: - Malawi is generally very safe to visit but travellers should take basic precautions to ensure a fuss-free holiday - Petty crime can sometimes occur in the large cities so keep valuables secure and out of sight - Avoid large crowds and street demonstrations which may turn violent - Be wary of market scams when buying curios, some ebony carvings can be wood painted with black shoe polish! - Be cautious when visiting game areas and do not try to touch or feed any wildlife you see

Transport

Malawi local transport includes: - Car - Bus - Taxi

Travel Books

Malawi recommended travel books include: - Malawi Bradt Travel Guide 4th Edition by Philip Briggs and Mary-Anne Bartlett - Lonely Planet Malawi by David Else - Spectrum Guide to Malawi by Kelly White - Shifting Boundaries: Social Security in the Urban Fringe of Lilongwe City, Malawi by Barbara Rohregger

Visa Requirements

Malawi visa requirements are as follows: - Most foreign nationals do not require a visa to enter Malawi - A valid passport of 6 months minimum is required - Copy of return tickets plus proof of sufficient funds is required - Length of stay granted in Lilongwe is generally 3 months (90 days) - Visa requirements can change at any time, consult your local embassy before travelling to Malawi

What To Buy

- Good, sturdy backpack plus a decent moneybag - First aid box filled with basic supplies - Lilongwe city guide plus a good map of the city - Plug adapter for UK and US visitors - Sleeping bag and camping mattress if you are on an overland tour

What To Pack

- Loose, lightweight clothing with long sleeves for mosquito protection - Long skirts and shirts covering shoulders for women - Warm jacket for colder days - Sunglasses, sunhat and sunscreen - Camera, batteries, spare film or memory card and binoculars

When To Go

- July is the coolest month of the year - The dry season runs from early May to late October - The best month is August, but this is also the busiest time as schools are on holiday during this month - The best months for birding are October and November, however this is also the hottest and wettest time - Roads are almost impassable during the wet season

Wildlife

With a number of reserves and game centers including Lilongwe Wildlife Center, Malawi wildlife includes a number of primates, lion, hyena, leopard and other species. There are also a number of insects in Malawi, including beautiful butterflies, plus a large number of lizards and other reptiles. Fresh water and salt water fish, including brightly coloured fish in Lake Malawi can also be found.

 

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11 Malawi OVERLAND recommended for you
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Left quoteThe highlight of my trip had to be Gweru in Zimbabwe, it was my idea of paradise. So much to do there with the animals and the location of it was just beautiful!Right quote

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Left quoteThe trip was great! A very relaxed ride in a mokoro, followed by camping in the Okavango Delta and watching the animals on the islands was awesome!Right quote

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JoJo E (61) from Switzerland

Left quoteFinally home and had a great time…. I loved the shark diving, Sossusvlei and Himba people. Saw Lions, a Leopard, Elephants, Giraffes, everything really! Thanks for…Right quote

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Left quoteI did not believe in god till i visited Chobe National Park.Right quote

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