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The variable altitude of Malawi
provides wide differences in climate. The lowest point is where the Shire
Valley approaches its confluence with the Zambezi River, at about 100 ft above
sea level. The vast water surface of Lake Malawi also profoundly affects the
climate. The margins of the lake have long hot seasons and high humidity, with
mean annual temperatures of 24°C (75°F). The temperature generally
decreases and the rainfall increases with altitude. Malawi is noted for its
rapid transitions from low to high rainfall. Trade winds and cool maritime air
bring clouds and drizzly rain to the mountains in the east which rise to over
1,830 m (6,000 ft). The tea belt profits from both winter and summer rains, and
the high plateau area offers opportunities for afforestation because of heavy
rainfall. Winters are cool, with occasional spells of cold weather.
In general, the seasons may be divided into the cool (May to mid-August); the
hot (mid August to November); the rainy (November to April), with rains
continuing longer in the northern and eastern mountains, and the post-rainy
(April-May), with temperatures falling in May. Zomba has extreme temperatures
of 35°C and 7°C (95°F and 45°F) and considerable rainfall.
Lilongwe, in central Malawi, at an elevation of 1,036 (3,400 ft) has a
moderately warm climate with adequate rainfall and extreme temperatures of
36°C and -3.4°C (97°F and 26°F)
The ultra-violet rays
are very strong in Malawi and burn times very short - great care should be
Climate Chart for Lilongwe
today's weather forecast see CNN - Africa Weather
LATEST TRAVEL ADVICE
Foreign & Commonwealth Office (London)
US State Department - Travel
VISAS & IMMIGRATION
A valid passport, with at
least six months to expiry date from intended exit date, is required to enter
Malawi. If your passport is likely to expire you should get a new one before
arriving. Visas are not obtainable at points of entry must be organised prior
to travelling through the nearest Malawian Embassy or High Commission. Visa are
required by all but the following passport holders: Bahamas, Bangladesh,
Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Fiji, Finland,
Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Iceland, Israel, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya,
Lesotho, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand,
Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa,
Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, UK, USA, Zambia,
Malawi has diplomatic representation in Belgium (Brussels),
Canada (Ontario) France (Paris) Germany (Bonn), Japan (Tokyo), Kenya (Nairobi),
Mozambique (Maputo), Namibia (Windhoek) South Africa (Pretoria), UK (London),
USA (Washington), Zambia (Lusaka) and Zimbabwe (Harare). Visitors passes are
required by all foreign passport holders and these can be obtained, free of
charge, at the point of entry. Visitor's passes are valid for 1 month and can
easily be extended, up to a maximum of 90 days, at any of the immigration
offices which can be found in most major towns.
It is best to ensure
that you have an outward bound ticket or can show sufficient funds to support
your stay in the country
Listing of Malawian
Tourist offices and/or embassies location around the world
Diplomatic Missions / Embassies based in
Currency: 1 Malawian
Current Exchange Rate:
Credit and charge cards are accepted, in hotels and banks.
Travellers cheques are widely accepted and exchanged.
It's best to
take some hard currency in either Pounds Sterling or US Dollar, South African
Rand is also widely exchanged
||Flights to Malawi from Europe:
Click for flights from Europe with KLM
connections can be made from Lilongwe to Blantyre, Koronga, Mzuzu and Club
Makokola on the southern Lakeshore
Two ferries, the MV Ilala and MV Mtendere, travel between Monkey Bay and
Chilumba once a week. The ferries are inexpensive but are not up to tourist
standards. The Ilala is the better of the two
|Railways / Train
||Services by rail are slow, overcrowded and erratic, they offer no
advantages over road travel and are therefore not used by tourists. The rail
connects Lilongwe to Blantyre via Salima and Blantyre to Nsanje near the border
where it extends into Mozambique to Biera. It is possible that this route may
now be developed in the near future.
More Info - click here
African Railways Company Ltd.
Bus services are available throughout Malawi. There is a luxury bus service
three times daily between Blantyre and Lilongwe and three times weekly between
Blantyre and Mzuzu by the main bus operator in Malawi, Stagecoach. But they
cover practically every road in Malawi and are rarely overcrowded. Travelling
by bus is the most cost effective and reliable way to get around.
roads in Malawi, especially where there is no public transport, bus services
are supplemented by the motola system. Generally they are no cheaper than buses
but you will reach your destination quicker. These are not regarded as a safe
form of transport with main of the vehicles being in poor order and often
driven by drunks.
Not an advisable way to travel (54.8KB)
The lakeshore road and the M1 between Blantyre and Lilongwe are the best roads
for hitching, many of the lifts you will be offered will expect payment and
sometimes you may have no other option.
|The Africa Guide's recommended Map
Malawi Sheet Map - International Travel Maps (Maps
Published by ITMB Publishing Ltd Series Africa
specialises in areas that are interesting, exotic and off the beaten track.
For the English speaking traveller - informative text included with the map,
dealing with the history, culture, etc. The maps are light, practical and
should be invaluable for the backpacker, traveller or tourist
Other Maps & Atlases for
|You will need a valid international driving licence or national
driving licence if set out in English. Malawi drives on the left. The main
roads is Malawi are generally surfaced and most are reasonably well maintained.
Many smaller roads and roads within the game reserves can become impassable in
the rainy season. Be aware, for some reason, Malawian drivers seem to believe
that by not using their headlights will conserve the life of their car battery,
so driving after dark can be dangerous.
Hiring a car is an expensive way to
get around but essential if you want to see a lot in a limited time.
Situated on the main Lilongwe to Senga Bay Road in
Salima town centre
ADL House, African Unity Avenue, City Centre Lilongwe
British Council Library
Drive, City Centre Lilongwe
reportedly recently upgraded.
Kamuzu Procession Road, Old Town
Lilongwe In business bureau
Internet Cafe - In
Computer World, off Hannover Ave. Blantyre
||New Years Day
||John Chilembwe Day
||Good Friday & Easter Monday
|2nd Monday in October
|2nd Monday in December
||National Tree Planting Day
ELECTRICAL POWERElectric Power is 230V running at 50Hz.
The Plug type used is:
Rectangular blade plug -
If you need medical care whilst in
Malawi, it is best to be aware that medical providers may not accept payment
through your insurance company. In these circumstances you will have to pay in
full after your treatment and file a claim with your insurance company for
reimbursement. Therefore you should have access to cash, either from a credit
card or by wire transfer. If you need assistance contact the country's local
embassy or representative.
To be compensated you must be treated by
licensed medical personnel and provide your insurance company with proper
documentation and receipts.
It is advisable to always ensure you have a
comprehensive travel insurance policy which covers you for repatriation to your
You can check out the following websites which specialise
in long term travellers, adventure travellers, backpackers and workers based
||Insure and Go - UK Travellers
it's for a one off holiday or if you travel many times over the year, if you're
off backpacking before university or you're retired and looking to explore the
world; if you're after winter sports cover or if it's for a business trip, a
wedding abroad or a golfing weekend away, we have a policy at the right price
to ensure you have the peace of mind that you are covered for the unexpected
while you're away.
InsureMyTrip - USA travellers
A trusted resource
that serves millions of customers worldwide, our licensed customer services
representatives help travelers find the right insurance plan, offering one of
the industry's largest customer ratings and reviews forum and a unique customer
advocacy program that provides one-on-one assistance to travelers before,
during, and after their trip.
Downunder Insurance - UK - Australia and New Zealand
offers travel insurance to travellers and residents in the
UK, Australia and New Zealand. Our cover ranges from basic to highly
comprehensive, with affordable policies aimed at backpackers and gap-year
students, but with cover available to travellers and holiday makers up to 55
years of age.