Police: 997, Ambulance: 998, Fire: 999
Recommended For Further Information On Malawi
Lonely Planet Southern Africa
The below is a very basic guide. If you are heading to Malawi I highly recommend picking up a copy of Lonely Planet's; Southern Africa. It provides the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and what to skip. It also includes coverage of Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe...
Most visitors are granted a 30-day tourist visa free of charge on arrival; these can be renewed up to a maximum of 90 days, at a cost of 5,000 Malawi Kwacha per 30 days.
Yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Your passport should be valid for minimum period of 6 months on arrival in Malawi.
For official information visit your home government travel bureau.
More detail is to come in this section, but you can read about general advice regarding Getting Around When You Get There
Malawi doesn't have a tourism sector aimed specifically at backpackers, so you may struggle to find hostels. However hotels and guesthouses are relatively cheap, but vary in quality. Camping is also a viable option.
Read more about Accommodation When You Get There
Food And Health
Food hygiene and safety is improving, but isn't up to Western standards. Use your instincts; if the place looks dirty, don't eat there; if your food isn't piping hot, don't eat it.
Water is not safe to drink, so stick to bottled or boil.
10.8% of people in Malawi are living with HIV.
Outbreaks of gastric intestinal infections and cholera are also common, especially during the rainy season (December to March).
Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
Always contact your GP around 8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Visit here for Recommended Vaccinations and read here for more about Travelling Health In General
Weather & Time To Go
Many parts of Malawi are 1,000m above sea level, so the temperatures in these highlands are moderate. Temperatures along Lake Malawi are generally warm, but with a cooling breeze. The rainy season is usually between Mid-October and March. In June, July and August, the nights become a lot cooler, although the days are still warm and clear. Therefore the best months to visit are the ones just before or after the rainy season; April, May, September and Early October.
Internet is generally slow, but accessible in most towns, hotels and lodges. International calling cards are cheaply available in large towns.
Dangers And Considerations
Crime in Malawi is low, but you should take sensible precautions to protect yourself from muggers and bag-snatchers. Most thefts from visitors take place around the main bus stations in Lilongwe and Blantyre, and at the main ports for the Ilala ferry. Avoid walking around quiet areas, especially after dark. Take extra care in market areas and leave valuables and cash in a hotel safe.
Be cautious if over-friendly people approach you offering to act as guides, sell you goods, or who claim to know you and ask for a lift. Don’t accept food or drink from strangers, as it is likely to have been drugged.
Buying uncut precious stones is illegal.
Homosexual acts are illegal.
Carry a photocopy of your passport and visa at all times.
Dangers constantly change. Always check with your foreign office (British Foreign Office webpage) or travel advice bureau for the latest information regarding your destinations safety.
Outside the main tourist areas, women should cover legs and shoulders to avoid offending local sensitivities.
Malawi is one of the friendliest countries in Africa and many Malawians will rarely see white people, so will likely be very interested in you and ask you loads of questions.
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