Malawi is an up and coming destination, with some of the best culture, scenery and wildlife that Africa has to offer. It boasts the highest mountain in Central Africa, the third largest lake in the continent, and – most importantly – year-round warm weather. It’s also a unique country with a history of collaborating alongside others, such as the 156-year-old Scotland-Malawi partnership; the locals have a reputation of being some of the friendliest towards foreign visitors.
All of this, combined with affordable prices, means Malawi should be at the top of your travel bucket list. Before you go ahead and book a flight, however, make sure you’re fully aware of all you need to know about travelling to magical Malawi.
1. When to Visit
The first thing you’ll want to do when planning your visit is to determine the best time of year to go. Weather-wise, try to avoid the summer months when it’s too hot, humid and wet; these conditions are especially problematic because of the increase in mosquitos, and therefore the risk of malaria. May to October are considered Malawi’s winter months, and although some parts in the north can get chilly, you’ll still find plenty of sunshine and warmth across much of the country. We’re sure you’ll want to spot wildlife during your trip, and your best chances of doing this is also in winter, when the drier weather drives the animals towards the watering holes.
So now that you’ve narrowed down the dates you want to visit, you’ll need to check your passport. It must have at least six months’ validity at the time of departure in order to be granted entry into Malawi. The visa process depends on your country of origin, and some, such as Ireland, don’t even require a visa at this point in time. Thanks to the good relationship between Malawi and countries like America and the UK, it’s easy to secure a visa at the airport upon arrival. You can choose between single or multi-entry, depending on your travel plans for the next six or twelve months.
Before you finalise your plans, be sure to make an estimate of your total costs, including flights and accommodation. Malawi offers great value for money, and you might be surprised at how cheap this holiday destination is and how much luxury your money can buy you. One tip to help you save money is to look for your return tickets – which are required for entry into the country – on Skyscanner, Kayak or another price comparison site, to ensure you’re picking the best price options for your chosen dates. For hotels, check websites such as Booking.com or Hostelworld for price comparisons and the option to book refundable accommodations, which you can change or cancel for free until the very last minute, giving you more flexibility.
It is important to check government guidelines on travelling to Malawi before flying. Thankfully, Malawi is considered relatively safe; most governments just urge you to exercise caution and make common safety-conscious decisions, such as not going out alone at night. This tourist-friendly country has been dubbed the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ because of its welcoming locals. However, visitors should be aware that – as with most countries geared towards tourism – there will be pickpockets and other petty criminals operating, taking advantage of those who’ve been careless with their valuables. As with any travel, always remember to get insurance before departure, stay aware of your surroundings and take any necessary vaccines and precautions, so you can spend your time enjoying, rather than worrying about, your experience.
5. What to Do When There
Now that we’ve covered all the hard parts, it’s time to have some fun planning your activities for your trip. Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, it would be criminal not to allocate some spare time to exploring all Malawi has to offer. To gain insight into the local culture and receive authentic advice on the best food to eat, sights to see and entertainment to experience, sign up to spend time with a local guide. NuTravel Africa can pair you with a trusted guide for a few hours, days or however long you have to spend adventuring. You also won’t want to miss out on meeting Africa’s Big Five, so be sure to book a safari tour package in advance.
Now that you’re ready to commit to that flight, you’ll want to stay up to date with all the current advice and tips for travelling to Africa. Our Africa Travel VIP newsletter can provide this information and more, as well as the chance to win exclusive prizes, so don’t forget to check it out.