FAQ About Malawi

© Game viewing in Vwaza

Where is Malawi located?

Malawi is a small landlocked country located in southeast Africa. Surrounding countries include Mozambique to the southwest and east, Tanzania to the north and Zambia to the west. The main features of Malawi are a variety of stunning and scenic plateaux and Africa's third biggest lake - Lake Malawi.

The most prominent areas of the country are the Dedza, Zomba and Mulanje Mountains. There are also eight rivers and hundreds of streams.

How big is the area of Malawi?

Malawi has a land coverage of 945 000 square kilometres.

How big is the Population?

Malawi has a population of approximately 15 million. Most of the people live in rural traditional villages along Lake Malawi. The largest populated town is Blantyre, but Lilongwe is the capital and central to the rest of Malawi. Almost the whole population is made up of Black African people from different ethnic groups. Less than 1% of the population is made up of Asians and Europeans.

What is the time zone of Malawi?

Malawi has the same time zone as the rest of southern Africa; GMT + 2 hours.

What is the Capital City of Malawi?

Lilongwe is the capital city of Malawi and it is centrally located to the rest of the country. It is the perfect place from which to take flights to the safari and game lodges in the country. With a lovely river running through the city, it is also known as the Garden City.

Surrounded by mountains, hills, beautifully landscaped gardens and tropical plants, Lilongwe has an authentic village atmosphere. Throughout the year a variety of flowers bloom to give the gardens delightful hues.

While staying in Lilongwe you will see Capitol Hill, the administrative centre. You can also visit the Asian quarter and the variety of markets. You can buy a number of colourful garments and carpets, prettily decorated items and food stuffs such as spices, vegetables, fish and live chickens. You can also do some shopping at the modern shops, with the old and new providing a gorgeous contrast.

Within the centre of Lilongwe is a 120 hectare nature reserve where you can see a variety of wildlife and birdlife. Please note that you will have to be careful as Leopard and Hyena now inhabit the reserve. Within the city there are budget guest houses and hotels. It is; however, advised that you stay in one of the more well known hotels where you can get good service, cuisine and communications to other countries

What is the climate and weather like in Malawi?

Malawi has a sub-tropical climate. Malawi's seasons are divided into three sections; cool and dry, hot and dry and hot and wet. Due to malaria, it is not advised to visit during the wet season.

Cool Dry Season:

May to August is cool and dry. July usually gets a little unsettled and windy

Hot Dry Season:

The wind drops in about September and the heat builds up through to mid-November. This is a great time to be at Lake Malawi as the water becomes calm and clear and the temperatures are hot.

Hot Rainy Season:

It usually starts raining in late November and continues with unpredictable storms until April.

What is the best time of the year to visit Malawi?

The best time to visit Malawi overall is in the dry season, which lasts from late April to October or November. If you want to see the wildlife, then come late in the dry season. It gets quite hot in this season, so make sure to stay hydrated.

What type of Government does Malawi have?

Malawi is under a multi-party democracy. Previously the country was under repressive rule, where the President declared himself "President for life". Malawi has been under democracy since 1995 and remains a peaceful nation. A President is elected by voting and sits a five year term.

What is the local currency?

The official currency in Malawi is the Kwacha (MK) divided into 100 Tambala. You can check the exchange rate at most of the bigger banks and the Foreign Exchange Offices.

Can I use my credit card?

Credit and charge cards are accepted in hotels and banks. Travellers cheques are widely accepted and exchanged. It is advised that you take some hard currency in Pound Sterling, US Dollars or South African Rand.

What are the Bank Opening Hours?

In the bigger towns like Blantyre and Lilongwe, the banks are open from 08:00am to 13:00pm on Monday to Friday. There are mobile banks along the lake, but you will need to check what time they are open. You can bring any amount of foreign currency to Malawi, but must declare it and account for it on departure. Please note that only 200 Kwacha may be exported.

How much should I Tip?

Please note that the service charge is not included in your bill at restaurants and hotels and tipping will be at your discretion. It is a common practice to tip your safari guide in the national parks and reserves.

What is the Country Dialing Code of Malawi?

The international telephone code for Malawi is +265. All Malawi landline numbers are eight digits, beginning with 01. If you are phoning from overseas, then drop the 0 from the telephone number.

Can I use my Cell/mobile phone in Malawi?

Mobile phone network coverage is increasing, but not available everywhere. The GSM 900 cell phone network gives coverage to most of the country and is compatible with most international operators.

Is there internet connectivity?

Most establishments can be contacted via e-mail and most of the well branded hotels offers internet, e-mail and fax.

What other public communications media is there?

One point to keep in mind is that Malawi has not upgraded its infrastructure in a long time. While the country is working on it, their communication and telephone systems are not all that reliable. The post office system is unfortunately slow. However, there are courier services if you need to send or receive something urgently. If you want daily information of the country while travelling in Malawi, listening to the radio will keep you updated.

What plugs and power voltage is used in Malawi?

Malawi runs on 230v at 50Hz. The plug type used is the rectangular blade plug. Make sure to bring converter sets for your video camera, shaving kit, hair dryer, etc.

What are the weights and measures in Malawi?

Malawi utilises Metric measurements for weight, distances, etc.

Malawi Map

A Map of Malawi...more
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