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Malawi

Welcome to the warm heart of Africa

With diverse scenery and varied habitats, Malawi is a land locked country which has been geographically sculpted by Africa’s Great Rift Valley; towering mountains, lush fertile valleys and enormous crystal clear lakes.  Nearly as long as the country itself, Lake Malawi dominates the countryside.  Between the altitude extremes from the top of Mount Mulanje to the countries low point lie rolling hills and plateaus, cool misty mountains and diverse habitats protected within a range of forest reserves, national parks and game reserves.  The country is warm and friendly offering the visitor splendid scenery, interesting parks and some of the friendliest villagers in Africa.  For those interested in experiencing African culture, this is one of the best places for it.

 

Renowned for its incredible variety some of the options to enjoy on your journey in this land-locked country include Lake Malawi with its fine beaches and miles of white sand interspersed with jagged rock formations and charming fishing villages. Lake Malawi National Park was the first park in the world set aside for the protection of freshwater fish and its two exquisite completely uninhabited islands within the park, Domwe and Mumbo. 

 

Liwonde National Park and the Majete Wildlife Reserve offer game viewing with large wildlife numbers and activities which include game drives, birding, boating trips, walks, trekking, biking and fishing. The Nyika Plateau situated to the far north is one of Africa’s most dramatic landscapes with rolling planes which extend for miles.  Weather is pleasantly cool and a wonderful contrast to the heat of the lakeshore.  This outstanding natural setting has many animals and birds seldom seen elsewhere.  Activities include walks, game drives, fishing, birding, mountain biking and horse riding. 

Sample Itineraries:

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Malawi Explorer

Days

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Highlights of Malawi

10 Days

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Best of Malawi

15 Days

Key Facts

Geography

Malawi is located in South Eastern Africa south of the equator.  Landlocked it is bordered by Tanzania to the North East, Zambia to the west and Mozambique to South east and South with the country's most prominent physical feature being Lake Malawi.  There are three distinct physical features;

The low valley land in which are Lake Malawi, and in the south, the Ruo and Lower Shire river basins. Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa, extending 568 kilometres and 16 to 80 kilometres wide.

The plateau land which is about 600 to 1500 metres above sea level. Most of the major cities of Malawi, Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba and Mzuzu are on the plateau.

The highlands , the Nyika and Viphya Plateau in the north, Dedza Mountain and the Kirk Ranges in the Centre; Zomba Mountain and Mulanje Mountain in the South. Mulanje Mountain at 3,050 metres above sea level is the highest in Central Africa.

Currency

Kwacha (K) = 100 tambala. Notes are in denominations of K500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of K1 and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 tambala.  Exchange is readily available for US Dollars, Pounds Sterling, Euros or South African Rand.
 

Health

Municipal tap water should be boiled or sterilized as a precaution. Bottled water is available and is advised to be used. Water outside the main cities and towns is often contaminated and sterilization is essential. Milk and dairy products are often unpasteurized and therefore not safe to eat. It is recommended to peel all fruit, to cook vegetables and to avoid raw salads. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish.
Malaria is encountered throughout the year in the whole country. It is highly recommended to take anti-malaria tablets before entering Malawi (consult your doctor for details).  Other vaccinations which are recommended (especially for persons in close contact with local population) include;  Hepatitis A & E Hepatitis B Typhoid a booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles and a one-time dose of polio vaccine. Aids is widespread throughout Africa, and Malawi as well. Take necessary precautions.  Rabies is present in Malawi. Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is present and has been confirmed to occur in some parts of Lake Malawi. Avoid swimming and paddling in slow-moving or stagnant fresh water; swimming pools which are well chlorinated and maintained are safe.

Malaria is prevalent in Ethiopia outside of the highland areas excluding Addis Ababa. Extremely high malaria transmission occurs throughout the year below 2,000 m (6,600 ft). Altitudes between 2,000 m and 2,500 m are subject to infrequent epidemics. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and report their travel history and anti-malarial medication taken.

Electricity

220/240 volts AC, 50 Hz
A square 3-pin plug is used
 

Climate & Best Time to Travel

The dry season (winter months) runs from April to Oct/November and is usually dry but nights can be chilly, particularly in the highlands.  This is the best time to visit and for game viewing.   The landscape and conditions is much better from May to July when it is not as oppressive however there are fewer animals.  Birdwatching is best in the early dry season but its also quite hot and could be wet.   The rainy season runs from November to March. Around Lake Malawi, in winter, the climate is particularly dry with pleasant cooling breezes.

Entry Requirments

For US citizens a passport valid at least six months beyond extended stay.  NO visa is required if stay is up to 30 days.  Additionally tickets and documents which show return or onward travel.  If arriving from an infected Yellow fever area within the past 5 days an international  Certificate of Vaccination for Yellow Fever is required.