Malawi Travel Information
Comprehensive, temporary travel restrictions take
effect in Malawi on Wednesday, April 1st. International
scheduled flights to and from Malawi as well as
passenger transport on roads in and out of Malawi will
be suspended. For more information about coronavirus,
see the section Health.
Large demonstrations can be arranged at short notice.
Norwegians are encouraged to exercise extra caution;
Follow local media and follow the advice of the Malawian
authorities, avoid large crowds and avoid unnecessary
traffic in and between cities when demonstrations are
The number of violent demonstrations and burglaries
has increased sharply since the May 2019 presidential
election. Burglary occurs in all residential areas,
including small hotels and guesthouses. When choosing a
home/ accommodation in Malawi, the site's preventative
security measures should be considered.
Most visitors enjoy a hassle-free stay in beautiful
and pleasant Malawi. There is little crime compared to
neighboring countries, but pocket theft occurs. However,
the greatest risk is related to poor infrastructure and
In October 2017, riots occurred in the mountainous
region and the Mulanje district in southern Malawi as
well as the three neighboring districts of Phalombe,
Thyolo and Nsanje. Around ten people were reported
killed and several attacked, including two tourists. The
situation seems to have calmed down, but travelers in
the aforementioned districts are nevertheless advised to
pay extra attention to personal safety and follow the
- Countryaah: Lilongwe is the capital
of Malawi. Check to find information of population, geography, history,
and economy about the capital city.
The terror threat is considered small. However, like
other countries, Malawi can be hit by terrorist attacks
Pocket theft occurs, and especially near the markets
and bus stations in Lilongwe and Blantyre. One should
therefore be wary of this. Robbery can occur and you
should not carry large sums in cash or visible
valuables. During the daytime one can usually move
safely in most places, but among other things. the
absence of street lights means that after dark, areas
should be avoided where there are few people. Residents
of the larger cities should be aware of the security
around the homes as armed burglaries in the evening and
night hours can occur, especially in Lilongwe, Blantyre
and Zomba. It is recommended to have guard (s), alarm
and grille at exterior doors and windows, as well as
barbed wire and/or electric fence.
Smuggling, possession and use of narcotic drugs are
strictly prohibited and can result in severe penalties.
Corruption is common in Malawi - even within the
police. Do not accept money claims (fines) without
involved officials presenting identity and service
cards. If you have to pay fines, you must ask for a
Buying uncut gemstones is illegal.
Traffic and transport: Malawi has
left-hand traffic. Safety belts are
required. There are many traffic accidents in relation
to the number of vehicles, and traffic is considered the
greatest safety risk. This is due to a consistently poor
technical standard at the car park, overloading and
little respect for speed limits. Drivers should exercise
extreme caution in respect of other road users, holes in
the road, abandoned roadside vehicles, cyclists,
pedestrians and animals.
Driving in the dark poses a particular risk and
should be avoided outside the city centers as many cars
do not have working lights. Travel between cities in
public mini-buses and vans should be avoided. The
alternative is larger and more reliable buses that run
between the major cities. Mobile phone use is prohibited
Political turmoil: Riots and
political demonstrations occur. Care should be taken to
seek out demonstrations, and it is important to stay
informed through local media.
Sexual orientation: Gay acts are
prohibited in Malawi, and violation can result in
several years in prison.
Natural disasters: Floods can occur
in river valleys in parts of Malawi during the rainy
season. Then short but heavy rain showers can cause
rivers to cross their shores in no time. Malawi is often
exposed to drought periods. As a result, crops can fail
and food security increases among the country's poorest.
The frequency of earthquakes in the area is low, but
Malawi is part of the Rift Valley which is known for
earthquakes at irregular intervals. The embassy
encourages Norwegians in the country to become aware of
the precautions that should be taken before, during and
after any earthquakes.
Travel registration: Norwegian
citizens staying for a shorter or longer time in Malawi
are encouraged to register on reiseregistrering.no or at
the embassy on arrival. Norwegian citizens are
encouraged to have valid travel insurance.
Always read the insurance terms carefully beforehand,
and be aware of the following:
- Does the insurance cover the country you are
- Is the insurance valid for the entire duration
of the trip?
Most travel insurance policies have exemption clauses
that include existing illness/chronic illnesses. If you
are going to do special activities during your stay
abroad, such as extreme sports, you should investigate
whether it is necessary to take out additional
insurance. If you are affected by illness or accident
during a temporary stay abroad, you should contact the
insurance company (alarm center) or tour operator. You
may also need advice or practical help from a nearby
foreign service station.
Most trips abroad go smoothly, but remember that
everyone can get sick or be exposed to accidents - also
abroad. Therefore, be well prepared!
Local emergency numbers: Police - Lilongwe 01 796
333, Blantyre 01 823 333, Mzuzu 01 320 544 or 01 311 333
Fire: Lilongwe 01 757 999 or 01 751 444, Blantyre 01
871 999, Mzuzu 01 332 177
The numbers below can only be dialed from landlines:
Police 997, Hospital 998,
Hospital - Lilongwe:
- Kamuzu Central Hospital: 01 117 47260 or 017 54
- MASM Clinic (at Ufulu Road in Area 43) 0888 189
070 or 01 761 743
- ABC Clinic 01 761 670
- After closing time: AMS Doctors 0888 211 002 or
- Blantyre: 01 874 333 or 01 877 333
- Mzuzu: 01 320 044 or 01 320 116
In the event of an emergency, information sent out
from the embassy will primarily be found on the
embassy's website, as well as on the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs' website. The embassy's phone number is +265 1
Outside the embassy's opening hours, the public can
contact the UD's 24-hour operating center on tel. +47 23
95 00 00 or by e-mail - UDops@mfa.no. The telephone
number of the UD's switchboard is 22 24 36 00.
Said Norwegians must be reported to local police in
Norway. Relatives in Norway can call 02 800 and then
come directly to their local police district.
Please note that entry regulations may change. The
Foreign Service is not responsible if the following
information on entry regulations or visa requirements is
changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the
traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for
entry and to familiarize themselves with the current
entry rules for each country.
From 1 October 2015, Norwegian citizens must have a
visa to enter Malawi.
Norwegians can apply for a visa in advance at the
Malawi High Commissioner in London or obtain a visa on
arrival at Malawi. If a visa is obtained on arrival in
Malawi, the Embassy recommends that all travelers carry
with them completed documentation, as well as having USD
in cash equivalent to the fee for the desired visa. See
the website of the Malawi High Commissioner for the
necessary documentation as well as the amount applicable
to the type of visa.
We also note that foreign citizens with permanent
residence in Norway may be subject to other visa
requirements for Malawi.
Police and immigration authorities carry out checks
on foreigners regarding valid stay in the country. It is
recommended that everyone has a passport and a valid
visa at all times. Alternatively, you can have a copy of
your passport, but remember in case of a copy of the
visa stamp page. The inability to document a valid stay
in the country is in itself sufficient grounds for being
Malawi is yellow-free and wants to remain so.
Therefore, the authorities require that you must present
a valid yellow fever card if you come from an area with
yellow fever (or are in transit at an airport in a
country with yellow fever for more than 12 hours).
For the latest up-to-date information on Malawi
travel regulations, travelers are encouraged to check
with the Malawi High Commissioner in London.
It is the traveler's responsibility to ensure that
travel documents, passports, visas etc. are valid.
Comprehensive, temporary travel restrictions take effect
in Malawi on Wednesday, April 1st. International
scheduled flights to and from Malawi as well as
passenger transport on roads in and out of Malawi will
be suspended. Domestic passenger transport on the road,
passenger trains and passenger boats is also affected by
the travel restrictions. Norwegians in Malawi are
encouraged to read and listen to local media for updated
The Public Health Institute of Malawi is responsible
for coronavirus readiness in Malawi. Malawian
authorities are checking air passengers on arrival in
Lilongwe and Blantyre, and arrivals must fill out a
health declaration. Norwegians must expect to be
quarantined upon arrival in Malawi. See the Malawian
Ministry of Health's Facebook page for updated
information including updated quarantine rules.
Norwegian travelers and Norwegians staying in Malawi
should keep abreast of the development of the corona
virus. Feel free to follow local authorities' advice,
guidance and instructions on how to deal with the
situation. The Institute of Public Health provides
advice on infection control when traveling. You can find
more information and guidance from Norwegian health
authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of
The quality of health care is very varied, but is
generally not in accordance with Northern European,
Western standards. If you become seriously ill, you will
usually be flown out of Malawi for treatment in South
Africa, possibly to Europe. It is therefore very
important to take out travel insurance that has good
coverage for such incidents before leaving Norway.
The embassy refers to the Norwegian Institute of
Public Health for health professional travel advice and
guidance for Norwegians traveling to Malawi.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has affected a significant
portion of the population and it is estimated that
approx. Ten percent of Malaysians between the ages of 15
and 49 live with HIV (National Statistics Office, 2010).
Unprotected sex involves a significant risk of infection
for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The water in the cities can be drunk after
boiling/filtering. If you do not have the opportunity,
it is recommended to buy water. It is easily accessible.
Personal hygiene is especially important in hot and
humid climates. Wounds are easily infected and should be
cleaned and covered. Water, soap and plastics are
usually sufficient. Fungal infections in the skin may
Malawi is considered to be a risk area for car resin.
For this reason, swimming in rivers and fresh water is
not recommended. For information on car resin, see the
Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website, or
contact your local medical office.
Vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis are recommended.
Contact the Norwegian health authorities/vaccination
clinic for updated advice well in advance of departure.
Rabies vaccine is recommended if you expect to be in
close contact with animals.
Time difference in relation to Norway, +/- 0 when it
is summer time in Norway, +1 when it is winter time (GMT
The current is at 220 volts. However, devices with
valuable electronic components should be protected with
a surge protector as the current is unstable. This is
usually bought in the largest cities.
There are two mobile networks - Airtel and TNM - in
all cities and most other areas. If you are going to use
a local mobile phone with a prepaid card, you can easily
obtain a sim card from a local mobile phone dealer. It
is advantageous to open mobile phones with a binding
before leaving Norway. Norwegian mobile phone
subscriptions may not work in Malawi.
The Internet offering is diverse (including Burco,
Skyband, Globe, Tonse, MTL) and growing. Most hotels and
hostels have relatively good possibilities for wireless
The national telephone code is +265, and the internet
The currency unit is the Malawian kwacha. Visa,
American Express and in some cases MasterCard are
accepted by major hotels and tourist sites (often for a
fee). They can also be used to raise money in the major
cities' bank branches, exchange offices and for ATM
withdrawals. ATMs are relatively easily accessible in
larger cities such as Lilongwe, Blantyre, and Mzuzu, but
are otherwise not widely used. Cash can also be
exchanged at exchange offices and banks.
Normal opening hours: Most shops close between 5pm
and 6pm. Some supermarkets are open from 7am to 8pm.
Many small shops close two hours in the middle of the
day. Friday afternoon, many Muslim business owners shut
down to participate in Friday prayers.
Banks: On weekdays the opening hours are from 08 to 15.
On Saturday, most banks are open between 09 and 12. Most
public offices are open from 07 to 17. It is recommended
to visit the offices between 09-12 and 14-16.
National Holidays (2017): January 15 (Chilembwe day),
March 3 (Martyr's day), April 13 (Tiny Thursday), April
14 (Long Friday), April 17 (Easter Sunday), May 1
(Workers' Day) day), May 14 (Kamuzu day), July 6
(Independence Day), October 9 (Mother's Day), and
December 25 (Christmas Day). When a holiday falls on a
weekend in Malawi, it usually triggers a day off the
Local customs: Most Malaysians appear to be helpful,
positive and outgoing. Fraudulent and loud voices,
visible drunkenness, profanity/ugly use of words and
disrespectful accusation can be taken badly - especially
by the elderly. The costume is conservative.
When you meet a Malawian, it is common to hand-greet,
and then a small greeting ritual follows "How are you,
your family", etc. It is common to introduce yourself
after exchanging greetings. Thank you for your service.
English is the official language, and the national
language is chichewa. If you travel in the countryside,
you will find that few speak English, but in the larger
cities you can usually understand English.
Climate: Malawi has tropical/subtropical climate. The
year can be divided into three seasons. The cold season,
which lasts from May to August with July being the
coldest month, the warm season from September to
November, and the rainy season which normally lasts from
December to March/April. During the cold season of the
year, the daytime temperatures are around an average
Norwegian summer day, but have cool nights. It is
recommended to use a high sun factor sunscreen to
protect the skin and to drink plenty of water to avoid
There are large elevation differences in Malawi -
from below 100 meters. to mountains over 3000 meters
above sea level. A significant part of Malawi is located
at 1000 meters above sea level. and higher. Here it can
go down to zero degrees at night during the cold season.
It is forbidden to photograph military facilities and
their surroundings. Be careful when shooting outside the
national parks. In general, one should also ask about
law before taking pictures of people.